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kitchen tour: no special effects/tartelette

Well, we have come to it at last… the final segment of our kitchen tour. I hope that these past several weeks have inspired some of you, be it from the beautiful, dreamy kitchens some bloggers have created to the bloggers who are “making due” and in fact, doing it incredibly well. You’ve gotta love the photography setups and nifty kitchen or entertaining tips – these bloggers know their way around a kitchen, know their way around food. It’s all about sharing and learning (and laughing, oh the laughing…)! Our last two blogger kitchens are half a world apart and yet these two people could not be dearer friends to me. Enjoy.

blog: No Special Effects
blogger: Mark, or Manggy, which is a shortened version of my surname.
location: Quezon City, Philippines
house: I live in my parents’ house, which I feel particularly defensive about since I’m already much older than many of you probably were by the time you’ve moved out! Think of the Philippines as the Italy of Asia, I guess (being a perpetual student didn’t help matters). Anyway, the house is 9 years old, and I love it as my dad designed it and oversaw the construction.
kitchen footprint: 10 sq. meters
photos: all photos of the No Special Effects kitchen are courtesy of Mark

Oh boy. It’s hot… and humid! Here we are in the Philippines visiting with Mark of No Special Effects. Er, that’s Dr. Mark to you :) Not only is he Dr. Mark (of the MD persuasion), but if you have ever visited his blog, you know that he is a talented cook and baker. Mark kids around with everyone, but at the core he is incredibly thoughtful and kind… and dorky – all qualities I cherish about him. After spending a few months in the States interviewing, he returned home just in the nick of time to partake in this tour despite battling jetlag. I’m certainly glad to have him here. Let’s have a look at the kitchen, shall we?

I think the most important change that happened to the kitchen when I decided to pick up the whisk is that it actually got used! Curiously in some Filipino homes– and that includes most of the Filipino homes I’ve seen– there is what we call the “dirty kitchen.” And it doesn’t mean half the time we don’t care about food safety; it only refers to a separate kitchen where you can really mess up (oil splatters, spills) on a daily basis while the other kitchen, the “clean” one, is for show. Obviously I don’t like this system as the clean kitchen becomes a waste– soulless. While I’m not the one who cooks meals on a daily basis, when I do cook, I make it a point to use the kitchen for what it was built. As a result, my pans and little knick-knacks invade most every crevice.

the main kitchen

[This is] where all the non-magic happens. All the utensils are on display. My lone saucepan and dutch oven are stashed in the cabinets underneath, as is an ass-ton of sugar. My mom is on a juicing kick right now and uses the machine every day no matter what a chore it is to clean.

clean kitchen : “dirty” kitchen

Here we have the short entrance from the garage, which is the “dirty” kitchen (ironically just coming from a cleaning). In the Philippines, we don’t have gas lines, so we refill liquefied petroleum gas tanks and that is our supply (the one under the dish-dryer is hooked up to the stoves in both kitchens). I guess there’s nothing particularly pretty about this scene, but it is what it is (a useful tautology) and that’s what it means to live in the tropics. …the sinks of the “clean” and “dirty” kitchens are separated by the windowed wall.

I quite like the idea of a clean and dirty kitchen. I would fry fish and other smelly things in the dirty kitchen. Maybe I would call mine the stinky kitchen? That’s so brilliant, particularly for entertaining.

appliances : pantry

Next to the fridge, we’ve decided to make a totem of small appliances. Next to the oven toaster we have my trusty chopping boards and rolling pin. Under that, we’ve managed to fit a large turbo broiler, a blender, a hand mixer, my scale, and one of those EZ-choppers (think of it as a miniprep food processor) you get off Home TV shopping. Under that, I’ve managed to fit my pizza peel, a grill, a hot plate, another toaster, a bunch of oven mitts, and my active rolls of parchment, cling film, zip-lock bags, and foil.

Our cupboard has all the evidence of our illicit affair with processed tomatoes. We aren’t really fans of dill pickles and green olives but we get gifted and we’re already in too deep to reveal the truth. If anybody has any more ideas on how to use up what is apparently a lifetime’s supply of Korean sweet potato noodles, I’m all ears!

I can’t believe no one wants to eat the pickles and olives! I love that apron with the red flowers. You should have posed in that for us, man. You’re holding out on me.

baking tins and cutters : baking pans, molds, pizza peel, rolling pin

If this stash (and it’s only a small fraction of the baking and cooking equipment Mark has!) didn’t clue you in, Mark is an avid baker and cook. I swear he has a better collection of baking tools than I do *jealous*. I love guys who cook, and I’m always curious to learn what their motivation is. So how about it, Mark?

The simple reason is because I love to eat all sorts of different things! I can’t think of any food item I would summarily dismiss (even coconut). It seems like a shame to go to a restaurant and order the same thing over and over just because it’s your favorite, so why not learn to make it at home and satisfy the craving there? Also, you just can’t trust commercial bakers to do something right, or within a reasonable expense. Plus, it’s fun, and I love learning new skills just for the heck of it. Seeing your family and friends fall over something you’ve made is a sweet bonus.

I thought you were terrified of lychees? ;) Please tell us what your favorite kitchen gadget or appliance is.

I absolutely love my digital scale. I can’t be bothered to go back to cups and spoons, and I always convert recipes that use that convention. When I came to the States for a while, I had to buy a second one at IKEA for $13, because it just saves so much time and energy. Plus, I’m a fan of multiplying and dividing recipes to fit the yield I want– something not very easy to do when you’re using volume.

the dining room as seen from the living room

The kitchen and the dining room are next to each other, so there are plenty of opportunities to impress the friends when you’re putting the finishing touches on a dessert. When my friends are interested in learning [to cook], I involve them as much as they want to, though we end up invading the dining room. The divider between the dining and living room keeps a bunch more of my stainless-steel bowls and baking pans.

What do you love about your kitchen?

I honestly didn’t think I could say very much beyond the fact that it’s my kitchen, but after being away from it for so long, I missed not only my rhythm, but also that I could make anything I wanted, because I love picking up cheap pans and tools. All I really need are ingredients. (Well, I have everything I need except a stand mixer.) I mean, I was once in a kitchen without a grater and a sieve! I think I got the vapors.

…and what don’t you love about it?

There’s nothing much I can do about it, but it’s always ridiculously humid. Jen would melt. Brioche and puff pastry are nearly impossible to make from scratch. Plus, especially after seeing everyone’s beautiful kitchens, I realize there just isn’t enough sunlight reaching it. I definitely could use more room, but I like making it work.

Yup, I’d melt. Humidity makes me irate… Just imagine if you visited Colorado in winter, you’d become freeze-dried.

a small garden area

Mark described this small garden as a “wild green area” where he harvests fresh basil from time to time. It looks like a jungle (in the good sense) to me! This lovely space borders the area where Mark takes most of his food photos.

Past the living room and outside, we have a small garden area (not really of any use for anything as awesome as Todd and Diane’s) that I use for taking pictures, because good luck making anything look good inside the house with my point-and-shoot. There are plants and there’s no other purpose for it other than for hanging clothes to dry. I have a folding table and a modest number of props, and it’s chaos to shoot stuff under the hot Manila sun, but I like the way things have turned out. At least there is sunlight from 6 to 6 all year round! The available light makes for more flexible pictures in post-processing.

the photo area : mark stages a fresh apple tarte tatin!

Thank you for the tour, Mark. I have to admit that I was expecting to see some of those famous mangoes you always boast of… ahem ;) I personally can’t wait for you to do your residency in the States so that we can slap some skis on your feet and send you screaming (literally?!) down the slopes someday. Keeping fingers crossed and best of luck!


Last, and most certainly not least, is Helen, or Tartelette as so many of us have come to know her. We end the tour where hospitality hangs its hat: the South. South Carolina, to be exact. I “met” Helen shortly after I joined the Daring Bakers. I thought she was just a really friendly fellow food blogger at first. I’m slow on the uptake… I began reading her lovely blog. Then we began to correspond. Then we became friends. All the while I gradually came to realization that this woman has one hell of a popular food blog (voted Best Overall Food Blog for 2008!), is a walking pastry encyclopedia, is the baking reference and high priestess for the Daring Bakers (a gazillion million strong now), and is essentially loved by all. Mostly though, she is incredibly kind and funny. I love her and l especially loved those emails with the missing letters because her keyboard was having issues.

blog: Tartelette
blogger: Helen (Tartelette)
location: Charleston, South Carolina
house: 3 year old, elevated Cape Cod on the water
kitchen footprint: 12×15 (180 sq. ft.)
photos: all photos of the Tartelette kitchen are courtesy of Helen

Helen graciously offered to give a tour, and I’m going to keep my mouth shut because the last time we spoke on the phone we talked *forever* and we don’t want to put you good readers through that :) Take it away, Helen.

Three years ago, we decided to finally be grown-ups and build a nest egg by purchasing a lot by the water and building a nice-size house on it. The goal was to sell after one year… We’re still here. Given the track record of the real estate market we decided to hang on a little while longer. That actually suits me fine because I love this house, I love the neighborhood, and I love this kitchen!

When I say “we built” the house to strangers they reply, “Yeah, yeah, your contractor did.” Nope. We were the owners-contractors. It took us 15 months and a lot of Gatorade, but we did it. We bought the shell of a 2-story modular home in the style of Southern coastal living and completed everything in and around it. We built the house foundations, pillars, stairs, porches, and the upstairs which looked like a dance hall before Bill designed a mini hotel suite up there (you should see it…I want to put a kitchen up there I love it so much!!). Oh yeah, we also conducted funny experiments teaching ourselves plumbing and electrical wiring!

Even with “just the shell”, the kitchen came with “extras” that were fine to start with since we had very little energy to do anything other than build. Somehow something got lost in translation and we got electric instead of gas stove and cabinets a shade darker. In all honesty, it could have rained inside the house the day we moved in and we would not have cared one bit. We were in! We had done it!

tartelette headquarters

From the center island, I am two steps and two arms’ reach from the fridge, which is one step from the stove, which is one step from the sink, which is one step back to the center island. When you are working and in need of a plate, dish, pan, sheet pan, or ingredient, this is a breeze. So it is time and space efficient and makes my work flow so much more enjoyable. Even the pantry is no more than a few steps from wherever you are in the kitchen.

the range : coffee center, cookbooks, extra work tables

The range is meant to look like an induction top, but really it is electric. Honestly, it does not bother me what I cook with. I grew up with gas. I learned electric…no big deal. Plus it gives that much extra work space for letting things cool, prepping sheet pans, etc. when it’s off. And I just could hug my convection oven. I think that along with the Kitchen Aids, it is the best workhorse I have ever had since it is on everyday, sometimes without a break. If you have a desk job you have the computer on. If you have a kitchen job, you have the oven on.

Next to the sink is the “coffee area”. That’s also where I put one of my mom’s shadow boxes that she made for me: a pastry shop scene that relaxes me when I get a cup of coffee. I also stuck my Baking Casimir figurine up there (think Barney’s cousin) – a childhood icon in France. Keeping trinkets like these here and there in the kitchen is the best thing for one’s spirits! Next to that, I love the Spanish tiles my mom framed which we put on the walls. I have a love/hate relationship with that little rolling island. It’s great when I need to work on a wedding cake and I can roll that thing around and out for extra space. It gives me 2 extra drawers, 2 extra stools for people to sit around, and counter space for cookbooks – but the color and style just bug me.

the pantry : the pantry door/chalkboard

[Love that chalkboard and the note!]

I love the pantry! I am really happy with the organization as well as the fun elements of it, so much so that I want to take it with me when we move!!

Inside: Now you know my little OCD side to my cooking and baking! I don’t store a lot because the pantry and cupboards are small and I LOVE grocery shopping. I seriously do :) So there is never over buying and over stocking, or forgetting what I have if it is in front of me. One main reason for keeping dry goods to a minimum is the humidity around here. It brings in little “flour bugs” that creep up into your jars, even tightly sealed. I can’t stand wasting anything because of these buggers so I buy in small bulk amounts so they never have time to take up residence.

I put all my baking bins lower than chest level on purpose. I can pull the bins out and see what’s what. Like the bin with the baking extracts and coloring – I pull and read the color initials on the cap of the bottle instead of fiddling in a box for the right one. There is a bin with baking molds and rings, a bin with chocolates and nuts… I have a pet peeve about bags of nuts and chocolate so everything ends up in a container.

The front of the pantry door is a chalk board and it was one of my own design implements. I took the door off the hinges, went in the backyard and sprayed it with chalkboard paint. Bill framed it with a thin piece of wood and I nailed the cutest little crab-ass-bitten-chef I could find :) This is where we write urgent messages or sappy love notes; where I write the things to get at the store as they run out. I also write what is in the freezer (flours, meats, fish, cakes, batters, dough…) so I don’t waste them before I forget. The inside of the door is also a favorite of mine. I am sure I saw it in Martha Stewart or Domino but eh…it works! I bought a “hang over the door” shoe organizer and use it for all the little miscellaneous items that can easily creep in drawers and bins: candles, rubber bands, baking twine, coffee filters, silicone mats, recipe cards, small bags of all sorts, pencils, etc… So much easier to keep me organized and functional.

baking equipment : extracts and colorings : drawer of baking tools

twofer kitchen aid stand mixers

The dueling Kitchen Aids were bought “broken” at yard sales and refurbished by my very handy husband. They sit above the corner lazy susan cabinet where I reach for cake pans after I mixed my batters in the mixers or plastic containers for leftovers.

refrigerator : pull out racks for pots and pans

The side of the fridge is where I put herbs and spices in magnetic tins to remind me to cook more often with those (they change every other month or so), baking orders and other event happenings for the month, like Bill’s music jobs or lectures, etc. That’s where we “dock” to see if we missed something or forgot what was going on that day for one of us. Too many things to juggle!! The picture is of us goofing off at Halloween – it really cheers me up when I want to leave the kitchen before the job is done!

bill sets the table for brunch

bailey (l) and tippy (r) sit for a treat

We are on a tidal creek and there are times of the day when you can be standing at the counter and feel like you are the captain of a ship :)

the view from the kitchen: sunrise on the water

Photography: I don’t know if it’s us, the fact that we have wonderful neighbors in the 4 houses next to us, or the Southern way of life, but there are always people coming and going, friends dropping by… It is much easier for me to take pictures somewhere else other than around the kitchen. I also have a wonderful mother who keeps shopping for props to send to me. I wanted to have a space where I could see plates, glasses, and utensils easily. Bill suggested that I put a 2×4 on sawhorses (so it can be easily put away when we do have guests) in the guest bedroom upstairs and keep a couple of shelves in the guest closet for props, sheets, utensils, etc. to have a clearer space for pictures.

helen works her magic preparing brunch for guests : flipping through a cookbook

If people wonder how I stay fit while baking: 2 flights of stairs, 2 energetic and crazy dogs, and a lot of playing at the dock with the neighborhood kids. Ah yes…the kitchen is for sale and you get a whole lot of wonderful house along with it!!

Oh Helen, I cannot imagine you NOT in that lovely kitchen. I seem to have lousy timing (or maybe people are just busy ALL of the time), but Helen is in the middle of writing a cookbook and trying to sell their house, all the while maintaining her normal busy work schedule and treating friends to her beautiful culinary masterpieces. A heartfelt thank you for agreeing to share your kitchen (your office!) with us.

I would like to thank all of my wonderful readers (old and new) for their support of use real butter and the fantastic bloggers who took the time to lay bare their special kitchens – where they make the magic happen day after day. Most of all, I must thank my dear fellow bloggers, my friends, for agreeing to take pictures of their kitchens, their pots and pans, their cookbooks, their pantries, and then taking MORE pictures for me to pick over and edit and cobble together. A big thanks for their candid answers to my nosy questions and for spending precious time writing up material for these posts as everyone is short on spare time these days. They are amazing and are truly wonderful people. So please, give it up for all of them: Barbara, Cindy (Figgles), Amy, Chuck and Hungry Bear, Melissa, Todd and Diane (Toddiane), Anita, Peabody, Mark, and of course, Helen.

Whew! We are done!

previous kitchens
week 1: use real butter & supplemental
week 2: winos and foodies & figs, lavender, and cheese
week 3: eggs on sunday & sunday nite dinner
week 4: alosha’s kitchen & white on rice couple
week 5: dessert first & culinary concoctions by peabody

79 nibbles at “kitchen tour: no special effects/tartelette”

  1. Lisa says:

    These have been so fantastic Jen! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! What a wonderful idea… and I KNEW Helen’s kitchen would be that grand finale. Couldn’t have ended on a better note!

  2. Y says:

    Great stuff! What two very different kitchens indeed! I love both! (Although, maybe Helen’s wins by just that little bit, only because of the view out the window!)

    Thanks again for this series, Jen!

  3. Marija says:

    I really love how cute and happy they (all of them) look while in their kitchens!

    Thanks Jenn for this lovely set of articles, I enjoyed reading each of them! (But would really want to see more :) )

  4. jo says:

    Absolutely love the kitchen tours and wish this could go on some more (hint, hint)! And guess what I finally get to see Helen’s kitchen.

  5. Nirmala says:

    Woah! Thats a great tour! I am almost hooked to all the bloggers u included for this tour. Was a regular reader of their blogs atleast for 2 years since now! Jen you have made some incredible job! I had dreamt to see these great people’s pictures. All of these people ( I include you too) were doing some real great job! I have never baked (none of us in my family before) and this blogging world has given a freindly hand and taught me so many things. Lots of guidance and reassuarance I ahev experimented so many things in my small kitchen. Thanks for this tour! I should have met you when I recently visited CO :( Met Manisha though!

  6. clumbsycookie says:

    This has been wonderful! I loved seeing all the kitchens and I’m kind of sad this were the last tours. :(

  7. kitchen tour: no special effects/tartelette | use real butter : My packetpal says:

    […] Here is the original:  kitchen tour: no special effects/tartelette | use real butter […]

  8. Kathy says:

    The idea of putting this project together is fantastic. Thank you Jen for a large part of your time and diligence in making it happen. You are a very kind and generous person!
    Thanks to all of you (Food) Bloggers who are such gracious hosts in letting us in your homes. I respect it is your personal space, and to “open” your doors is special. Thank you and I enjoyed this entire process very much!

  9. Rosa says:

    I had much pleasure seeing all those kitchen! A great way to finish this series…



  10. Zita says:, I’ve been blurking here everytime, but this time just have to say that this is my favorite series so far… and your ide of “stinky kitchen” made my day, thank’s :)

  11. Aimee says:

    So amazing to see Helen’s environment! What a great spot (that view!!), it looks so serene, no wonder pure magic comes out of that kitchen. TWO KA mixers, that just might be heaven for me.
    Thanks Jen and Helen.
    I’m sad to see the series come to an end. :(

  12. Jenny says:

    I loved these tours….I’m sad they are over.

  13. Maja says:

    wow … when i’m old enough to have my own house (read: when enough money is earned to do it), i’m so coming here for ideas, some i really never thought of and are just brilliant … i loved the series, Jen, i could easily read more … sequel anytime in near future? :)

  14. Kristin says:

    (Huge sigh of contentment) Thanks to you Jen, & to all of your buds, for a fun & inspiring series & an introduction to some blogs I hadn’t visited. I’m off…there’s cooking to do & a baking cupboard that needs reorganizing!

    P.S. to Helen: I feel MUCH better about my electric stove now. Thanks!

  15. Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) says:

    I loved this! It’s so fun to see where all the magic happens. And because I adore Helen, it was even more fun.

  16. Anne says:

    loved reading the series…it’s inspiring to see where your talented guest bakers do their creations … thank you! more? (“,)

  17. veron says:

    First of all, I love that you featured a kitchen from the Philippines! It’s funny to see a clean and dirty kitchen, my aunt has one too!
    And Helen! finally I get to see her entire kitchen where all the magic happens…we’ve been planning to visit each other all of last year but never happened and now her house is for sale :(.
    Fabulous kitchen tours, Jen. I have picked up several ideas specially about organization.

  18. Amy says:

    What a great series this has been, Jen! Thanks for spending the time to put it all together.

    I love the tropical feel to Mark’s kitchen, especially the place he takes photos…and the metal rods on the backsplash are a great idea for hanging utensils!

    What a treat to see Helen’s kitchen! How much fun to see and hear about the house they built with their own hands (and what a gorgeous view from the kitchen!) I’m loving the idea of putting the over-the-door shoe holder on the back of a pantry door for tool and gadget storage…that’s such a great idea!

  19. Kimmie says:

    The tour is over? :( There should be an entire blog dedicated to this!

  20. Babeth says:

    Great series! It’s great to have views of other foodies’ kitchen.
    Thanks :-)

  21. maggie (p&c) says:

    This is so cool! I love seeing other people’s kitchens. Especially since mine barely counts as a kitchen. Love this series.

  22. Jane M says:

    So sorry the kitchen tours have ended. THIS IS MY FAVORITE SITE! Would you reconsider doing more kitchens? I’d send you pictures of mine! I just love seeing people in their kitchens and how they arrange their stuff and etc etc. Cheers!

  23. Justopia says:

    I sure would like it if you’d continue this great feature! Please

  24. Rashmi says:

    Loved it….awesome…thanks to Mark and Helen for showing us their kitchen…..I loved this series,Jen.A big appaluse for you to putting all this together.

  25. Tartelette says:

    Absolutely fantastic to see Mark’s kitchensssszzzz!! There are times of the week when I could do with a dirty kitchen. Love the idea! It looks so serene with all that green around!

    Thank you Jen for having us. I know how much work and time it was for you so please, take a break and go back to your regular postings for a while. It will make the anticipation of a future tour that much greater (wink).

  26. Janet says:

    Your idea to do it and this kitchen tour series has been a TREAT! Well done… Bravo, and many thanks!

  27. Janet says:

    Oh, and please do let me tell you that I WILL BE HUNTING a second Kitchenaid stand mixer for my kitchen because Tartelette just gave us all permission to have more than one!

  28. Amy says:

    Oh my gosh, I am totally buying a cloth shoe rack for my pantry today. BRILLIANT idea!

  29. Valisa says:

    Mark’s kitchen is making me homesick. It is so typical of the kitchens in majority of Asian homes. In Malaysia, we call it wet and dry kitchen. Wet kitchen is where we do all the prep and the cooking and the washing like his, usually opens to a little garden filled with ambrosiac herbs and colourful plants.
    But much as I would love one, I don’t think I could keep a kitchen(s) that big clean :P
    Helen’s kitchen is amazing!!! gosh I so envy the view.
    you just have to continue the series. I want to see more kitchens!

  30. JessW says:

    What a wonderful series; I am so glad I am a reader so I could see all of them! :) Thanks so much for all of the contributors and a special thank you to our host. Now I have to get off my rear and go re-do my kitchen!

  31. Memoria says:

    APPLAUSE!!!!!! I really enjoyed this, Jen. Thank you and thanks to all the bloggers who participated in the tours.

  32. Memoria says:

    Oh, and I love Helen’s idea of placing the spices in magnetic canisters. I should do that.

  33. charlane says:

    I makes sense that one of my favorite foodies lives in my favorite city – Charleston.

    beautiful kitchens – thanks for the bird’s eye view of these great kitchens.

  34. Kim says:

    Thanks for this series; I enjoyed it and I hope it makes a return some day! :)

  35. Phoo-D says:

    This was the best series I’ve seen in a cooking blog. Thank you so much for putting it together. It was nothing short of delightful to see all the kitchens and hear from each blogger about their space. Thank you again Jen.


  36. Jayme says:

    Hurrah! So happy to see where Helen’s magic happens! :D

    And I’ve never heard of having two kitchens like they do in the Philippines – I guess people do that with living rooms here, but kitchens?! Wow, very interesting fact.

    Thanks so much for this series, I wish it didn’t have to end. I love seeing people’s kitchens and their food photography set ups :)

  37. Shari says:

    I’m sad to see the end of this series! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having a peek into the homes of these amazing food bloggers. It’s so fun to see how they set up a photo too. Thank you for doing this!!

  38. Lily says:

    Woot! I really enjoyed this series and appreciate all of those fellow foodie bloggers who welcomed us into their kitchen worlds. It is truly a treat for someone like me who is infatuated with cooking right now and offers great inspiration on how to grow on this.

  39. Rita says:

    This was a very enjoyable series, I looked forward to it every week, thanks for doing it!

  40. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    A grand kitchen tour and a super grand finale! Thanks so much for this.

  41. Kelly says:

    I’ve loved this tour. Great to see so many kitchen styles and how to adapt and function in whatever size, shape or condition your kitchen may be. Looking forward to the next tour (hint, hint!!!)

  42. Liz says:

    Oh Jen-who-makes-my-jobless-days-bearable:
    Keep doing the kitchen series, wonderfully inspiring, tremendously thoughtful, and completely enjoyable.

  43. luv2cooktoomuch says:

    I must confess I am sad as I really enjoyed the kitchen tours and hate that the series is over. I enjoy gleaning ideas from the way people organize their area. To me a kitchen is so personal, you can see if the person is a baker or a non baker or what they are into making.

  44. Lori says:

    And you end with a boom of fireworks Jen. Great job! This blogger is so sad that it is ending. I appreciate all the time and work you put into this, I really enjoyed it.

    Manggy- I always see your comments on sites. Now I need to stop by your site and check things out. Thanks for sharing your space. (Dont be defensive about your living situation. Hey you have a roof over your head. And besides, you have a great excuse- lots ‘o’ schooling). Congrats to that!

    Tartelette- Of course I already just adore you. Love your sentiments, creations and photography! Now, I love your kitchen. I might just steal your idea for the chalk board I think it would work well for communication in our house. Best of luck with the sale of your house. And I am SO waiting for your book! I cant wait! Geez I was waiting for it before you even announced it. So just when do you find time to breathe?

  45. Aran says:

    i feel like such a voyeur but I love this series!

  46. Janet says:

    This was a great series! Thanks again for posting this!

  47. Laura says:

    I’m so sad to see this series end! It really made me look forward to Thursdays! Thanks everyone for sharing and a special thanks to Jen for organizing!

  48. evenlyn says:

    oh…it is ended ! :( Can’t wait for the next series. Is like following the ‘HERO’. ha. Many thanks Jen and thanks to the rest for sharing your kitchen. :)

  49. Melissa says:

    Helen, I’m really in awe of the fact that you and your husband built your own house. Way to live out a dream, you two. Very admirable. Your kitchen is my favorite along with Peabody’s. It’s organized, functional and has a great island. I love the idea of writing down what you have on the board so nothing goes to waste. I should do that for my produce, even if it’s just a piece of paper on my refrigerator. Also, I didn’t know about flour bugs, so I learned something today. :)

    Mark, I can’t imagine cooking in the type of humidity you have and it’s great that you have learned how to work in it and cook and bake marvelously. I’m like Jen, I get irritated as hell in humidity. I’m fascinated by your kitchen. The range is so interesting, just smack in the middle of the counter like that. It looks really cool. And though everything is modern, your kitchen and the house in general have an old-fashioned vibe that I genuinely adore, almost as if it makes me nostalgic for something. Thanks for showing it!

    Jen, you’re the bestest for carrying the hosting load. I loved seeing some of these spaces. Great idea, perfectly executed. Maybe you should do it once a year!

  50. Holly says:

    This has been such an amazing series! Thank you for doing it and to all those that shared their kitchens! AWesome job! I now have some great ideas to work with. Thanks again!

  51. Whitney says:

    I loved this series so much. Thank you for putting this together.

  52. Caitlin says:

    What an awesome series – I’m sorry to see it end! I’m so impressed that Helen and her husband built the house themselves, that’s one terrific feat! I’m also jealous of her organizational skills – do you think she’d let me borrow some? :)

  53. Laura says:

    Great series of posts. Hope you do it again someday.

  54. joey says:

    Fabulous! Helen’s and Manggy’s kitchens in one post! I love them both and am so happy to have been able to take a glimpse of their sanctuaries :) Fantastic series!!!

  55. Debby says:

    I have so enjoyed each kitchen tour. What fun voyeurism! Thank you, Jen, for putting this together. I’m sorry to see this end…maybe you can do this again! I LOVED the idea of the magnetic spices on the fridge!
    I am looking at my own, humble, kitchen with a new appreciation for what I create in such a small space. So many great ideas.

  56. kellypea says:

    I swear I’m going to be named the caboose since I always seem to be last to not only know about these things, but to comment. Great job on both these kitchens and bloggers — truly feel as if I visited with each of them! And what a cool idea! Now I’m going to go slinking backwards on the tour with my second cup of Friday morning coffee!

  57. Margie says:

    What a treat, every last one of them! Again, a thousand thanks to you, Jenzie.

    Mark. Forget the kitchen, the food, and the fact you’ve been traveling. I simply want you to put that apron on, go into that sweet garden and pose for a pic. YOU are the eye-candy! ;) …

    Helen. You took the time to do this tour? I’m beyond impressed! How do you juggle everything?

    Seriously, I have loved ever bit of each and every one of these tours. For anyone to open up their very personal space and let the world come barging in…well, there’s only one thing I can think to say to you folks:


    It’s been a pleasure.

  58. deeba says:

    Oh there you go KP, there’s another caboose here & it’s not you. I love voyeurism if this is what it is. I love Mark too…& expected the brave docs kitchen to be like this…FABULOUS!! This is the firs ‘kitchen’ tour I’ve taken, & am loving it!!

  59. Asianmommy says:

    How fun! It’s been great to see these wonderful kitchens.

  60. Stefanie says:

    thank you so much for the wonderful kitchen tour. it’s been so interesting and inspiring to “meet” all of these people and see where they work and create. thanks again – you’re the best! :)

  61. Christina says:

    I really do love these peeks into the lives of other chefs! Love them. Thanks again for sharing.

  62. Hilda says:

    Thank you for doing this series Jen! I finally got to see Helene’s kitchen and everyone else’s kitchen was full of good tips and ideas for storage and organization (not the least of which was yours).

  63. cindy says:

    jen, i loved every single kitchen in this series, everyone is so different but they all pull it off!…again, so awesome!
    i would definitely make some japchae with those korean noodz and that jungly backyard is so cool…and i have been wanting to see helen’s kitchen, i wanted to find out where all her stellar work went down! good way to wrap things up.

  64. RecipeGirl says:

    I have absolutely loved reading about all of the kitchen tours. I hope you decide to do a few more sometime in the future. It really helps us to ‘connect’ with those blogs we’ve read for ages! Thanks for doing this.

  65. White On Rice Couple says:

    I don’t know why, but I feel a little teary after reading these. Both bloggers and their kitchens with their stories just made me so happy. We both Diane and I love each of these two, and their stories and homes make us love them even more. Thanks to both of you for sharing your sweetness and love. (BTW- Thanks for the garden love Mark. Anytime I look at our mango tree I think of you & the Philippines) Thanks for putting together such a great series Jen. It took a hell of a lot of work, and you did everything with your beautiful style and finesse. “standing ovation until our hands hurt, then continue clapping!!!!” Todd.

  66. Jenny Tan says:

    I LOVE this series!!! I wished there are MORE! :) THanks so much for creating this! :)

  67. Pegs says:

    How cool was all this? The series was great, Jen. Your hard work was so worth it! Thanks to you and all your friends for opening your worlds to us, so very inspiring.

  68. Mrs Ergül says:

    Phew! What a lovely last episode to Kitchen Tour!

    Mark has got quite a pantry, hasn’t he?! Not to mention all the kitchen appliances that he has!!

    Tartlette’s kitchen is beautiful! Another couple who built it from scratch! Salute to them! And 2 refurbished Kitchenaid?! Her better half must have got nifty hands with these things!

    Other than thanking all the kitchen tour participants for allowing us a peek into where they work their magic, we have to thank you – Jen for all the hard work you put into this! I’m so gonna miss this series!

  69. Manggy says:

    Hola Jen, thank you so much for this treat. I know you must be thinking that I was the one who “welcomed” you into my kitchen, etc etc, but I gotta say, it’s extremely flattering to be thought of as special enough to be featured (although the logic of that statement is flawed, because you chose me for me and not my kitchen, heh). And for not making me feel like I was the black sheep among these pretty kitchens :) I’ve always wanted to show my kitchen not because I thought it was beautiful, but because it was different :) And now you have a ton of readers clamoring for more! Ha ha ha. Maybe next year, eh?

    Oh, and I have a gender-appropriate apron, thank you very much… Though I only put it on when I am working with food coloring :)

    Cindy – Yeah, I think I’ve made japchae twice with it already but it never runs out! Any more?

    Todd – Hah, mango tree = manggy, of course! Thank you for your kind words! :)

    Margie – aw, pshaw! I’m blushing here!

    Melissa – After 3 months in the States, yeah the humidity was a shock (again)! But, at least my skin is always supple, hee :)

    Lori – yes, thanks! I’m always appreciative of my home :)

    Valisa – Sorry bout the homesickness :( Well, you can always buy a tiny stove you can put in a well-ventilated part of the house :)

    Helen – I think most Americans would consider the backyard where the barbecue is the “dirty kitchen”, huh? :)

  70. barbara says:

    Fabulous kitchens from both bloggers. How does Helen bake all those delicious cakes and remain slim?

  71. Jenny says:

    Lovely work, and thank you for the series. It is great to see what other bloggers have to work with and how they organize things.

  72. jenyu says:

    Lisa – thanks!

    Y – you’re so welcome and thank you for commenting.

    Marija – thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed the series.

    Jo – well, if I were made of infinite time and money, sure – but unfortunately I am not. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Nirmala – good for you and I hope you continue baking! All the best :)

    Clumbsycookie – it’s bittersweet for me – sad to see it over, glad to have the time back! :)

    Kathy – you’re so sweet, thanks!

    Rosa – thank you, hon.

    Zita – ha ha! :)

    Aimee – thanks so much for following the series!

    Jenny – well, I’m sad too, but also happy to get my time back :)

    Maja – no sequel any time soon. It’s a lot of work and time which I don’t have this summer. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Kristin – yay! Great ideas from many of these kitchens!

    Lindsey – yes, she is a huge treat, isn’t she?

    Anne – Probably not more for a while. I have other things that demand my time :)

    Veron – yes, I was quite fascinated with Mark’s kitchen too! I think it’s cool how different and yet similar it is.

    Amy – isn’t that an awesome trick (the shoe holder over the door)? I love it too. Can’t wait to see when your new kitchen is done :)

    Kimmie – Ah ha ha! Well, it’s far more work than one might think :)

    Babeth – thank you!

    Maggie – thanks!

    Jane – As I’ve mentioned above, putting together a kitchen tour is a lot of work and time. It requires far more than just getting a bunch of pictures that a blogger has snapped. Thanks for the offer, but I am done with kitchen tours for at least until after the fall shoot :)

    Justopia – Lots of people love the series and I am really happy about that, but it takes up so much of my time that I think 6 weeks was enough. Maybe after my other work calms down in the fall.

    Rashmi – thank you, sweetie.

    Tartelette – thank YOU for participating. All of you have been so gracious and helpful. I hope you had some fun too ;) xxoo

    Janet – thank you :) and yes! I think we ALL need to start looking for abandoned KA mixers ;)

    Amy – I love that idea too!

    Valisa – awww, that’s so sweet. Well, this series is done for now. Perhaps I’ll pick up again in 6 months when the fall shoot is over. But for now, I don’t have the time that is required to do the series properly (and it requires a lot of time and work).

    JessW – ha ha :) thanks and I hope you got a lot of great ideas!

    Memoria – thank you!

    Charlane – you’re so very welcome :)

    Kim – glad you enjoyed it. Maybe in 6 months, we may see a return.

    Phoo-D – thank you, hon!

    Jayme – I’d much rather have two kitchens than two living rooms :) hee hee.

    Shari – thank you for reading!

    Lily – yay, I’m really happy to hear that it’s been fun for you.

    Rita – you’re sweet – thanks for reading.

    MyKitchenInHalfCups – you’re welcome, dear :)

    Kelly – it will be a while if I decide to do it again, but it’s nice to know that it’s so popular.

    Liz – thanks. If I had time (and if someone paid me for doing it) I would consider making it a regular feature.

    Luv2cooktoomuch – it’s true that there are so many awesome ideas from the various bloggers. That’s what was so fun about it.

    Lori – thanks, sweetie!

    Aran – :) Maybe next time around I’ll be contacting YOU :)

    Janet – you’re welcome!

    Laura – thank you for following the series :)

    Evenlyn – thank you.

    Melissa – yup, I think once a year might be about all I can handle. But thank YOU for participating, sweetheart!

    Holly – yay!!

    Whitney – I’m so happy to hear it :)

    Caitlin – I know, I’m totally amazed and impressed with what they put together. Awesome!

    Laura – perhaps!

    Joey – thanks!

    Debby – yes, tons of great ideas from these bloggers. I’ll have to think about another series, but not for several months, I’m guessing.

    Kellypea – hee hee :) You are so cute.

    Margie – thank you, hon.

    Deeba – thanks!

    Stefanie – thank you and you’re very kind.

    Christina – thanks for dropping by!

    Hilda – I found it very cool to see how others organized their kitchens. Lots of great tips :)

    Cindy – thanks :)

    RecipeGirl – thank you for reading and perhaps we will continue after a much needed (and long) break :)

    WoRC – You are such a cutie! You and Diane are total gems for participating and showcasing your lovely home with us. Thank you for making it happen and thank you for going early too. Love you two!

    Jenny – you’re very welcome.

    Pegs – Absolutely! I hope we all got some great inspiration from the different cooks and kitchens.

    Mrs. E – oh hon, you make me blush… Thanks for following the series :)

    Mark – You are most certainly more than special *enough* to be featured on my blog, my dear. Thank you for doing this and fitting it into your insane schedule. Big hugs.

    Barbara – hee hee, isn’t it funny how tiny (thin) she is? Just love that woman.

    Jenny – thank you!!

  73. Pat says:

    Hi Jen, I found your blog through White on Rice Couple and I love the kitchen tour series. What a fab idea! Too bad it has to end. Great blog and photos too, I’ll visit often. Pat

  74. bee says:

    manggy and helen, thanks for the peek. manggy, i love love love the strip of green adjoining your kitchen.

  75. Patricia Scarpin says:

    These two are such favorite of mine – lovely, talented, generous people! Love them both!

    Helen, my dear, it’s wonderful to see where all the magic happens.
    Mark, you are too adorable!

  76. Mollie says:

    Love it! Thanks so much Helen & Mark. So many organized cooks with toys to lust after! :) And a huge thank you to Jen for taking this on. What a fantastic idea!

  77. Holly says:

    I really enjoyed this series, Jen. Thanks so much for putting it together!

  78. jenyu says:

    Pat – Thanks!

    Bee – glad you could join us :)

    Patricia – they’re both awesome, aren’t they?

    Mollie – xxoo

    Holly – you’re so welcome. Thanks for following along!

  79. El says:

    This is a great idea. It’s so much fun. Thank you Helen and Mark for letting us spy on your kitchens. And thanks Helen for the drawer organization inspiration.

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