Cool Kitchens: Interview with Sara Kate and Faith of TheKitchn.com
Walk into any food-lover's home and the kitchen will be the center of gravity – which is exactly the point of Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn, a food site devoted to inspiring cooks and nourishing homes through daily recipes, tips, kitchen tours, and how-tos. It's also the home of cool kitchens of all kinds - especially small ones. With several million readers every month, it's clear that a lot of us feel a kitchen is central to our homes.
The Kitchn was founded by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, a food writer and the author of two cookbooks including Good Food to Share. Faith Durand is managing editor of The Kitchn and author of the cookbook, Not Your Mother's Casseroles. We caught up with both of them to find out what's on kitchen lovers' minds these days, The Kitchn's all-time most popular posts, and food trends they expect to see in 2012.
What are some of your current favorite or most coveted things for discerning cooks and kitchen lovers? At The Kitchn we really value long-lasting, practical objects. Many of these classic tools are also the most beautiful. A Lodge cast iron skillet is perhaps our idea of an iconic kitchen tool. Our readers love Staub and Le Creuset Dutch ovens, too, and Wusthof knives.
What are the all-time most popular posts on The Kitchn? Our readers love recipes, tutorials, and kitchen tours. They especially love kitchen tours from food professionals like Sara Moulton and Judith Jones, Julia Child's editor. Some recipes also get popular on a viral level, like One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream, a testament to the magic of frozen bananas.
What other kitchen living sites and writers do you enjoy? Who else is doing it right? There is such a wealth of cooking material out there these days - it's dizzying! How lucky to have so many resources at our fingertips. We love our buddies at Serious Eats, especially the food science work that Kenji is doing there. We also adore the rich writing at Gilt Taste, and the well-tested recipes of Food52. Beyond that, there are too many people to mention, mixing up beautiful photos with smart, delicious food. Heidi of 101 Cookbooks, Tim of Lottie + Doof, Molly of Orangette, Stella of Brave Tart - they are just a small taste of our collective reading lists!
You've covered a lot of amazing kitchens, including celebrity kitchens. What are your favorites? Judith Jones' kitchen isn't the open, modern kitchen you would see in a magazine, but it is a model of the efficiency and care learned over a lifetime of real home cooking. We love kitchens like these, where the personality of a real home cook is inscribed across the space. But of course we love the big, gorgeous, light-filled kitchens too - I am a sucker for any space with long runs of white marble countertops!
The Kitchn isn't just about beautiful kitchens and ideas – you also have recipes. What's your filter for recipes – how do you decide what makes the cut? Our recipes are driven by what our writers and recipe developers are eating and cooking week in and week out. Emily brings us Vietnamese-inspired recipes, flavored by her own childhood home. Emma is the master of modern comfort food, and Nealey gives us a taste of Atlanta and the South. We do try to work strategically with the seasons as well, looking at what our readers are desiring. Thanksgiving? How to cook a turkey. Christmas brunch? Monkey bread. But here we are still working from our writers' own palates and the things they truly enjoy eating and creating.
We've seen other bloggers rave about this cookie you wrote up. What are some of the other most popular recipes with readers? Our readers love sweet things! Our cake pops tutorial is always popular, as is the One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream - a weird yet totally awesome little treat. Our readers love modern, healthy comfort food; things like a fresh summer tomato tart come to mind, and a simple strawberry icebox cake.
What are the biggest outside influences over your editorial choices? What influences or inspires your stories? We are certainly inspired by our friends and the rich community of food writers and bloggers around the web. It's such a privilege to be in such a delicious ecosystem. We are also inspired by our own local markets and the seasons; the writers are dispersed throughout the United States and we love to see how different writers bring in the inspiration of markets and ingredients in San Francisco, Kansas City, New York, and Atlanta. We are also inspired and driven by the readers; we get ideas and questions from them every day, and we do our best to give them the resources and inspiration they want.
What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about The Kitchn? We have over 22,000 posts in our archives, so if you are looking for a discussion or resource on nearly anything to do with home cooking, we bet you can find it in our archives!
What interesting kitchen/food trends do you think we’ll see in 2012? Part of what I love about home cooking is that it is somewhat immune to the volatile trends of dining and style - roast chicken is perennially popular, and lasagna never goes out of style. We love to focus on the long-term recipes and skills that our readers will depend on over the course of their cooking lives. Having said that, I think that homey comfort food is just rocketing up, given the economy and given that people are cooking at home more than in the recent past.