"GET ON THE FUCKING SIDEWALK, ASSHOLE!" the cab driver screamed as he sped towards the red light.
"BE MORE ORIGINAL!" I yelled back.
I had zero fucks to give on that beautiful Spring afternoon. The Citibike's abused drive chain prattled during my fresh ingredient scavenger hunt. My date's (first time over!) arrival was 8PM. Their favorite dish, eggplant parm, wasn't going to cook itself. It's a multiphase dish - complicated but tiny kitchen perfect - and I could see exactly how it would come out, down to the plating. That night I had the opportunity to scale an accidental cooking discovery to an entire dish, impressing that special someone with a better meal than they could order in a restaurant. Adventures abound! Over the next few hours I washed, sliced, dipped, pressed, fried, scooped, rinsed, diced, rinsed, cut, covered, seasoned, stretched, rinsed, cut, stirred, simmered, cut, shredded, and assembled, confidently throwing it into the oven like a mad scientist on the cusp of greatness.
I still remember the smells that drifted out when I opened the oven...simmered on the vine tomatoes mixed with browned cheese bubbling over perfectly fried eggplant with a hint of onion, garlic, and Greek oregano fresh from my plant. I took the last element of dinner out, found a place on the countertop, and turned around to close the oven.
Followed by burning. Lots of burning. Pain. Definitely pain. And then agony. Turns out 3 hours of cooking was undone by a mere .36 seconds of gravity assisted free fall with a half twist, started by an errant elbow. That homemade sauce, once filling my nostrils, now splattered the floor, carpet, cabinet, and my legs. I stared, dumbfounded. Staring at the pile of past perfection. Staring at the horror. Staring at what I knew would have been a dinner so memorable they'd talk about it for years. Staring.
Eventually I took a deep breath, took in all those smells, bent over, hesitated, thought about it, pinched three fingers worth of whatever didn't hit the floor, tasted what would have been, savoured, and then started to clean up, thinking about what I could quickly throw together as a backup. Silver lining, I had a funny story to tell for an ice breaker.
The next day I stood in the doorway, staring in once more. My sanctuary betrayed me; this was war. The kitchen is tiny, one that a friend affectionately dubbed a "Two Butt Kitchen." I was...not tiny. And I love to cook. After a long day there's nothing like looking over a pile of ingredients, taking in all the smells, embarking on a culinary journey to parts unknown, meditatively preparing while letting the day melt like butter in the pan. There's this dark side, though, to that lack of space. A side of wasted food, broken glasses, interrupted flow, ruined dinners with the slightest mistaken move. How to get into a cooking flow when a momentary lapse in concentration could result in destroyed meals?
That's when it hit me - cooking in small spaces needs to be treated on every level as a different experience than cooking in normal to large sized kitchens. Every piece of equipment needs to earn its real estate. Certain procedures need to be optimized, others rewritten. We watch cooking shows with massive counter tops, and then wonder why their 15 mins is really an hour. The space needs to work on its own, and what doesn't work needs creative solutions instead of clumsily adapting what's available.
So I got to work. I forgot what I thought I knew, starting with a fresh slate. If a tool didn't exist, I built it. I developed procedures that turned clumsy frustrations into confident adventures. I tested them with people who didn't know how to cook to people who loved to cook, in all sorts of spaces. The payoff? I've cooked for over 250 people in a weekend - out of that same tiny kitchen. Some of what we learned will be published here, and some of the products we've developed will be hitting the market soon.
Whether you live in a city apartment, traveling in a RV, setting up your tiny home in parts unknown, or embarking on adventures at sea, we have you covered. Join our list, and we'll make your culinary closet a bit easier to deal with.
Our free founding members list is currently open for now. As a Founder member, you'll:
We firmly believe spammers should be given a swift kick to the potato sack - your information is safe with us and will never be given out for any reason.