Some chefs can't even be bothered to set foot in a home kitchen after spending hours on the line at work. But The Red Hen chef Mike Friedman isn't that kind of chef. His modern French country kitchen in Takoma Park, which he and his family refurbished in 2012, is a special place for them to come together.
"We were able to come into the space and kind of pick what we wanted, which was exciting," said Friedman. As they planned out their design, a few priorities came to the forefront: wooden floors, marble countertops, and a gas stove range. They also wanted a big, old-school farmhouse sink, which is a focal point of the shining, detailed space.
Friedman’s kitchen features plenty of new cabinetry and storage (it helps to have cabinet builders and contractors in the family), which means there’s lots of room for the chef’s many pots and pans. At least someone is using the kitchen every day. Even Friedman's two-year-old daughter Addison has her own set of pots and pans for cooking. "On nights off, I’m cooking every night," Friedman said. Mornings involve family breakfasts of pancakes or eggs and toasts.
Friedman and his wife tend to alternate in the kitchen rather than collaborating together on meals, but he says his wife is picking up some tricks from him, such as how to stretch dinner leftovers into new lunches the next day. The family tends to stock lots of vegetables, local beers, apple juice for Addison and a huge variety of condiments in the fridge. "Chefs tend to be condiment people," said Friedman. His wife has learned to let go of harassing him over his insane variety of mustards, sauces and mayos, and just accept that as part of the deal. The pantry is filled with items like dried beans, pastas and quinoa.
Some of Friedman's go-to cooking projects at home include cacio e pepe pasta, homemade chili and plenty of Mexican food — taco night and fajita night are family mainstays. His favorite cooking tools range from his mandoline to his Shun kinves to his Vitamix blender, which helps him prepare soups and sauces at home. Another quirky favorite: a tiny egg plan that he uses to make a mini tortilla espanol.