Welcome to my test kitchen tour of the Bon Appetit, The Daily Meal and Food 52 test kitchens! How, you ask, did I get this incredible opportunity to explore the test kitchens and meet with the staff at these popular publications? I have Cookbook Create to thank for that! This great website helps you create a custom cookbook with your favorite recipes and prints the cookbook for you. Brilliant! I may just have to turn Kitchen Tested into a cookbook. Well, in celebration of Internet Week, Cookbook Create teamed up with Bon Appetit, The Daily Meal and Food52 to take food bloggers on a tour behind the scenes to check out how the staff at each of these kitchens do their recipe testing. A fan of my blog (thanks Devorah from ESquared Hospitality) sent me the link to fill out the application and I jumped at the chance to throw my name in the running. And boy did I jump when I got the email from Anna at Cookbook Create letting me know that I was accepted to the tour. Let’s just say I had a babysitter lined up within an hour of receiving that email.
Less than a week later, I was on the train to Manhattan with my heavy DSLR camera, some snacks and lots of business cards on hand. I have to just tell you all that it had been over three years since taking a subway or train so taking the LIRR was a really big deal for me. Our first stop? Bon Appetit in the Conde Naste building in Times Square. It was so exciting to meet all of the other amazingly talented bloggers that were chosen to go on the tour. We all went upstairs together to our first test kitchen and let’s just say we were all blow away!
Before stepping into the Bon Appetit test kitchen, we met Food Editors Dawn Perry and Matt Gross to talk about the process of testing recipes, choosing ingredients and more. Dawn and Matt lead us on our tour of the test kitchens as well, answering all of our questions and letting us wish we had their jobs.
We went into the test kitchen and I was so surprised by the simplicity of the space. The large kitchen is actually made up of smaller galley kitchens that are meant to emulate a typical Manhattan kitchen. No stainless appliances, no fancy equipment. The idea is that the home cook should be able to emulate what these professional chefs are making in the test kitchens. Wonder what their making with those marinating brussels sprouts? Not every tested recipe goes in the magazine or on the website but I sure hope this does.
Then we walked to the beautiful demo kitchen and chatted with Restaurant and Drinks Editor, Andrew Knowlton about the process of choosing the best restaurants for the magazine and website. Let’s just say that Andrew sometimes uses a fake name so he can eat at a restaurant anonymously but when he orders 12 different dishes, he pretty much gives himself away. We also had the honor of meeting Editor in Chief, Adam Rapoport. It was interesting listening to Adam discuss the direction of the magazine and how it has grown from it’s humble beginnings. You can just feel the passion in his words. It’s incredible!
Here are some pictures of the food I couldn’t eat. If only the test kitchen was kosher! The fresh pea crostini and horseradish deviled eggs recipes are on the website so I’ll just have to make them myself. The fresh homemade ginger ale was so refreshing and a great way to end the Bon Appetit tour.
Next stop on the tour was The Daily Meal and I can’t even explain how impressed I was by their office. I had no idea there were so many employees and interns working hard to create this informative and innovative website. They recently built their high-tech test kitchen and we all felt so lucky to be in such a cool space.
We met with Executive Director Coleman Andrews and The Daily Meal team of editors to discuss the growth of the website, the handful of celebrity chefs that have already cooked in the new kitchen and ways that us bloggers can get involved with the site. We went around the room introducing ourselves to the team and we each had a chance to say what our current favorite ingredient is. Can you guess what I said? If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you already know that my answer was Ramps!
We got our very own food demo from The Daily Meal team using their high tech KitchenAid induction stove top. Lots of chopped onions sautéed in butter and mixed with fresh fava beans, garlic and spinach.
They also served red and white wine, a nice treat for the group at 2 in the afternoon. I, of course, drank water and heard that the spinach mixture was delicious. I can definitely make that at home…if I ever get around to prepping my own fava beans.
We also spoke on camera to give The Daily Meal fans our best food blogging tips. Check it out!
Our last stop was at the amazing Food 52 office! I love the vibe of this loft style space. Even the door makes you want to be there. Can we all just work at Food 52? Would we all fit?
Just look at the cool decor in this space. It felt like we were walking into Anthropologie or a really funky downtown hipster apartment. Not that I know any funky downtown hipsters…but this is what I imagine their apartments look like.
Now check out this kitchen! As I walked into each publications kitchen, I decided that I would redo my kitchen just like theirs. But when I walked into Food 52’s test kitchen space, I was in full-covet mode. The reclaimed wood shelves, walnut island and marble counter welcome you in with open arms. And look at those accessories on the back wall!
Two of the Food 52 editors tested a recipe for silky pea soup with garlic cream and pickled ramps while we chatted with Merrill Stubbs, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief. Merrill talked to us about the start of Food 52, the surprising growth and move to this new office and looking to the bright future (a store within their site called Provisions).
Here are some pics of the group! We are all so diverse and our blogs are as unique as we are.
Since I’m sure many of you are wondering who were the other bloggers that went on the test kitchen tour, here’s the list. Check them all out and tell them I say hi!
- Alejandra from Always Order Dessert
- Amie from The Healthy Apple
- Caroline from Taste Love & Nourish
- Carrie from Poet in the Pantry
- Clay from UltraClay (photography)
- Diana from Appetite for China
- Daina from The Hungry Fan
- Heidi from Brooklyn Allergy Mom
- Jennifer from Savory Simple
- Jen from Champagne Problems
- Kimberly from Foodie City Mom
- Lisa from Nutcase Crunch
- Mary from Love the Secret Ingredient
- Sloane from Allergic Girl
Thank you to our hosts from Cookbook Create, Anna, Leiti and Emily. I am so impressed that you put this event together and I am so thankful that you chose me from over 100 bloggers to attend this tour.