Things

Inside Alix Lacloche’s Kitchen

1st February 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

The writer and TV chef flicks through her food diaries, shows us her miniature kitchen and picks out a book that “everyone who likes to cook should have”

OBJECTS

Hiromoto knives »
“Knives are very important. I get mine shipped from a Japanese knife shop in Berkeley [Hida Tool and Hardware]. The maker is Hiromoto – not the best you can get but the knives are really light and not too expensive – like $35. I’d never buy a $200 knife.”

Food diary
Alix mentions she kept a food diary in San Francisco so we ask her to show it to us. It’s the first time she’s looked at it since in 2009. “It’s personal stuff about food – recipes, how I organised the fridge – and it’s covered with stains from cooking.” By coincidence, the first page she opens has a recipe for an orange salad with curacao, grapefruit, black olives and balsamic vinegar – not dissimilar from what she makes us for lunch.

Jars
Alix’s shelves are piled high with old jars put to new uses. A cornichon jar from Leader Price, the French discount supermarket, now contains rose petals from Jerusalem.

Pez dispenser
Manual sweet dispenser with a cartoon head, first produced in Austria in 1927. “These are so great,” says Alix, who has a tiger-head dispenser. “I love the idea of hidden candy.”

Japanese toasting box
Alix doesn’t know what this is called, and nor do we. It’s a little wire box with a lid and a handle, used for toasting nuts etc – “it keeps them from going everywhere when you move them around on the heat”. She adds, “I got it from my mother. I love miniature things and old battered things like this.”

Miniature kitchen
Before we leave, Alix shows us evidence of her early interest in food: a wooden miniature kitchen – stocked with miniature fruit and vegetables, plates, baguettes, Nesquik – which she used to play with as a child.

INGREDIENTS

Poppadoms »
“Poppadoms cooked over a flame (if you have a gas hob) are great – in two seconds you have something a little bit fancy. You can make them yourself but I buy mine from the Indian supermarket.”

Mukhwas »
An Indian after-meal snack that usually consists of fennel seeds, anise seeds, coconut and sesame seeds. Alix gets it from the Indian supermarket, Velan. “Put it on ice cream and people are like, where did you get that?”

Piment d’Espelette »
“A Basque chilli pepper from a really cheesy town in the south of France. It’s sweet, not too strong, a bit like paprika. I use it a lot.” Alix adds it to our orange and anchovy salad.

BOOKS

The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters »
“Every person who likes to cook should have this on their bookshelf,” says Alix. “It’s the simple stuff, from the vinaigrette to how to cook sushi rice to how to roast a chicken, make pancakes, biscuits.”

Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi »
One of several hugely popular cookbooks by the London-based Israeli chef. “I love all the Ottolenghi books. The first time I went to one of his shops in London, I was like, oh this is the kind of food I want to cook.”

Canal House Cooking, Hamilton and Hirsheimer »
Magazine series published by two former editors of Saveur based in Pennsylvania. “They follow the seasons. I like the simplicity of them.”

Moro: The Cookbook, Samuel Clark and Samantha Clark »
First cookbook from the owners of Moro, a London restaurant specialising in Spanish and North African food. “I love this book.”

My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking, Niloufer Ichaporia King »
King is a Parsi from Bombay living in San Francisco. Find out more about her here.

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Posted 1st February 2015

In Things

 

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

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