Come behind the scenes at Clean, Cheat, Repeat for a #KitchenTour and see Cathy's kitchen in Beijing, China.
I really love how spacious it is (super important when you're a messy baker) and how much natural lighting I get (also super important when you're a food photographer who is clueless when it comes to artificial lighting).
Tell us about your kitchen?
My kitchen's a pretty decent size. It'd seem a lot more spacious and big if there wasn't a little dining table in the middle. We do have a large, proper dining table in the room/space next door, but we only use that one for when we have guests. It's just easier to squish a table with four chairs in the kitchen so we don't have to bring all the dishes back and forth. The size is perfect for me, and having chairs nearby is always useful when you need to reach a taller cabinet or you're trying to get a birds-eye-view shot of your food.
What have you done to make your kitchen cosy, functional, beautiful or inspiring?
I've filled it to the brim with my stuff. I'd say a pretty large majority of things in the kitchen are mine. If you look at the photos, you'll see that I've taken over all the shelves with my 11+ types of flours and my favorite Organic Burst products. I've taken over the little corner cabinets with Quest bars and Square bars and Think Thin bars and countless baking pans and sprinkles and mixing bowls. I've taken over the cabinet surfaces by covering them with nuts and seeds and all that good stuff. I know my kitchen inside-out, so it's a super comfortable and familiar environment to me, and I love to be in it, even if I'm just editing photos or writing up my recipes. In terms of other decoration, I haven't really done much. Does organizing my Organic Burst containers in rainbow order count as decoration?
How do you keep organized while cooking?
Having an organized kitchen itself is really important to keeping everything in order, and I also try to clean up as I go. If I'm waiting for chocolate to melt or a cake to bake, I'll start throwing things that I don't need anymore in the sink to get them out of the way. I'm a pretty organized person in general anyways, so that's helpful too.
Any tips & tricks for organising your pantry, fridge and ingredients?
It's hard to put this into words, so I'l just say - organize them! In my freezer/fridge, there are shelves dedicated to my baked goods, breakfast foods, vegetables, fruit etc. In one cabinet of my kitchen, there's all the bakeware (baking pans, cupcake tins, cupcake liners, mixing bowls) on the top shelf and food-related bakeware (sprinkles, cornstarch, cream of tartar, food coloring, flavorings) on the bottom shelf. A shelf is dedicated to flours of all sorts. Another is dedicated to superfood powders. You get the point, yeah?
Do you do a lot of cooking and what are your favourite dishes to make?
I don't cook, I bake. Well, I cook a little, when my mom's making dinner, I love going in and helping her. In terms of baking, I do tons of it. Tons and tons. I bake approximately 3-4 things a week, I'd say. It's definitely one of my favorite things to do. I'll bake anything and everything, but I have to admit that I absolutely adore making layer cakes and cupcakes, layer cakes especially. Layer cakes take time, but they're works of art. There's nothing more satisfying than getting a perfect, smooth, flawless final coating of buttercream, or dripping chocolate glaze down the edges, Katherine Sabbath-style. There are endless possibilities when it comes to decorating layer cakes that could be keeping you up all night (literally). If I could, I'd make layer cakes all day.
Where do you turn for new recipe ideas?
I've subscribed to countless food blogs, so every time I check my email, I get a good load of inspiration. Other than that, I love going to foodgawker.com. It's probably my favorite place to find great recipes.
Do you plan out your recipes for the week or do you like to be spontaneous?
A bit of both, actually. Sometimes I'll find a recipe on a weekday, and I'll be think, "Oh! I have all those ingredients, and I really need to use up those ripening bananas. This recipe is perfect", and then I'll keep it open until I have time to make it (usually on the weekend). If not, then on a Saturday morning, I'll sit in my kitchen and rake through my thousands of bookmarked recipes (I'm not even exaggerating) and pick one or two to make.
If you had three wishes, what would you do to make this your dream kitchen?
1. Open space. I want my kitchen to be an open kitchen. My house is open enough as it is, with no doors separating the entrance from living room #1 from the 'grand piano room' from living room #2 from the dining room. There's even a huge open space where the stairs are, so that you can see the ceiling of the second floor from the first floor. I'd love it if my kitchen was open (though I kind of like the privacy?) 2. Soundproof. My kitchen is already kind of soundproof. Often, if the fan is on and things are cooking, someone in the kitchen won't be able to hear the doorbell, but I want my kitchen to be soundproof to the point that I can blend things as loudly as I want, and maybe to the point where I can blast music and sing at the top of my lungs as I bake (which I can only do when nobody else is home, at the moment). I know, this contradicts my previous wish, but still. 3. Varied surfaces. I think the smooth, white counters are beautiful and perfect backgrounds in most cases, but I would love to try taking photos against rustic, wood boards or dramatic black surfaces.
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