From your current contents, what could you make for dinner if, say, the in-laws showed up unexpectedly? I have a brined chicken, made using sugar, salt, dry rosemary leaves, herbs de Provence, and dried bay leaves.
Is anything in there either really old or of unknown origin? There’s Stonewall Kitchen Fig & Ginger Jam that’s two years old. It’s a big jar, and I have it with cheese sometimes. It’s a fruit preserve, so the shelf life is long.
What current item would most impress a foodie (Siberian caviar, for example)? Saint-Marcellin triple crème. I love cheese and especially the selections at Murray’s Cheese in the Grand Central Market or at Whole Foods. The Saint-Marcellin comes in its own clay pot, and when I finish the cheese, I use the pot for hummus or olives when guests come over.
I also have a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano from Stew Leonard’s that I’ll use to make cheese bread or just nibble on with wine.
Rate your fridge from 1 (do not open without hazmat suit) to 10 (I have OCD). Not perfect but close to it, so a nine. I’m very organized in the restaurant kitchen, so I carry that over to my home fridge. There’s no reason for a lot of clutter, as I don’t eat breakfast much, and most of my lunches and dinners come five days a week at the restaurant.
Any embarrassing fake foods, i.e., Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz, etc? Bertolli jarred tomato sauce is the closest I come to anything highly processed. Sometimes even a chef doesn’t feel like making something from scratch.
Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, etc? Eggs that are organic. The cheap non-organic ones that are like $1.99 for 24 are scary! I like my eggs sunny-side up, so when the yolk is practically raw, it’s smart to get good quality.
Do you do most of the cooking in your household? Yes, as it makes sense because I’m in the food industry, and my partner, Walter, is a pharmacist at CVS. He does, however, have one delicious dish he makes: aji de gallina, or Peruvian spicy creamed chicken. It’s poached chicken breast that’s shredded and then cooked with Peruvian chilies, evaporated milk, and Parmesan.
Any random/unusual items in the door shelf? A regular [four times a week] customer at the bistro gave me a Chinese spicy bean paste. It’s a condiment I add to rice with butter and onions.
How’s the dairy situation? Yogurt: Fage plain for myself and Chobani strawberry for Walter. We don’t drink milk so much, as we’re not cereal fans. I grew up in Brazil—my father is Brazilian, and my mother is American—in the countryside, four hours from Sao Paolo. Cereal and milk in the morning is definitely an American thing.
What’s the drinks situation? We always have water, currently Fuze, plus Perrier in skinny, little cans. I love a glass of wine a day, so there’s an open magnum of Frontera Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
What’s there to snack on? Hummus is my snack of choice. There’s also 60%-cacao chocolate chips, which I melt and pour over ice cream.
Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32°F and below. I’m against freezing stuff in general and prefer to buy fresh as we need, especially with only two people living in the house. I might think differently if I had a family. The only item in the freezer now is an ice-cube tray with cubes made out of margarita mix.
Anything on top of the fridge? There are several colorful (blue, green, and red) ceramic oven pots I got on a trip to Italy. I use them to make mac ‘n’ cheese and Brazilian crab stew.