Small-Kitchen Cooking Tips from a Camper-Living Chef

When many New York City dwellers fled to smaller towns and rural areas last year, I, like many others, was skeptical of their intentions. But the journey of one of my favorite voices in the city’s food scene, Lee Kalpakis, was one that felt inspiring (…

When many New York City dwellers fled to smaller towns and rural areas last year, I, like many others, was skeptical of their intentions. But the journey of one of my favorite voices in the city’s food scene, Lee Kalpakis, was one that felt inspiring (and soothing!) to follow during this time. When the pandemic hit, Kalpakis—who has worked as a recipe developer, food stylist, culinary producer, and video host—and her partner both lost their jobs; they decided to give up their Brooklyn loft and move to the Catskills, where they both grew up. But instead of another apartment, they purchased a bare-bones 1976 Fleetwood Prowler van to refurbish. Now, they’re on their own land—much more isolated than when they had started out in 2020—but building a home all their own.

Though Kalpakis has spent most of her professional life working in restaurants (including her parents’ growing up) and large test kitchens, she’s accustomed to cooking in small spaces by nature of living in NYC apartments. Now, she's figuring out how to evolve her cooking, not just for a weekend camping trip, but for the long haul in the woods.

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The Piece of Decor Your Kitchen Is Calling For

It’s practically undeniable at this point that kitchens are the beating heart of our homes. They’re where we gather to make delicious food, deepen our relationships, and forge new memories (not to mention hold 3 p.m. corporate brainstorms and 11 a.m. a…

It’s practically undeniable at this point that kitchens are the beating heart of our homes. They’re where we gather to make delicious food, deepen our relationships, and forge new memories (not to mention hold 3 p.m. corporate brainstorms and 11 a.m. art class). The fluidity of these spaces is of paramount importance: You have to have enough room to seat the whole family, a table that doubles as an eat/work zone, enough gizmos and gadgets to help you take on all the additional home cooking... the list goes on. But for as functional—and beautiful—as many of our kitchens are, are they truly reflective of our homes, and our style? I’d venture a guess and say maybe not.

Ask any designer and they’ll tell you the biggest impact you can make in a space is often with art. Not only does it help tie a room together, but it’s a great way for homeowners to imbue their dwellings with their unique taste and point of view. Yet, oftentimes, the kitchen is the last place we add decor layers like artwork.

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12 Handy Organization Ideas for Small Kitchens

My first apartment in San Francisco was a well-lit 1920s studio on California Street that had a kitchen with capacity for roughly three-fourths of one person at a time. The storage space was virtually nonexistent: I had a single, tiny wall of cabinets …

My first apartment in San Francisco was a well-lit 1920s studio on California Street that had a kitchen with capacity for roughly three-fourths of one person at a time. The storage space was virtually nonexistent: I had a single, tiny wall of cabinets abutting the stove (rendering one section of shelf inaccessible), and just one cabinet next to the kitchen sink.

But a decade later, comprising a stint at Williams-Sonoma HQ, a wedding, and two increasingly larger apartments, I’d officially amassed enough kitchen gear to stock a boutique.

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The Lighting Trick Your Kitchen Is Missing

I have big-time Nancy Meyers aspirations for my home. There’s just something about all the interiors featured in her films (think: Something’s Gotta Give, The Intern, Father of the Bride, et al)—they feel collected and lived-in and cozy, while still bo…

I have big-time Nancy Meyers aspirations for my home. There’s just something about all the interiors featured in her films (think: Something’s Gotta Give, The Intern, Father of the Bride, et al)—they feel collected and lived-in and cozy, while still boasting a thoughtful, design-forward aesthetic. Architectural Digest even wrote an article on the psychology behind the Nancy Meyers dream home, so clearly I’m not the only one here.

But I digress—I got on this topic for a reason, and that reason is kitchen lamps. According to my research (consisting of many purely indulgent, non-scientific viewings of The Holiday and It’s Complicated) rule #247 when it comes to achieving that Nancy Meyers vibe comes in the form of ambient lighting—and lots of it. There’s nothing like a soft, slightly-yellowed glow to make your home—and any room in it—feel totally welcoming and warm. And in no place is it more difficult to achieve that vibe than in your kitchen, where harsh top lighting or single pendants over the island reign supreme.

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5 Ways to Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets With Paint

With help from our sponsor Behr—makers of high-quality paints in every shade—we’re sharing color-filled paint projects anyone can pull off, whether you’re a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned pro. Here, we’re highlighting bright ideas for giving your kitc…

With help from our sponsor Behr—makers of high-quality paints in every shade—we're sharing color-filled paint projects anyone can pull off, whether you're a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned pro. Here, we're highlighting bright ideas for giving your kitchen cabinets a makeover with BEHR PREMIUM® Interior Cabinet & Trim Enamel.


Kitchen renovations can be a completely daunting task—often requiring the help of a professional, and plenty of time living in a construction site. Think: totally changing up the floor plan, ripping out the old floors and replacing them with shiny new hardwood, you get the idea.

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12 Petite Cookware Pieces That Bring Us *Big* Joy

Did you know our brains are actually hardwired to find small things cute? Scientists call it a “cuteness trigger” (a term that is pretty cute in and of itself), and we’re happy to know there’s a reason we regularly find ourselves fawning over teeny-tin…

Did you know our brains are actually hardwired to find small things cute? Scientists call it a “cuteness trigger” (a term that is pretty cute in and of itself), and we’re happy to know there’s a reason we regularly find ourselves fawning over teeny-tiny kitchen tools.

If you’re a sucker for all things small, there are a lot—and we mean a lot—of undersized cookware pieces you can add to your kitchen. The best part? They are just as functional as they are precious, so you can justify the purchase by putting your new mini cocottes to use as serving vessels at your next dinner party or impress your friends with their own personal butter warmer to go with their shellfish.

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Peek Inside a French Country Kitchen Inspired by the Seasons

Kitchens have always been my favorite room in a home. I grew up in the US, but my oldest childhood memories take me back to summer vacations spent in our family’s mountain farmhouse tucked away in the Pyrenees. The house, especially at mealtime, was al…

Kitchens have always been my favorite room in a home. I grew up in the US, but my oldest childhood memories take me back to summer vacations spent in our family’s mountain farmhouse tucked away in the Pyrenees. The house, especially at mealtime, was always filled with people—neighbors, friends from nearby villages, and lost hikers. There were often as many as 20 people gathered around the table, sharing locally-sourced ingredients that we’d cook over an open wood fire. Everyone took part in the meal, whether by suggesting a recipe, setting the table, or foraging wild flowers and branches to decorate the space.

Memories from those summer days have made me who I am today—they are also why our kitchen is the heart of our family life today.

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How to Organize Your Kitchen So It Works for You

Even if you’re not big on home cooking, the kitchen is one of the most important places in your home to keep organized—especially if there are other people in the house. It’s inevitably a hub of activity, because our lives at home tend to revolve aroun…

Even if you’re not big on home cooking, the kitchen is one of the most important places in your home to keep organized—especially if there are other people in the house. It’s inevitably a hub of activity, because our lives at home tend to revolve around eating. Says organizing expert of 13+ years, Rachel Rosenthal: “It’s not about pretty bins—it’s about saving time grabbing breakfast in the morning, cutting down on food waste, and aiding in accurate grocery shopping.”

The pictures on Pinterest and Instagram are always staged, she stresses, so it’s important not to get hung up on getting your own space to look just like the ultra-minimalist photos you see, and instead focus on what works for you and your family. Here, Rachel walks us through the best way to organize your kitchen, whether you’ve just moved into a new home, or want to take a fresh approach in a long-time residence—minus the pressures of perfection.

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How to Preserve & Press Fall Leaves

Fall weather is fleeting. Peak foliage is even more ephemeral. That’s why I love preserving precious foraged leaves so they retain their red, yellow, and orange, and can be admired all year long. Leaves (sadly) tend to dry out, curl up, and break apart…

Fall weather is fleeting. Peak foliage is even more ephemeral. That’s why I love preserving precious foraged leaves so they retain their red, yellow, and orange, and can be admired all year long. Leaves (sadly) tend to dry out, curl up, and break apart after a few days in human hands—but by preserving them you'll be able to ensure they keep their color and seal in moisture to avoid cracking.

Preserving leaves works best if you start with already tidy specimens—leaves that are relatively flat (fewer bumps) and "healthy" (without tears or insect damage) or recently harvested to begin with—and is most effective if undertaken before the leaves are pressed flat. But if you've already pressed leaves in the past, or choose to press them before preserving, it's not too late! Preserving can also be done once they're pressed.

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How Baking Expert Samantha Seneviratne Brings Fun to Everyday Cooking

The first step to better, happier cooking? Setting up a tip-top kitchen. We’re talking one that’s stocked with essential tools and ingredients, organized so everything you need is close at hand, and sparkling-clean from floor to ceiling. Food52 is here…

The first step to better, happier cooking? Setting up a tip-top kitchen. We're talking one that's stocked with essential tools and ingredients, organized so everything you need is close at hand, and sparkling-clean from floor to ceiling. Food52 is here to make it happen. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks from the Food52 community and test kitchen to help you transform your space into its very best self.


Samantha Seneviratne and her work are all over Food52: She’s guided us through some seriously satisfying baking projects (like homemade toaster strudels and Cheez-Its). Her Banana Bread Scones are certified Genius. She’s the stylist behind many a recipe photo and video. She’s also the author of three books we love to bake from: Gluten-Free for Good, The New Sugar & Spice, and The Joys of Baking. For Your Do-Anything Kitchen, Samantha showed us around the Brooklyn kitchen she shares with her three-year-old, Artie, and told us about how she keeps things inspiring—and joyful—for both.

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