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Chef Groupie’s Dream Kitchen

An extreme restaurant-goer picks up cooking-equipment tips from the chefs he adores, like Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse.

Richard Shepro, a Chicago lawyer, is such a fan of chef Joël Robuchon’s that he’s eaten at his restaurants more than 40 times and asked him for advice on renovating his kitchen. An ambitious home cook, Shepro and his wife, Lindsay Roberts, worked with architects at Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge (312-527-3200 or hbra-arch.com) to create a kitchen with separate prep, cooking and cleanup stations, mimicking those in a restaurant. Shepro chose appliances and equipment recommended by his favorite chefs—including Robuchon, three-star Michelin legend Michel Guérard and salumi specialist Paul Bertolli.

Counters

1. Counters
Cutting the corners and beveling the edges of the island’s Statuario marble countertop makes them easier to walk around.

Fireplace and Cooking Spit

2. Fireplace and Cooking Spit
Shepro installed the Isokern fireplace nearly at waist height, to make it more accessible for cooking. He bought the same Le Capucin reproduction of a 19th-century windup rotisserie featured in a film about chef Guy Savoy.

Wood-Burning Oven

3. Wood-Burning Oven
Shepro bakes pizzas and flatbreads in the Mugnaini Piccolo oven, a smaller version of the one that Bertolli used when he owned Oliveto in Oakland, California. “It heats up faster than other wood-burning ovens,” Shepro says.

1. Counters
Cutting the corners and beveling the edges of the island’s Statuario marble countertop makes them easier to walk around.

2. Fireplace and Cooking Spit
Shepro installed the Isokern fireplace nearly at waist height, to make it more accessible for cooking. He bought the same Le Capucin reproduction of a 19th-century windup rotisserie featured in a film about chef Guy Savoy.

3. Wood-Burning Oven
Shepro bakes pizzas and flatbreads in the Mugnaini Piccolo oven, a smaller version of the one that Bertolli used when he owned Oliveto in Oakland, California. “It heats up faster than other wood-burning ovens,” Shepro says.

Sources

Cooktops

4. Cooktops
Guérard installed induction cooktops (which use electromagnetic energy to generate heat) at his restaurant, Les Prés d’Eugénie, so Shepro bought one from De Dietrich. He also has a Gaggenau two-burner gas cooktop.

Salamander

5. Salamander
Robuchon told Shepro that he relies on an Equipex salamander for quickly browning food. The heating element can move up and down, offering excellent control while cooking.

Cabinets

6. Cabinets
For a less expensive version of an old-fashioned French stove, Shepro asked his architects to design custom cabinets with drawers clad in cobalt blue enameled steel and edged in stainless steel underneath the induction cooktop. Guérard has a similar framework for the induction cooktops at his restaurant.

Combi Oven

7. Combi Oven
Shepro bought a Gaggenau combi oven—named for its combination of steam and convection heat—after seeing one on a kitchen tour of the now-shuttered Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York City. The Gaggenau model has five different humidity settings and automatically drains and refills the water supply ($4,400).

4. Cooktops
Guérard installed induction cooktops (which use electromagnetic energy to generate heat) at his restaurant, Les Prés d’Eugénie, so Shepro bought one from De Dietrich. He also has a Gaggenau two-burner gas cooktop.

5. Salamander
Robuchon told Shepro that he relies on an Equipex salamander for quickly browning food. The heating element can move up and down, offering excellent control while cooking.

6. Cabinets
For a less expensive version of an old-fashioned French stove, Shepro asked his architects to design custom cabinets with drawers clad in cobalt blue enameled steel and edged in stainless steel underneath the induction cooktop. Guérard has a similar framework for the induction cooktops at his restaurant.

7. Combi Oven
Shepro bought a Gaggenau combi oven—named for its combination of steam and convection heat—after seeing one on a kitchen tour of the now-shuttered Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York City. The Gaggenau model has five different humidity settings and automatically drains and refills the water supply ($4,400).

Sources

Top Technology

Thermal Circulator

Thermal Circulator
Shepro tracked down the same PolyScience thermal circulator that Chicago chef Grant Achatz uses at Alinea. “I use it to cook short ribs in a vacuum-packed bag on low heat for 72 hours,” Shepro says ($925; 800-229-7569 or cuisinetechnology.com).

Published March 2008
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