As the in-house chef for Vitsœ—the midcentury furniture manufacturer that’s been producing Dieter Rams designs since 1959—Will Leigh is a fixture who keeps everyone at the British company happily fed, preparing daily breakfast, tea, and lunch for staff from a kitchen outfitted, naturally, in its famous 606 modular shelving. Though much of the Vitsœ team has been working remotely these past several weeks, Leigh, along with a dozen or so essential workers, continues to report to work at the headquarters and production facility in Royal Leamington Spa. Here, Leigh tells us what it’s been like to transition from years of cooking at restaurants to working for a design company, and what’s on his menu this spring and summer.
“I cook for everybody every day. I make breakfast at half-seven, we have a tea break at ten, and then we have lunch at a quarter to one. Just by the process of having me in the building, it means that everyone can all sit down together and take a quick break together. There’s no designated executive table, no workshop team table, or dispatch team table; everybody sits down and has lunch together. We have team-building everyday. It’s built into the building, into the ethos of the company, and normally—when it’s not Covid-19—we sit down at communal tables. Now, we seat four at a table that’s made for sixteen.
I’ve worked in restaurants all my life. I’ve never worked at an office, I’ve never worked in a factory, I’ve never worked anywhere else before this, so I’m quite used to having a daily family meal cooked by a chef. But it’s a nice perk to have, and thanks to the generosity of my bosses, it’s all here and laid on by them—nobody’s buying anything from me.
A lot of people who can are working from home, and we were fairly well set up for remote working. All of our planners are still working, our factories are open; we’re still making and dispatching. Right now, we have about seventeen people here on site, which, in a building the size of two football pitches, is alright—we can cope with social distancing. I’ve actually stopped the breakfasts, and tea break is again a very distant affair.
I think we’re going to be stuck with Covid-19 for quite a while, so we just need to figure out how to make this normal. That said, spring has officially sprung here. We’ve had wild garlic, we’ve had three kinds of leeks, I’ve had nettle tops, we’ve got the first of the English asparagus. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this all, we’re all missing out on fresh fish, because it’s almost impossible for fishermen to socially distance on a fishing boat, so I really am missing the spring cods and hake, things like that. But the fruit and veg side has been fantastic. The peas in my backyard garden have started to grow and are sprouting, my beans are starting to climb—this is the time when it’s really easy to fall in love with cooking, and especially vegetarian and vegan cooking. If you can just eat fresh peas, fresh asparagus, and purple sprouting broccoli, wild garlic and olive oil, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.”
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For nearly twenty years, integrative medicine specialist Dr. Gary Deng has guided patients through cancer treatment and qigong, a centuries-old workout regimen that plays an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. Tailored to each individThe Wellness Principles: Cooking for a Healthy Life (Phaidon), which features 100 of his efficient, accessible recipes. “I don’t have a lot of time, so I make it very quick,” Deng sHow do you consider eating in relation to your work with cancer patients? We see a cancer patient as a whole, rather than just a tumor. For that, we need to strengthen their body and their mind. Diet is actually one of the first questions people ask about when they’re diagnosed with cancer. My responshow you eat. Take your time to eat, and pay attention to what you’re consuming and how that impacts you. There’s a mind-bodA recent study found that a high-fiber diet helps the immune system fight cancer. It also cultivates a diverse, healthy gut microbiomeThat kind of thinking can be useful to everyone. Are there specific foods you encourage people to make part of their daiSome people think they need to go super healthy, like eating raw food exclusively, but that’s not very approachable. If
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In 1972, the new headquarters for Johnson Publishing Company debuted in the pages of Ebony magazine. Its interior was replete with the design trends of the new decade: a color palette of orange, brown, and yellEbony test kitchen, a groovy, all-electric room that was then considered one of the most modern in the United States. The kitEbony published in its monthly issues, which not only highlighted dishes that their readers should try at home, but also cele
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Evidence abounds for the accelerated aging effects of the past two pandemic-filled years. Recently, however, I caught myself identifyingTroop gummies—bright, fruity drops made from mushroom extracts—I’ll admit to craving more than the suggested one-a-day dose.
What makes a cake a cake? Is it its stately, cylindrical shape? Its spongy texture? Its sugary contents? Whatever preconYip Studio, wants to uproot them. She specializes in naturalistic, rock-shaped cakes that, on first glance, could easily be mistak
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Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician known as the father of modern medicine, affectionately called elderberry his “m
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How can one shape America’s proverbial melting pot? Mayukh Sen, a James Beard Award–winning food journalist and professoTaste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America (W.W. Norton), out next week.
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Dimly lit restaurants are no rarity in New York. But at Abigail’s Kitchen in Greenwich Village, reduced visibility isn’t exactly for ambience. Twice a week, chef-owner Abigail Hitchcock offers Dinners in the Dark, for which she blindfolds her guests before they enter the dining space, then serves them a multicourse, seasonal menu
New York’s Hudson Valley has a brewing heritage that dates back to its first Dutch settlers, who made use of the abundan
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Clunky and often noisesome, coffee grinders typically fall into the category of countertop appliances that most of us stKey, a new streamlined version by Weber Workshops—a maker of well-crafted kitchen tools that was founded by Douglas Weber,
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Anyone whose eyes are bigger than their stomach will get a thrill out of the visually beguiling vittles on Instagram acc@chinese_plating, run by Dieter Mackenbach, a Los Angeles–based researcher and educator. Most of the throwback images he posts of plated
Japan is home to only a handful of soy sauce sommeliers—certified inspectors who regularly visit breweries and report on
“We’re not going for authentic Mexican tacos,” says Tamy Rofe, the Mexico-born sommelier who runs Disco Tacos in Brooklyn with her husband, chef Felipe Donnelly, and their partner, Mac Osborne. “We’re going for craveability and d
There’s plenty to love about a hard-wearing cast iron skillet (we’re particularly obsessed with this set by Nobuho Miya for Kamasada, available from Nalata Nalata). But they’re not exactly featherweight—a 1.9 quart version typically weighs in at almostVermicular is shaking up the game with its comparatively weightless frying pan (2.4 pounds, thanks to ultra-thin iron casting at 2
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American ranches have increasingly been raising Wagyu, a full-flavored beef swirled with thin veins of fat that’s celebrKnights Valley Wagyu, a company co-founded by real estate developers Adam Gordon and Will Densberger, raising exemplary cattle goes hand in director’s council at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he was immersed in the principles of deep ecology:
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“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream,” the adage goes, “and that’s pretty much the same thing.” Like watc
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For three years, Tokyo-based British journalist Nicholas Coldicott visited approximately four bars a night, conducting rTokyo Cocktails (Cider Mill Press), a collection of more than 100 drink recipes enhanced with stories about the city’s individual cockta
A restored 19th-century brick factory in Berlin’s Mitte district houses Sofi, a craft bakery created by the hospitality company Slow in collaboration with Danish chef and restaurateur Frederik Bil
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We’re typically told not to mess with family recipes—but for Paul Eng, an artist and the third-generation owner of a stoleung fan), rice cakes (bak tong gou), and other traditional fare. When Eng’s parents closed the space, in 2017, it was the oldest family-owned tofu shop in
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One year on, the Covid-19 pandemic has stress-tested the vulnerabilities of our national safety net, with small business
Puurs, Belgium, isn’t exactly known as an oenophile mecca—yet. That may change now that Valke Vleug, a year-old boutique winery created by former real estate developer Jan Van Lancker and Belgian architect Vincent Van Dsign up for its newsletter, which will announce the wines’ launch date soon.)
The drugstore variety of toothpastes today promise all sorts of benefits for optimizing your oral hygiene: whiter teeth,
Single-use plastics are the epitome of throwaway culture, centered around convenience and profit at the expense of the eAccording to the NRDC, approximately half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced annually worldwide—nearly equivalent to the weight of t
During China’s Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 C.E.), pu-erh tea was transported along the Ancient Tea-Horse Road, an age-old trading route that once extended 1,400 miles from ChinaCamellia sinensis var. assamica in mountains of the Chinese Yunnan Province—that are roasted, rolled, and dried in the sun. They’re then fermented in osheng pu-erh ferments naturally and matures over many years like a fine wine, while the ripe and earthy shou pu-erh is incubated in a moisture-rich environment that accelerates the aging process, which concludes within a few months. Typ
Jon Gray, along with chefs Pierre Serrao and Lester Walker, form the Bronx-based culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, whose work celebrates their native borough while seeking to elevate its stature within global culture through immersivEp. 2 of our Time Sensitive podcast, recorded in early 2019.) Through imaginative storytelling, experiential activations, and product development for clien
Even if you’re not a sommelier or a wino, there are enough champagne memes these days for you to know that the bubbly faD.M. Brut, a sparkling wine that’s made in the Champagne method—which is to say, fermented in the bottle itself—but with a “BraziObrigado!, making for an apt gift. Sure, Dom Maria’s sparkling wine may not be champagne proper, but we’d happily raise a glass asaúde to a round of this.
Among the sundry forms of comfort we’ve sought during the pandemic, perhaps nothing soothes faster than a piping-hot pizRoccbox can cook a perfectly-crispy-crust Neapolitan pie in just 60 seconds, with its up-to-950-degree oven and cordierite stonRoccbox Wood Burner 2.0, a detachable device that adds oomph to its signature oven, with its ability to reach top temperatures even faster, andOoni Pro, which can be heated with charcoal, wood, or gas, and Camp Chef’s double-walled Italia Artisan Pizza Oven, built to mimic the performance of the wood-fired brick variety (it can also be used to bake bread or roast meats). How
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In 1989, friends Deborah Fleig and Linda Tetrault started running the store at Ten Thousand Waves, a spa-centric sanctuaFloating World Artisan Sake Imports to bring Japan’s finest brews stateside. Their knowledge shines through the company’s wide-ranging website catalogue, Akishika Okarakuchi variety, made by just five people at a tiny, 134-year-old establishment nestled in the mountains between Kyoto and OsakMukai, a label run by one of the few female tōji (master brewers) working in the industry today. Libations for more adventurous palettes include Kaze no Mori (“Wind of the Woods”), a floral, fruity, unfiltered sake with a cult following, and a dry, earthy sake from Mutemuka, a brewery in Kochi Prefecture, that’s aged for six months and has a distinctively nutty aftertaste that smacks of cacalist of distributors before holing up for the holidays.
Since opening his first restaurant, Bills, in Sydney in 1993, few people have done more for the global understanding of Bill Granger, commonly (though, he’ll politely say, not necessarily correctly) known as the man who gave the world avocado toast. NoAustralian Food (Murdoch Books), a delicious collection of wholesome recipes including one-bowl meals, chopped salads, and fish dishes. We recently spok Over the last twenty years, you’ve authored ten books—none of which squarely tackle the topic of Australian food. What
As the holidays roll around, gelatin desserts—a festive Thanksgiving staple, cast in extravagant shapes and fantastical Nünchi. Shapes such as five-petaled flowers recur in Park’s delicate, decidedly cute confections, which riff on the Sanrio characters and Morning Glory stationery that filled her childhood. Most of her work falls within a pastel colorway—happy colors, if you will—but she’ll branch
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The award-winning African-American Jewish author and culinary historian Michael W. Twitty got his start in food writing Afroculinaria, as an outlet to document and celebrate the rich cultural histories of African-American fare and the vital role they haThe Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South—not to mention his open letter to Paula Deen, in 2013, that went viral, even as it was left unanswered by the disgraced Food Network host. Reflecting upon his own bsaid in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s also simply survival—through the mental fortitude of humor, the mental fortitude of memory, and the mental forti@thecookinggene) to keep abreast of what he’s cooking up next: a new non-profit called the Muloma Heritage Center, located on South Carolina’s historic St. Helena Island. Dedicated to educating visitors on African Atlantic culture, c
The human gut microbiome contains up to one thousand species of bacteria that, among many functions, produce neurotransm
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Aishwarya Iyer never thought she would found an olive oil company. At least her background in start-ups and venture capi So Iyer decided to make her own, and launched Brightland in 2018. Using olives from a family-run farm on California’s central coast, the Los Angeles–based company makes extra-v
Sichuan cuisine, named for the subtropical province of China where it originates from, is characterized by a diversity omálà (a portmanteau meaning “numbing and spicy”), is marked by deep and pungent, peppery notes that you not only taste but fethe U.S. considered Sichuan peppercorns to be contraband; nowadays, you can find the little pink orbs in trendy cocktails that play on its citrus and camphor-like aromas. As thThe Mala Market, an online purveyor that stocks top-grade ingredients directly from Sichuan province. Here, in one fell swoop, you can blog of recipes to kick-start your culinary adventures.
Chefs and restaurant owners everywhere have had to rethink their business models this year, as social distancing and new
Several months into the pandemic, the restaurant industry remains among the hardest hit in the U.S., with scant evidenceparticularly those run by BIPOC entrepreneurs, who have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus-related losses—their fates lie directly in continuing sales. Eat Okra app, founded by New York couple Anthony and Janique Edwards in 2016, which gives a boost of visibility to Black-owned b
The 20th-century futurist, theorist, inventor, and architect R. Buckminster Fuller was a tireless visionary and radical thinker who wrote dozens of books and proposed theoretical designs advocating for Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining, a collection of recipes and anecdotes originally compiled by Fuller’s friends as a surprise gift for his 86th birthday
Tamy Rofe, a sommelier who owns Brooklyn’s farm-to-table-y Latin American restaurant Colonia Verde with her husband, Felipe Donnelly, operates by a matra borrowed from her mother: “La comida compartida sabe mejor.” In English, it means, “Food tastes better when shared.” From the eatery’s lived-in aesthetic to its signature Sunday general store,” selling and even delivering nearly every ingredient on its menu alongside prepared meals and grill boxes—a way for Co
Lexie Smith is an artist and baker, though it’s only relatively recently, after years of working in restaurant kitchens and balanciBread on Earth. Her work often takes on various forms, from performance and installation to photography, writing, and publishing, all
After years in various kitchens, working his way up from dishwasher to cook, and ultimately chef de partie at Eleven Madison Park, Matt Jozwiak left the fine-dining world behind in 2017 to start Rethink Food NYC, a nonprofit organization that partners with restaurants and grocery stores to reduce excess food and make nutritious, Ghetto Gastro and Jozwiak’s former boss, chef Daniel Humm—as collaborators in its mission to fight food insecurity and foster a more
Extolled by New York City’s finest restaurants, from Daniel to Eleven Madison Park and abcV, as well as a growing coteriDavocadoguy, is seemingly everyone’s go-to guy for the best avocados. He keeps his supply consistently stocked and perfectly ripene