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Kitchen of the Week: Tartine’s Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson at Home in San Francisco

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Kitchen of the Week: Tartine’s Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson at Home in San Francisco

April 19, 2018

When Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, co-owners of the Tartine empire in San Francisco, moved into their circa 1960 Castro district home back in 2015, they were the first occupants after a gut remodel—so they neither got to choose what filled out their new kitchen nor know who designed it.

Regardless, they put it to work fast and furiously, as two star chefs would. It was in this kitchen that the duo developed the concept and menus for Tartine Manufactory, a full restaurant with bakery, bar, and ice cream shop that’s attached to Heath Ceramics’ factory and store in San Francisco’s Outer Mission. (See 7 Ideas to Steal from the Manufactory in SF by Commune Design for more.) And it was here that Prueitt developed recipes, wrote, and had the food photographed for her latest cookbook, Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook.

Along with their daughter and two cats, the pair moved out of the house earlier this year, and aren’t yet certain what their next home kitchen has in store. But while in limbo, Prueitt shared with us her reflections on what made her Castro kitchen great, and what she’d do differently next time.

Photography by and courtesy of Patricia Chang.

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Above: The house had been remodeled just before Prueitt and Robertson moved in, so they don’t know the designer or many of the materials. But the flooring is solid walnut and the countertops are a mix of solid surface and stainless steel.

Prueitt’s favorite part of the kitchen was the island. “Perhaps it’s having worked in restaurants where we have a ‘pass’ to land the food before it goes out,” she said, but the island has become a home kitchen mainstay for the star chef: “Even if I have a small kitchen in the future, I’ll make sure there’s an island.”

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Above: Prueitt at the gas range. Two open shelves, one in wood and one in stainless steel, hold vessels both functional and decorative. On the top shelf: a copper jam pot from Sur La Table on the far left, and, on the far right, a French ceramic and copper double boiler from Cookin’ in San Francisco (a legendary source for vintage cookware).
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Above: Prueitt’s other favorite vessels include a hammered copper vase from Mexico, Mexican stove-top bean pots, and a glazed ceramic kugelhopf mold from Alsace on the top row. On the lower row sits a Simplex Buckingham English Tea Kettle, ceramics from the former Noma Japan, and Prueitt’s favorite mugs by ceramist Patricia Yenawine, from Gravel & Gold in San Francisco.
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Above: Prueitt was pleased with the kitchen’s appliances, adding only a countertop toaster oven of her own. She’d never before had a warming drawer (pictured here, below the oven) or a wine cooler (installed opposite, inside the island). “I used the cooler all the time, but the plate warmer served the same function as most East Coasters’ broilers: storage,” she said. “Although I did engage it for its intended use on Thanksgiving, and I have to say—it’s nice to have a warm plate!”
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Above: On the five-burner gas range: a pair of well-seasoned cast-iron pans, a red Dutch oven from Le Creuset, and an All-Clad LTD Saucepan.
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Above: The kitchen island has a stainless steel countertop, which Prueitt would swap for marble next time: “I like to be able to use a counter to chop right on, and see the patina that happens over years of use,” she said. “That’s the most beautiful to me—when you see real wear.”

The kitchen opens to the dining room, which opens, via sliding glass doors, onto a concrete patio with an outdoor dining set and grill.

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Above: The island had a built-in hot water tap, which Prueitt learned to appreciate: “I always thought of that as a ‘luxury’ kitchen gadget,” she said. “I love a beautiful tea kettle—but there are applications [for a hot water tap] far beyond beverage-making, and when I was writing my cookbook I found I used it a lot.”
Another perk of a kitchen island, says Prueitt, is that it’s ideal when hosting guests—either as the buffet station, or “to place predinner snacks so people can snack and talk to the cook.”

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Above: Tools at the ready: A dozen knives are perched on a magnetic knife rack that rests on top of the toaster oven.
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Above: In their verdant backyard, which also served as a playground for the family’s two cats, Prueitt grew citrus fruits, a few vegetables, and herbs; she misses it dearly since the move.
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Above: Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson at their latest establishment, Tartine Manufactory. Photograph by Eric Wolfinger.

Embarking on a kitchen remodel? Start with our Remodeling 101: Kitchen guides to Countertops, Refrigerators, and Storage & Organization. For more inspiration for the culinarily inclined, see:

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