Our home’s cooking style has several major sources of inspiration and guidance. Two are books: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman and The Professional Chief by the Culinary Institute of America. These books were the first serious introductions we had to cooking. We also find a wealth of inspiration from J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats with special appreciation for his devotion to experimentation and crisp documentation. My favorite cookbook is Kachka by Bonnie Frumkin Morales
The kitchen probably has some of the most dangerous elements of the home: flame and high heats, knives and sharp tools, sources of harmful bacterial or toxin exposure, steam and hot liquids. I have burned myself and cut myself in my own kitchen and, along with a group of friends from medical school, been the sad victim of food poisoning from a restaurant. My number one goal in a kitchen is safety. We have an expectation in our kitchen that there should NEVER be any injuries. This is an ongoing process that has produced some robust systems that keep us safe, but our safety protocols are constantly being revised and expanded.
While there are certainly variables that are difficult to replicate in a home–like the wild yeast that ferment Lambics–many foods can be done well or excellently at home. Despite what people claim.
One of my biggest frustrations early on in cooking was failure of replication. Sometimes I was to blame for poor execution, but I soon realized that many recipes had serious errors.
Some of my favorite tools to create great food are so simple and affordable, but I only rarely see them in other home kitchens: a kitchen scale, a food thermometer, and well-kept recipe documentation.