Koch's cooking, like his kitchen, is practical and unpretentious. Having long ago decided to cook mostly for himself (his dinner parties are catered by Mitchel London, formerly the chef at Gracie Mansion), he has the freedom to stick entirely to the foods that he loves to make. He began cooking on his own in 1956, when he first moved to the Village after completing law school at New York University, and though he grew up eating Jewish standbys like brisket and kishka, he has never tried to replicate his mother's dishes. "She was a terrible cook," he says matter-of-factly. He favors simple preparations and, over the years, has developed a repertoire of basic entrees—he eschews side dishes—that he can prepare quickly under the broiler: lamb chops, rib steaks with garlic, and salmon or swordfish seasoned with just salt and pepper. "If you're a bachelor, which I am, you have to learn on your own," he says. "I just do it naturally."