A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

Our kitchen is the heart of our office. Take a look behind the scenes

By Farideh Sadeghin

Published on June 15, 2015

It's nearly 12:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and the editors are starting to trickle into the test kitchen. We're baking cookies for a web story, and the smell has obviously made its way around the office. We've also been grilling chicken, sautéing onions and garlic, and preparing a barley, feta, and mixed vegetable salad. For those of us in the kitchen, these are our tests for the day, but to the rest of the office, everything is a potential meal or snack. Sometimes the recipes we're turning out are all for the same story; sometimes each is for something different. Either way, we're constantly turning out some pretty tasty and beautiful creations (if we do say so ourselves). Editors are constantly popping in throughout the day to check out what we're up to and if anything is up for grabs.

We start our day at various places around the city, gathering ingredients for the day's tests. By the time the rest of the staff arrive at 10, we have already been down to Chinatown, over to Whole Foods Market, and popped into HMart on our way to the office in Manhattan's Koreatown. We test an average of around 15-20 recipes each day, about 40-50 of which will be featured in print, and dozens more each week going up on the website for different stories. Every recipe that SAVEUR features has been through this kitchen, scrutinized by me, Ben, Adam, and the other editors.

We're quite lucky at SAVEUR: back in November, our entire kitchen was renovated by SubZero and Wolf. We got 2 huge, beautiful refrigerators, 2 induction stovetops, wine fridges, and 2 double ovens. One of the first things everyone says upon entering the kitchen is remarking on how cozy it all feels. It really is like a home kitchen; all the products we use are items our readers would have in their homes. And just like any home, the kitchen is the heart of the SAVEUR office. Before I was hired, I interned with the digital team, and it was probably the hardest 3 months of my life—not because of the workload, but because of the smells coming out of the kitchen that invaded my cubicle, making concentrating on work practically impossible. Now, my desk is nestled in the corner of the test kitchen, right in the midst of recipes getting tested, cocktails being shaken and poured, and guest chefs coming in to demo their latest recipe. I've got to say, I have the best seat in the house.

Check out my favorite things about our kitchen below:

Our pantry is probably my favorite part of the kitchen: It's like a yearbook of recipes that we have tested. I think people are always fascinated by what they find in there. Yes, we have plenty of Hellman's mayonnaise, a plethora of oils and vinegars, and spices from all around the world. The India issue really brought in some new and fun ingredients into our stockpile; we're still going through lentils for staff meals from that issue.
People are often surprised to see the extent of our spirit collection, and that we even test cocktails at all. We have the privilege of testing and tasting every recipe that goes into the magazine or on the website—cocktails included. So there are days when, yes, we are sipping on cocktails at 11am.
I have always wanted my saucepans to be hung like this in my own kitchen. We are packed full of all sorts of equipment here, so it’s great that we can save space by hanging our skillets, while also saving them from being stacked and scratched.
What chef does not obsess over their knives? We have a lovely collection of Wusthof and Shun knives that we're constantly using to slice and dice. Keeping them magnetized on the wall is, again, perfect for saving space, but also more hygienic than a knife block.
This little corner is a lovely mess of utensils. Whisks, spatulas, and wooden spoons are organized in our Le Creuset utensil jars, and we’ve got little jars for tasting spoons and family meals.
The thing I love about our induction is the speed at which it heats things up. We will often be testing anywhere from 10–15 recipes a day, so being able to heat up a skillet quickly or boil water in less than 5 minutes helps us stay on schedule for testing and tastings.
We have 4 ovens! It's great, especially when we are catering large functions, or cooking 25 different types of cookies for our advent cookie calendar each fall. They’re great because there are no hot or cold spots, so whatever we are baking or roasting comes out cooked evenly.
Our kitchen and our testing is built around the home cook and what our readers are cooking with. We love our Kitchenaid mixers, and I’m fairly certain that we have the largest collection of Le Creuset in America. Le Creuset has amazing products that suit most of our needs. I am obsessed with the 6-qt. Dutch oven. If I could, I would cook everything in it.
One of the first things we do when testing recipes is set up our stations. Recipe testing is super precise, and we have to make sure we have all our tools ready to go when we start. We always have measuring cups and spoons, a digital scale, tasting spoons, a whisk and spatula, and a timer. We time everything! It's all about precision. I also love the Boos cutting boards. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are fairly large, so we can put a lot of our mise en place right there on our station and still be chopping away.
We have 2 refrigerators, and it is a constant struggle to keep them clean and organized. We love these fridges though! A stainless steel refrigerator-freezer is a great high-tech concession in a low-tech scheme. Sub-Zero uses technology from NASA to keep the air in them purified, so we don’t have to worry too much about mold, bacteria, and viruses on our food. You can often find Jake Cohen, our kitchen assistant, hiding in the corner eating ice cream. Sub-Zero side-by-side fridge, from $8,170 at Sub-Zero
I sit in a corner of the test kitchen, so I’m able to send an email and then pop back up to test a recipe. The kitchen is the heart of the office, and people are always popping their heads in to see what we’re cooking. I worked with the digital team once upon a time, and I can tell you from experience, working out there and smelling everything all day is torture! It's definitely the best desk in the office.
Left to right: Food Editor Ben Mims, Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin, Test Kitchen Assistant Jake Cohen

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