If you’ve ever peeked into a restaurant kitchen, you’ll notice a choreographed chaos. Chefs work as a team to move as efficiently as possible- using tricks they’ve acquired from years of practice.
Today we’re talking to celebrity chef, Stuart O’Keeffe, to find out if choices in our kitchen layout and a few recommended tools can create a restaurant-worthy flow in our home kitchens.
Stuart O’Keeffe is an accomplished celebrity and professional chef known for his healthy yet hearty meals. He first explored his passion for food while cooking alongside his mother in his native Ireland, then honed that passion into skill at the Dublin Institute of Technology where he earned a degree in Culinary Arts.
Chef Stuart has been trained around the world, cutting his teeth in Napa Valley and Bordeaux, France—both highly competitive culinary hot spots—before moving to Los Angeles. There, he works with some of the biggest names in Hollywood and has been seen on the NBC primetime series Food Fighters and OWN’s Home Made Simple. He has also starred in The Home Channel’s Stuart’s Kitchen, shot and produced in Ireland.
A Food Network darling, Chef Stuart has served as a judge on Chopped, starred in Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, and been featured on hit shows like Valerie’s Home Cooking. He can currently be seen co-hosting his new show Let’s Eat on the network and on QVC representing Circulon Cookware.
By the end of this class you’ll have ideas for creating restaurant-level efficiency in your home, some inside knowledge of the best tools for the job and inspiration to get cooking with your family.
How can people bring a restaurant level of efficiency to their home kitchen? Any tips on layout or flow?
- Stuart loves a kitchen where the stovetop is on the island looking out, so you can converse while you’re cooking.
- Stand in your space and imagine yourself cooking, and think about what’s in reach.
- The magic triangle’s a great place to start.
- Counter space is the biggest factor! If you have the option, get as much as possible.
What are some knives you recommend? How often do you sharpen?
- Chef loves a company called Knife Aid. You can send your knives away and have them sharpened.
- You should be doing it at least twice a year.
- Chef likes Miyabi knives.
What are a handful of kitchen essentials every home owner should have?
- Dutch oven, cast iron pan & a non-stick pan.
- Chef LOVES this Chop Stir.
- A good set of knives
Are there any new appliances on your radar?
- The Instant Pot and Air Fryer are great!
What are some of your tips for feeding a crowd/entertaining in a small space?
- Keep it simple! A charcuterie board.
- A one pot meal like chili or short ribs +mashed potato. Stews, paella, anything where everyone can just scoop out of a big pot!
What are your favorite pans?
- Cast iron
- Circulon Cookware
What are some professional chef hacks everyone should know?
- Salt meat before putting in the pan, and pepper after.
- Always have a damp cloth under the cutting board so it doesn’t slip.
- To keep your workspace clean- use the light system. If it’s dirty stop, asses/slow down/clean up and GO! Repeat that cycle.
- If you’re cutting vegetables to roast, have your roasting pans heating in the oven while you chop and then add them to the warm pan instead of a cold one.
How can we get our kids excited about being in the kitchen?
- Let them chop vegetables or hold the whisk! Find the safe tasks and let them help!
Your first cookbook is called The Quick Six Fix, which focuses on simple recipes with great ingredients. What are some items everyone should have in their pantry/kitchen at all times?
- Build a spice collection.
- San Marzano canned tomatoes
- Right Rice
- Tomato sauce
- Frozen shrimp
- Go through all the cabinets in your kitchen and start organizing/make space.
- Start building your kitchen! Get good items and build slowly. It will spark your joy for cooking.
- Find a recipe, go shopping and then cook it!
Find Chef Stuart:
Book: The Quick Six Fix