“One thing that makes the Kitchn unique,” says Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director of the online cooking site, “is that all of our recipe developers [create] and test recipes in their home kitchens. And they’re scattered throughout the country. So it gives us a unique view on what’s available in different parts of the country. We’re not going to develop a recipe that requires any sort of fancy equipment, or that dirties a ton of dishes, because we’re the ones cleaning up after ourselves.”
Part of a family of websites founded 15 years ago, the Kitchn started life “as a scrappier, more blog-type website, with all the editors shooting their own photos and writing the recipes,” says Elkus. It has evolved in the years since into a much more professionally slick operation.
“All of our recipes are tested by multiple editors,” says Elkus. “They go through many rounds of edits. We feel very confident they’ll work for you.” She notes that, in light of recent events, the editors are mindful of providing “as many substitutions as we can in all of our recipes…[since] we’re often cooking with what we have” on hand.
The free cooking school component to The Kitchn was revamped last fall, bolstered with the addition of video. “We felt like that was really crucial in actually helping people to learn skills, like how to tell when your oil is hot in the pan, or how to hold a knife — things you really need to see in order to learn and can be a little trickier just to read about. A lot of these things really can transform the way you cook once you start doing it right.”
Inspired by a real-life, in-person culinary school, the full course runs 20 days, with each video focused on a specific topic. “We start with basic knife skills, move on to working with vegetables, cracking and separating eggs, beans and grains, and work our way up to meat and poultry.”
Elkus, who recently became a pescetarian, writes the site’s “Tonight We Veg” column, which is focused on sharing recipes for vegetarian entrees that “are complete meals in and of themselves.” Asked for a particular highlight, she points to Parmesan-Herb Dutch Baby with Garlic-Butter Mushrooms, a staff favorite.
“It sounds fancy,” she says, “but it’s so easy. You feel so proud when you pull this puffed-up, savory pancake out of the oven and then cover it in buttery mushrooms. It’s really, really easy to make and is just the best comfort food right now.”
For more information about the free Kitchn Cooking School, visit www.thekitchn.com/collection/cooking-school.
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