An Inside Look at This Test Cook's Home Kitchen

No home cook's kitchen is the same. See how Test Cook Alli Berkey has conveniently designed hers for happy cooking.

Published Nov. 30, 2018.

A cook’s kitchen is as much about the equipment as it is about the food. That's why when I had the opportunity a few months ago to renovate my kitchen (a wasted space at the time), I knew I had to organize it in a way where my kitchen tools would have a chance to shine, just as my food does. After all, without their help, I wouldn't be able to create beautiful dinners for my family.

So with little-to-no budget and a few extension cords to get the job done, I got to work and organized my dream rental kitchen. Keeping sensibility and efficiency in mind, I created a space that worked for my style of cooking. As the sole cook in my house, I wanted to both organize my favorite pieces of equipment to cook swiftly but also put them on display without crowding the room. My solution? Create stations.

1. Quick Cooking Station

Alli Berkey's KitchenAlli Berkey's Kitchen

Years of line cooking at a much-loved French bistro in Boston meant learning how to utilize my 2 square feet of cooking space. To make my cooking area useful, I opted to keep the most important tools and ingredients—such as tongs, spoons, small bowls, salt, and my favorite olive oil—close by. 

To top it off, my cutting board and knives are located within the same area. Everything I could possibly need to prepare a quick meal is easily within reach.

Below you'll find some of my favorite kitchen equipment and ingredients I keep in the quick cooking station.

Kitchen Favorite

OXO Good Grips 11" Balloon Whisk

With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk is like an extension of your hand.
Kitchen Favorite

California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“Fruity,” “fragrant,” and “fresh,” with a “complex finish,” this top-ranked olive oil is a supermarket standout.
Kitchen Favorite

Fante’s Tapered Baker’s Pin (made by J.K. Adams)

This is our former favorite pin, but it still offers superb control and maneuverability.
Kitchen Favorite

Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler

Don’t be fooled by its featherweight design and cheap price tag. This Y-shaped peeler can easily tackle every task.

2. Caffeine Corner

Alli Berkey's Kitchen

Mornings for me are all about coffee, because without it, I'd likely wear the wrong shoes to work. I feel just as strongly about my intake of coffee as I do my guests': Whether you regularly reside at my place or are just visiting, you'll find an organized coffee station right by the fridge. It has everything you need to make a good cup of joe.

Here are some of the equipment and ingredients you should keep in the caffeine corner of your kitchen.

Kitchen Favorite

Bodum Columbia French Press Coffee Maker

This thick, insulated pot is as simple to use as a traditional glass press is, but it keeps coffee hot for much longer.
Kitchen Favorite

Technivorm Moccamaster 10-Cup Coffee Maker

This automatic drip coffee maker consistently meets time and temperature guidelines.
Kitchen Favorite

Timolino Icon 16-Ounce Signature Vacuum Travel Tumbler

This sleek mug kept coffee drinkably hot for more than an hour.
Kitchen Favorite

Peet’s Coffee Café Domingo

By far the darkest roast in the lineup, this sample came across as “extremely smooth” and “bold-tasting,” with a “stronger finish” than other samples.

3. The Teaching Shelf

Alli Berkey's Kitchen

There’s no better view than a shelf full of beautifully written and well-designed cookbooks. I love off-the-cuff cooking, but when it comes to baking, the more references nearby, the better. If you go into the pantry area of my kitchen, you'll find some of my favorite cookbooks to flip through for inspiration. I encourage home cooks to keep their top cookbooks in a convenient location, with their favorite recipes bookmarked.

Check out some of the cookbooks from Cook's Country, America's Test Kitchen, and Cook's Illustrated on my shelf.


The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook

Cook along with the hit TV show! This eclectic collection offers foolproof methods for making more than 400 kitchen-tested recipes from all over America. 

The Perfect Cake

Our first-ever cake cookbook, gathers 25 years of baking expertise to help you make everything from sheet cakes, coffee cakes, and cheesecakes to modern sky-high layer cakes, easy cake pops, and ice cream cakes.

The Perfect Cookie

America’s Test Kitchen has almost 25 years of experience in the art and science of cookie baking, and now you can find all of that wisdom in one beautiful hardcover book.

4. The Shop Around the Corner

Alli Berkey's KitchenAlli Berkey's KitchenAlli Berkey's Kitchen

Simple pieces with a bit of color are what I like most when looking for serving ware. They should not only bring some added design to the food but also be functional. I love the simplicity of Dansk serving ware, and having it on display in one place keeps my creative mind working. A quick shopping spree for all your favorite pieces will help take your food to the next level.

See the serving ware we recommend you keep in your kitchen.  

Kitchen Favorite

HIC Porcelain Lasagna Baking Dish

This porcelain baking dish has large handles for secure gripping and straight sides for easy serving.
Kitchen Favorite

Le Creuset Heritage Petite Au Gratin Dish, 6 ounces

This wide, shallow dish created a generous surface area that allowed our fresh berry gratin to brown.

HIC 64 Ounce Soufflé

This dish is nearly the same height and thickness as our winning soufflé dish but comes at a more affordable price. It has a shelf-like indentation all the way around the inside rim and a slightly smaller capacity.

If you're looking for more equipment inspiration, check out the stories below from my team members.

This is a members' feature.