In the Quality Time series, we’ll be featuring Q&As with our accomplished chef partners and other notable food industry figures. From kitchen life to family dynamics to embarrassing moments, anything is on the table.
Due to her wide array of popular active concepts, Top Chef Season 14 Champion Brooke Williamson is an extremely busy chef. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend some quality time with her in her custom-designed kitchen, where we asked questions about said kitchen, her son, our cookware, and more.
1. Okay, this question is intentionally vague — what does food mean to you?
"Food, to my extended family, became this source of community where you would sit together and be with each other and it was something that felt very comforting to me. It was almost less about what we were eating and what it tasted like then it was all just being together."
2. Speaking of eating together, your kitchen is beautiful and a perfect place for gatherings. But it wasn’t like that when you bought your house, right?
“Not at all. I was able to have the wonderful privilege of designing my dream kitchen."
3. What were some design aspects you made sure to include in your dream kitchen?
"I wanted to see what is going on in the rest of the house and what my son is doing when I’m working (and not just face a wall), so I really wanted an island. I really wanted some natural light. I wanted a pop of color; I feel like a colorful person, and having some color and fun in my kitchen was necessary to me. Being a creative person, I feel like the aesthetics of my kitchen were really important to me from a creative standpoint. I love the fact that my dining table is in my kitchen because I always feel like that’s where people want to hang out. I can cook and my son can do his homework at the dining room table; the entire house focuses around the kitchen. I wanted a few hidden cabinets, but otherwise I wanted to be able to showcase my mom’s ceramics, my cookbooks, etc. I didn’t want a bunch of closed cabinets; I wanted to be able to display the things I love."
4. What is it about your cookbooks that made you want to feature them so prominently?
“I look at cookbooks daily for inspiration. I love the pictures in cookbooks and I love what cookbooks represent. They are little pieces of people's heads and creative spaces, and that being a focal point in my kitchen was really important to me.”
5. You also mentioned your mother’s ceramics — what’s the story there?
“My parents are both creative people. My dad’s a photographer and my house is filled with photographs that he took. My mom, her whole life, has made ceramics. She has a studio and continues to make ceramics, and every birthday or holiday she gifts me a piece. They’re pieces of artwork that have taken her a lot of time and energy to make, and the last thing I would want to do is hide that stuff in the cabinet. So I love the fact that I can showcase those on cabinets, whether it be a carafe for sake or a platter or a bowl. My son’s favorite snack is cucumbers with soy sauce, and the fact that he uses a little soy sauce bowl that my mom made for him almost on a daily basis is really heartwarming to me.”
6. About your son — how do you think having a mother who’s a chef has impacted his tastes?
“I think that gardening has really instilled this sense of quality into my son’s head. Now when he tastes a cucumber that’s two weeks old, he’s not happy with it. I’m not happy with it either — who wants to eat a two week old cucumber when you can eat one fresh off the vine?”
7. Now onto the Made In side of things: You told us you love how thick the metal in our stainless clad cookware is. Can you elaborate on this?
“When you’re putting multiple pieces of chicken into a pan and the pan is able to retain that heat, you’re able to create that caramelization that you’re looking for. But if that stainless is too thin, then that heat will disappear and you’ll end up simmering what you’re cooking, which is not what you’re looking for. Made In’s stainless steel gives me a level of confidence when I’m putting an ingredient in a pan.”
8. And lastly, why were you excited to partner with Made In?
“I think that Made In has really found this sweet spot in the affordable but quality cookware category.”