Here's How To Organize A Really Tiny Kitchen
Chef and cookbook author Angelo Comsti shows us how he organizes and cooks in his small but efficient condo kitchen
After several years in magazine publishing and a stay in Australia where he studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu, Angelo Comsti came back to the Philippines with more opportunities to further fuel his passion for gastronomy. First was a book, Homemade for the Holidays, which he co-wrote with chef and Yummy magazine columnist Aileen Anastacio, and the rest were solo books about heirloom recipes titled From Our Table To Yours and The Filipino Family Cookbook. He now consults for various food groups, chefs, and restaurants.
Even before culinary school and books, Angelo has already been drawn to the kitchen. “I’ve always been into food kasi my mom’s a caterer. I see her cooking, and then my grandmom, I see her cooking also when we go to her place. And I love food, but I never really tapped into it,” Angelo recalls. It wasn’t until he became Yummy magazine’s associate food stylist a few years back when he finally embraced his gastronomic calling. “I got to meet a lot of chefs, [and discovered] mga restaurants. Ayun, two years of working for Yummy, I really fell in love with food.”
A glimpse of Angelo’s small but efficient kitchen in his condo home shows his passion for food, and its well-edited contents reveal the inner workings of an organized chef. Cooking tools and implements are color-coded; styling and recipe books are filed in one corner, while a myriad variety of ceramic plates are stacked neatly. And once he starts whipping up a new ice cream recipe with seeming ease, the magic of this tiny but efficient kitchen is revealed. Here’s how he does it:
Create a spot for all your kitchen stuff
“It’s actually funny because it’s a small kitchen for a big guy!” exclaims the six-foot-tall Angelo. “Pero I need a lot of storage kasi I do some food styling stuff here. I shoot also, so for the cookbook, I shot everything here, so I have lots of plates, table cloth, glasses.” Angelo achieves this by assigning one wall with different “levels:” a rack for his pots and pans, a shelf for his utensils and stirrers, and a tabletop for the appliances.
DIY your kitchen catchalls
You don’t need to scour expensive kitchen specialty shops for your organizers—just DIY it. Here, Angelo recycled used food cans into cool catchalls for his utensils and stirrers. He painted them in different “color codes:” yellow for spoons, green for knives, and so forth.
Set aside a separate area for your cookbooks and dishes
Angelo dedicates a long, stainless steel kitchen prep table for his collection of styling and cookbooks, as well as part of his stock of dinnerware and chopping boards. The myriad colors, mixed in with interesting ceramics and framed prints; make this a decorative spot in the tiny kitchen. “The steel prep table is also a storage for my books, which I have accumulated throughout the years.”
Color-code your plates and drinking ware
“The plates, I organize by color and by size. All big white plates, stacked in one …sometimes pa nga kung kaya all red ones and blue ones, para it’s easy to find and clean up. Even the glasses, nandun lahat ng transparent, clear glasses, para when you’re styling, it’s easy to find something.”
Don’t forget to decorate
Your kitchen, no matter how small, doesn’t have to be totally utilitarian. An artful arrangement of fruits in a bowl, small potted plants and herbs, and dishes used as décor can make your tiny kitchen a more charming place.
Parts of this article originally appeared in “In The Kitchen With Three Homeowners” in the August 2013 issue of Real Living magazine. Follow Angelo Comsti on Instagram at @fooddudeph
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