Bon Appétit magazine announced this week the opening of “BA Kitchen” in New York City. The space is “a modern cooking and entertaining space,” according to a press release, located across from the Frank Gehry café in the Conde Naste building (now that's a good looking corporate cafeteria). More on Gehry, who lives in Santa Monica, in a moment.
As for the BA Kitchen, this is not, as we had hoped, a second Bon Appétit test kitchen opening to meet a sudden resurgence in recipe testing demand. Nor was it designed by Gehry. Alas, millions of hungry Google cassoulet searchers will continue to click on untested, and often unsuccessful, recipes in the great Internet abyss. No wonder Americans' satisfaction with life (cassoulet?) in general remains so low.
No, the BA Kitchen is a hip new event space with a food theme. Thus, the debut was marked by the likes of celebrity actors and well-known chefs who consulted on the design (Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson), with the requisite music industry celebrity thrown in for good partying measure (the fried chicken circulating opening night was a recipe from Questlove of The Roots, who also served as the party's DJ). Words like “modern” and “contemporary abstract” abound in the descriptions of the new kitchen/entertaining space.
Which gets us back to Gehry and the residence he designed in the 1970s, which we think still qualifies as modern, contemporary, abstract and Questlove party worthy. And, now that we take a closer look, it's a space that would make a really fantastic professional test kitchen — a landmark tribute to the master architect where where architecture, community development, historic preservation and sure, a successful recipe, happily coexist. Right. Humor us for a moment.
Perhaps it could even be a nonprofit, community-driven kitchen where anyone sharing a recipe online could test their wares before sending them out into the permanent Google search abyss. Before those soggy bread recipes land on our dinner table. A place where a professional kitchen is still run like a chemistry lab, where those little tweaks really matter — and that “modern cooking and entertaining space” goes back to actually being our home kitchens. Gehry, if you're listening, we'd be more than happy to help get things going.
More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com