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Home > DINING WITH CHEFS > New York Dining with Chefs > Saveur Test Kitchen (Part 1 of 3)

Saveur Test Kitchen

Test Kitchen Director Hunter Lewis

TravelsinTaste.com recently had the opportunity of touring the New York test kitchen at Saveur magazine with Kitchen Director Hunter Lewis, who let us watch a recipe testing from start to finish, and even taste the finished product. During our kitchen visit, we spoke with Hunter about the challenges of testing recipes for Saveur. Although we can tell you the recipe we helped test was a Kale Salad, and that the issue is about Los Angeles, you'll have to wait for the March 2010 issue to test and taste it yourself!

Before we got to testing, Lewis took us for a tour of Saveur's facility, which includes the kitchen and an adjacent multipurpose room that's used for parties, meetings, family meals and photo shoots. It's also where the magazine's library begins. "You can see all the props here," Lewis told us as he took us behind the scenes. "This is the key to producing the photos of the food -- not all of them, a lot of which are shot onsite in the field -- but when we want to cook and shoot something here, it's done here in natural light and this room becomes, in essence, a studio. It’s a great space and we've got good light, which is the most important thing. We want it to look as natural as possible on the page, and this allows us to cook right in there [he points to the kitchen], where our executive food editor, Todd Coleman, will prop it and style it to how he thinks it should be. It’s a pretty organic process."

Next to all the natural light, what we noticed most was that everyone was having such a great time. We therefore asked Lewis about the atmosphere in the test kitchen. "For me, it’s the best of both worlds," he answered. "We're cooking every day -- that, to me, is the most important thing -- and then there's the great opportunity of writing, as well, so it’s a great combination of things. We have this great crew of interns who also make it happen. It’s a very small staff, but people are extremely passionate about what they're doing. They're very proud of the magazine and the work we're putting out. I know it sounds kind of hokey, but everything we're doing is for the name of the magazine and for our readers. There's a lot of pride in what we're putting out. It can be crazy hectic at times, but it's more than worth it. And it's also fun. There are not many gigs like this in the city."

When we asked about a typical day, Lewis told us, "Mondays are big shopping days. Tuesday through Thursday are big testing days. Friday is for kind of cleaning up the mess administratively, and a little bit in the kitchen. Within all that are the photo shoots and everything else; there's really no typical day."

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