Ladies Who Lunch: Spend a Day at SF’s Cookhouse with Food and Design’s Savviest Tastemakers


As the online managing editor of California Home+Design, I’m used to moving fast. In the digital publishing world, days can feel more like hours. So when I learned about Cookhouse, an ingenious entertaining venue in San Francisco’s North Beach founded by Jen Wu, I took the opportunity to slow down with some of my digital peers (and good friends) to take design off-line for an afternoon.

Nancy Einhart; Crystal Gentilello, Carolyn Alburger and Jen Wu

At their roots, design and cooking are about the same thing: bringing people together. Cookhouse gives this concept a twist. Wu created an entertaining kitchen—complete with professional-grade appliances, sleek tableware, simple linens and custom, slate-topped tables—where you can cook with friends or throw the perfect intimate party.

Cookhouse solves a problem so many of us city folks have: big ideas but too small of a space to execute them in. You can bring your own ingredients and get dirty in Cookhouse’s kitchen or hire one of the many chefs in Wu’s little black book. We decided to do both.

Katie Hintz-Zambrana; Chef Caroline Fey

Katie Hintz-Zambrano; Chef Caroline Fey

Joined by Refinery29 senior editor Katie Hintz-Zambrano, Rue magazine editor in chief and founder Crystal Gentilello, PopSugar Network executive editor Nancy Einhart, Apartment Therapy contributor Theresa Gonzalez and Eater SF editor Carolyn Alburger, we spent the day with Caroline Fey, chef and owner of the City Kitchen.

Crystal Gentilello, Theresa Gonzalez, and Erin Renzas

After a short round of zesting, blending and stirring (fueled by plenty of Peju Rosé of Syrah), we sat down to a meal of arugula salad with grilled peaches, delicate risotto served with halibut and salsa verde, and an almond-mascarpone tart topped with cherries.

Carolyn Alburger and Jen Wu

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then Cookhouse is, well, all heart. It’s a creative concept, but it’s innovation for the sake of getting back to something a little simpler. And that’s what we do, too. As editors, Katie, Crystal, Nancy, Theresa, Carolyn and I are inspired by the latest rooms, freshest fashions and newest restaurants. But in order for any of it to have meaning, we have to bring that inspiration to the table and share it with everyone.

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the July|August 2012 issue of CH+D.

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