Inside the Test Kitchen
When people discover I work for Cooking Light as a Recipe Tester and Developer (unofficially known as a TKer or a culinary elf), an assortment of questions are always sure to follow. The questioner is always really interested in the details of the work, and I don’t mind sharing because it's a really cool job in a great place. So to quench the appetites of inquisitive minds, I wanted to give a little inside look into what our kitchens and tasting area looks like. We don't have test tubes, bunsen burners or liquid nitrogen (though liquid nitrogen would be cool), but we do have measuring cups, Wolf gas range tops, and propane torches.
In our test kitchen, we have 4 areas that look just like this. Each area has 2 kitchens, each with their own refrigerator, 4-burner range, double convection ovens, pans, dishwasher, tools, and measuring cups. We work day-to-day with all of the same tools a home kitchen would have, and we hesitate to use any tools a home kitchen wouldn't have. The kitchens are all shared by TKers, food stylists, and interns. We have a nice big pantry with sub-zero freezers, lots of cookware, and extra ingredients that we all share.
This is our tasting table full of eager co-workers and tasting buds (get it, taste buds). On any given day we have editors, culinary elves, visitors, and those willing to lend an opinion gathered around. Completed dishes are set out buffet style, and single portions are placed on the table. Most recipes take multiple tests to get it ready for readers. Unfortunately, not all recipes are delicious on the first test. This picture was taken on a Friday, which is usually a light tasting day. We have supplemented by sampling some wine.