Actor and would-be chef Ronen Rubinstein always wanted the time and motivation to learn new recipes and cook a full-course meal. Now, as he practices social distancing in his 1,000-square-foot East L.A. home, the kitchen has become his kingdom and cooking his means to “stay positive and mentally sane through it all.”
With extended time in the quaint, pastel-blue kitchen, he’s gained both an appreciation for the intricate “process” of cooking and an opportunity to master his newest venture — veganism.
“Now I’m able to do that and slowly learn about ingredients, measurements and what goes with what. This is the most I’ve ever cooked and I’m really appreciating taking my time, being patient, getting out of my comfort zone and enjoying the whole ritual of it,” said Rubinstein, 26, who stars in Fox’s new drama “9-1-1: Lone Star” alongside Rob Lowe (Rubinstein plays Lowe’s son) and Liv Tyler. With Season 1 complete, Fox announced Monday that the series and its ensemble were getting a Season 2 pickup.
So, what does a freshly converted vegan with endless time and an aptitude for a challenge dare to make?
“Lately I’ve been cooking the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life,” said Rubinstein, who’s even conjuring his own homemade sauce and has a new “weird appreciation for tomatoes.”
Sometimes, though, even a health-conscious vegan succumbs to the quarantine sweet tooth. For that he turns to “Incredible Plant Based Desserts” by Anthea Cheng, calling her cookbook “a fun rabbit hole to go down.”
Delicacies and new diets aside, Israeli-born, New York-raised Rubinstein keeps himself grounded with a generous serving of perspective.
“Now more than ever, I’m grateful to have this beautiful kitchen and food in the fridge because not everyone has that right now,” he said. “It’s all been a really humbling experience.”
Why is your kitchen your favorite room?
When I moved into the house, the kitchen was sort of the one place that was completely finished and renovated. I didn’t do much to it at all; I fell completely in love with it. We’re all pretty much stuck at home so, if anything, we appreciate our favorite rooms even more now.
Besides cooking, is your kitchen area used for anything else?
Firefighter Legos and puzzles on the dining table have been a main attraction lately. It’s the big table of the house, so I’ll do my script reading here, chat with friends and drink coffee. I have a bunch of coloring books I’ll set up and my record player is right by the table, so sometimes it’s nice to just sit and listen to records.
As an outspoken environmentalist, how do you keep your kitchen green?
I have a really high-tech Molekule purifier that I keep in the dining room. It’s extremely important to me, because now more than ever the air we breathe is so important. Plants have to be everywhere, so I have a lot of plants in the kitchen. A living, breathing element to the room, they add color and clean the air. I’m a bit of a water snob, so the water is super-monitored and PH-level regulated. Food, if possible, I make sure is organic and fresh.
What’s your favorite time of day in your kitchen?
I’m very big into lighting and there’s this beautiful light that comes into the kitchen around 9 or 9:30 a.m. and just starts rising in the trees in the far distance outside of the window. The light starts trickling in through the kitchen window and skylight and it’s this really crazy golden color that only lasts for about 20 minutes. It’s one of my favorite times to make a coffee and take in the morning.
What photos and memories do you have on your fridge?
I got a lot of James Dean photos on the fridge — he’s my favorite. I have a photo that my mom sent me [from] when I was 7 years old standing next to my shrine of Kobe Bryant stuff, like posters and action figures. She sent that after he passed away, because that really messed me up. Polaroids of my dogs — my oldest is a 2-year-old pit bull, the other one is almost 2 and is a boxer-pit bull mix. I’m obsessed with pit bulls and are huge advocates for them. I rescued them literally from the streets.
Do you have a favorite memory in here?
It was May 2018 when I moved into the house. I found a really beautiful recipe and cooked my very first three-course candlelit meal for a very special person in my life. It was the first night in the house and boxes were everywhere and chaotic but luckily the kitchen was ready with a table. It was a wonderful way to kick-start moving into a new house. I think that’s probably one of the reasons I have such a deep connection with the kitchen. I remember that like it was yesterday.