All actor Barry Watson can think about after filming out of town is getting back to his kitchen and whipping up a quail-egg grilled cheese sandwich for his daughter or what his wife calls the best lamb chops in the world.
"Cooking is my detox from working," said Watson, a "7th Heaven" alum and star of UP TV series "Date My Dad." "The kitchen is my central command, the bridge of the starship Enterprise — it's the first place I want to go."
The kitchen sits in the center of a Venice property — nearly 5,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and a playroom — originally designed by architect Marmol Radziner for his own family. Watson shares the home with his three children — Clover is 5, Felix is 9 and Oliver is 12 — and his wife, Natasha.
What's the vibe of the kitchen?
Most modern houses have kind of a cold feeling, but this house doesn't. There are concrete floors but also all-walnut countertops and a walnut ceiling that mimics a hardwood floor. There's a nice warmth to it.
The mornings are quiet. The evenings are much more lively. There's dancing — Lou Reed was on our surround sound this week, and some Beck.
Does the family all cook together, or is it mainly you?
My wife is a dessert maker, but she also makes a good chimichurri sauce.
The kids' role in the kitchen is to stay the hell out. There's a pantry where they keep all of their stuff, so there's nothing in the cooking area that they'd need to go grab. The dogs have to keep out too. I call it "the zone."
How do you keep an eye on everyone?
There's a 360-degree view. It's almost like an aquarium — all the surrounding walls are glass, so it's very typical California indoor-outdoor living. You can see the oak and sycamore trees, the fern garden.
Fern garden? Was that your doing?
I love ferns. I'm from Michigan, so I grew up with the woods full of wild ferns. When we got the house, we re-landscaped, and I just wanted some more ferns to look at.
Is your kitchen simple or cluttered?
Being that our house is a Radziner, it's very minimal. You can't see the fridge, because it's built into a cabinet, so there's nothing to put magnets on.
You call the kitchen the epicenter of the house. Why?
Everybody always ends up in the kitchen. Friends from the neighborhood, the family. I don't think we've had a single meal on our dining table.
Any particularly memorable meal in the kitchen?
The kids were begging me to make pancakes. They were egging me on to do a pancake flip, but there was apparently butter left in the bottom of the pan that splashed onto my forearm. So now I have a new burn scar — it was nice and bubbly. The kids said it looked like a balloon with string. But the flip itself was very successful — I put the pancake on a plate and five minutes later was on my way to the airport, where the driver told me that putting sliced tomato on a burn helps. But I couldn't find any.
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