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My Favorite Room: In Barry Watson’s kitchen, Dad takes the helm

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.

“Cooking is my detox from working,” says the “Date My Dad” and “7th Heaven” actor. He loves to cook
"Cooking is my detox from working," says the "Date My Dad" and "7th Heaven" actor. He loves to cook for the kids, but they don't get to help in the kitchen, his "command center."
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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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?

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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.

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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.

hotproperty@latimes.com

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