Despite being California born and bred, actress Marissa Hermer is better known as a mover and shaker in London, where she lived for nearly a decade.
But late last year, she returned to the Southland with her husband and three young children, upgrading from a cozy London home to 10,000 square feet of space in a six-bedroom, nine-bathroom estate in Pacific Palisades.
Hermer's cookbook, "An American Girl in London: 120 Nourishing Recipes for Your Family From a Californian Expat," was released last month. The third season of her Bravo show, "Ladies of London," recently wrapped.
She also helps her husband, Matt, run the Ignite Group, a company that operates London restaurant chain Bumpkin and cocktail bar Eclipse.
You call your kitchen the "heartbeat of the house." Why is that?
This is where the cooking and eating happens. It's my boardroom, where I prep videos for social media. It's turned into the playroom as well, even though we actually have a separate playroom. The children have a play kitchen, because they want to cook when I'm cooking.
The space is also enormous.
There's a part of the kitchen that's for entertaining and also a side kitchen that's almost more industrial. There are three stoves, three ovens and four sinks. There's a two-fridge, four-freezer situation and a wine fridge underneath the island.
That must be nice, especially compared with your much smaller kitchen in London.
We did the kitchen dance in London — that kind of shimmy when you try to open the fridge while someone's cooking and someone else is reaching for a wine glass. There was a lot of climbing; it was like being Spider-Man trying to get things down from shelves. My kitchen was incredibly organized, down to the pasta. A fun Saturday night was me and my label maker.
But here, my pantry is the size of one of my children's bedrooms. It's like I have a mini-Gelson's in my pantry. We can all do cartwheels in the kitchen and not hit each other.
Any great events in here so far?
My birthday is Dec. 31. We moved in on Dec. 28. My mom, dad and brother came, and so did a lot of childhood friends in L.A. It was a revolving door that day. There were cupcakes, cakes, kids building Lego towers on the island, lots of wine. Before we knew it, there were 40 people in the kitchen. It was a really nice christening of the room.
What are some of your favorite things to cook?
I'm big on things I can make ahead of time. So, chicken and tarragon pie, sweet potato and feta salad, lemon tart. When it rains: lamb stew, lasagna, chicken soup. I'm not an advanced chef at all — I like cozy comfort food that's not tricky and is nourishing.
Favorite place to grocery shop?
I do my shopping every Sunday at the Brentwood farmers market — I let my produce lead me. In London, I always had a recipe in my head, because access to local fresh produce is very different, very seasonally led.
Other key differences between London and Los Angeles?
Living in Chelsea in London, you fall out of your front door and are on Kings Road in a minute — it's such a bustling city. Here, it takes two minutes just to drive out of my driveway.
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