Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
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Chef Joachim Splichal’s home kitchen

Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
The San Marino estate that Joachim Splichal shares with his sons, 15-year-old fraternal twins Nicolas, left, and Stephane, has two kitchens. The Monterey-style home opens onto a courtyard with an indoor-outdoor kitchen and poolside dining cabana designed with large-scale entertaining in mind. But the weeknight action happens inside the main house, where the kitchen is surprisingly minimalist for a chef with a penchant for French farmhouse antiques. As Splichal prepares dinner for his family, the purpose of that fuss-free design becomes clear: efficiency. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
The layout calls for most of the action in one corner. Within a few square feet, Splichal can access a small trough sink for washing produce, his built-in butcher block, the stove, the refrigerator and the pantry. The chef can grab fresh vegetables from the refrigerator, give them a quick rinse, chop them up and drop them into a sauté pan. The chrome and black leather island bar stools are from Design Within Reach. Splichal says the kids have plenty of room to spread out their homework on the island or on the counter on the opposite side of the room. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Stephane takes a turn by the Kohler vegetable sink. The granite island has 3-foot-wide butcher blocks at both ends to maximize ingredient prep time. The one nearest the refrigerator got the produce sink. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Dueling faucets at the main sink. Natural light spills in from windows as well as doors leading to the patio. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
The gas range is a six-burner Viking, the place where the chef whips up quick pastas or sears aged steaks that he picks up from Nick & Stef’s, the downtown Los Angeles steakhouse he named after Nicolas and Stephane. “They’re teenage boys,” Splichal says, shrugging. “They like steak.” The range is flanked by stainless drawers, making for an accessible and easy-to-clean storage area for the imported olive oils, homemade vinegar and French sea salts that Splichal uses every day. As for that Mrs. Dash salt substitute sitting on the chef’s kitchen counter: “Oh, that’s for me when I’m on a diet,” Splichal says, laughing. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
In the top stainless-steel drawer, lined in wood: knives that Splichal uses every day. “Knife blocks take up too much space,” the chef says. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Other drawers house cooking essentials -- a fish spatula, whisks, wooden spoons, as well as some unexpected finds. “Kite string is good for tying up chickens,” Splichal says. Those stainless-steel pulls on the drawers also come in handy when it’s time to clean. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Splichal installed a Sub-Zero Pro series refrigerator-freezer near the stove. The glass panel allows him to take one look in the morning and know what to pick up for dinner. He says the dedicated vegetable drawer is “essential” for keeping vegetables fresh and free from refrigerator odors. The adjacent pantry is small but efficient. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
The pantry’s lower pullout shelves are home to a few bags of dried beans and pasta and bars of chocolate. “That’s really all you need in the kitchen at any one time,” Splichal says. “People buy too many things for their pantry.” Splichal converted a larger pantry around the corner into a general storage closet. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Those who build a custom kitchen often find at least one element that probably would not make the cut the next time around. For Splichal, it is the built-in microwave in the island. “You need a stove, not a microwave,” he says. “My ex-wife did that.”

Splichal stores his sauté pans and even a soup pot or two in the kitchen’s mahogany-stained maple drawers under the counter. He says the trick to an efficient kitchen is limiting yourself to three or four sauté pans in one drawer, plus a few spatulas, wooden spoons and whisks in another. “People have all of these kitchen things now, like 15 spatulas and sauté pans, that they are never going to use,” he says. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
For a chef who has his own sparkling wine label and often entertains dozens of friends at a time, that 42-bottle Viking wine refrigerator looks awfully small. Splichal says the pullout drawers and limited bottle storage make it the perfect size for weeknight sipping because he can easily access each bottle. Plus, he has plenty of wine storage space elsewhere. “I keep most of my wine at my restaurants.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Some nights, Splichal and his sons gather around the modern maple dining table in the nearby alcove, where a cozy leather banquette runs under the windows. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
The chef custom designed these two glass corner cabinets with metal mesh shelving. Initially, he had art projects in mind. “I wanted to build a pyramid of Illy espresso cups in all different designs, things like that,” he says. Instead, the cabinets morphed into a functional storage space for his everyday china and some retro barware. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
One of the cabinets, from a different angle. After dinner, Splichal finishes up work in his small office nook, tucked around the corner from the glass cabinets, while the kids clean the dishes. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
Instead of using a drawer or cabinet to store spices, Splichal prefers to clip fresh thyme and oregano from a vertical herb garden outside the kitchen door. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Joaquim Splichal’s home kitchen
“I’m always on the run at the restaurant,” Splichal says. “It’s nice to come home, just cook, and then sit at the bar with the door open to the patio.”

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Our blog: L.A. at Home (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
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