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Masterchef winner and Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers talks Tania Ballantine through the kitchen of her Kensal Rise home
When we bought this house, it hadn’t been touched since the 1960s. It was a liability. The electrics were all over the place – they were dangerous. So we took everything out and made the kitchen bigger, which meant getting planning permission. It’s amazing when you do something up, how many decisions you have to make. It took a year and a half. And I was getting married at the same time! It fried our heads, actually.
But the thing that was such fun about it, is that I’ve never had any confidence in my creativity. The idea of interior decorating completely terrifies me – I’m not that type of girl who has pretty things everywhere. I could live with bare light bulbs for 10 months and not notice.
So I designed the kitchen with my husband and my father, who’s a cabinet-maker. I knew that I wanted Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, which I’ve got for my hob and fridge respectively, and I knew that I didn’t want an all-steel kitchen. I liked the idea of having ‘one big chopping board’ worktop. Although I’ve got to say, it’s so beautiful that I often still use a separate board for chopping. When my father comes to stay, he gets really cross: ‘You’re not supposed to be using that, it’s one big chopping board. That’s what you asked for!’ The top by the sink is actually zinc, which has a much softer texture than stainless steel.
We didn’t really know how it was all going to fit together, but we just love it. It looks sexy, but it’s very simple. There’s nothing worse than bad design, or things that don’t really have a use, or are difficult to look after. I do not approve of glasses that you can’t put into the dishwasher.
I couldn’t live without my larder. When we moved house, I just had boxes and boxes of all these chutneys and jams. When we get home at nine o’clock at night and think ‘it’s late, what are we going to eat?’, we just look in the fridge to see what’s left over from the farmers’ market, look in the larder and see what we can throw together.
Best of all, it’s so easy to have friends around. I can have 14 people around for supper in the blink of an eye. It’s so hard to keep up with friends and we all work so hard, so it’s very special to be able to easily feed people you haven’t seen for ages and then just stay for hours in the kitchen, where the heart of the home is.
Fridge Sub-Zero Pro 48, £16,285, www.westye.co.uk
Granite Pestle & Mortar: £14.99 for a similar product, www.lakeland.co.uk
Hob: Wolf 30” gas cooktop, £1,562, www.westye.co.uk
Pan rack: By Mark Farmer, Acorn Smithy, near Cheltenham, 01242 621008
Stainless steel pans: from a selection, www.johnlewis.com
Teapot : Three-litre family teapot, £89.50, www.summerillandbishop.com
New at Wahaca in Canary Wharf is the Wahaca Cocktail & Mezcal Bar, 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW; 020 7516 9145;
www.wahaca.co.uk. Thomasina’s latest cookbook, Mexican Food Made Simple (£20, Hodder & Stoughton), is out now.
Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Spring 2010