Once while renovating a big, old house in Detroit, I subsisted on pizza, Pringles, peanut butter and jelly, and M&Ms. (And bourbon.) My body did not thank me. 

Which is why, looking ahead to my next project-a kitchen refresh in my new place in Louisville, Kentucky-I turned to Jess Dang, a professional Bay Area meal planner who recently completed a major kitchen reno herself, for tips on not only surviving, but thriving.


Go, go gadget kitchen!

According to Jess, who moved culinary operations to her garage, even the snobbiest of food snobs can get by with an arsenal of small appliances. Her lineup included an induction burner, toaster oven, slow cooker, air fryer, rice cooker, and her personal favorite: an induction hot plate. “Anything you can cook on a stovetop, you can cook on a hot plate,” she says. “You’re paying a lot of money for a kitchen. It’s worth the $50.” Use yours to whip up a shortcut take on Bon Appetit’s tortilla soup, using leftover rotisserie chicken and store-bought tortilla chips.

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Tom & Wendy Hunt
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