Prac­ti­cal pieces Hand-crafted knives, an oft-signed ta­ble and stolen spoons are prized by Gill Meller

The Guardian - Cook - - A Cook’s Kitchen - Gill Meller is a chef, award win­ning au­thor, food writer and stylist. His de­but cook­book Gather is pub­lished by Quadrille; @gill.meller

We bought this old sum­mer house about three years ago and made it big enough for our fam­ily. South-fac­ing, it looks out over Lyme Bay – you get beau­ti­ful views in the sum­mer and in the win­ter amaz­ing storms com­ing in off the sea. I built the kitchen my­self, with the help of some friends, out of floor­boards and roof­ing tim­bers left over from build­ing the house. Our work sur­face is a re­pur­posed gym floor and the draw­ers came from a sci­ence lab.

I wanted to have a very sim­ple shelf go­ing across the en­tire back wall (1) that I could put all my things on – it’s prac­ti­cal be­ing able to see it all.

My dad made the kitchen ta­ble (2) for us, as a house­warm­ing present. There’s al­ways some­thing hap­pen­ing on it! In the sum­mer, we can carry it out­side, and sit in the gar­den. Ev­ery­one who comes to have food with us writes their name un­der­neath – ev­ery so of­ten I lie down on the floor and re­mem­ber who has been around.

My wife, Alice, has an in­te­ri­ors and home­wares busi­ness, spe­cial­is­ing in lo­cal con­tem­po­rary crafts. She’s al­ways col­lected old work­top and bench lamps – this is one of her finds (3).

I love all my cook­books (4), but as I don’t have that much space, I edit them pe­ri­od­i­cally. These are the ones I never let go of – Nigel Slater’s Real Cook­ing and Hugh Fearn­ley Whit­tingstall’s first cook­book were both re­ally in­flu­en­tial when I was young. I’ve al­ways val­ued Jane Grig­son’s knowl­edge, and Fer­gus Hen­der­son’s ap­proach to cook­ing.

There’s some­thing about the tex­ture of an egg made in my mum’s old poach­ing pan (5) – one of those where you lift the lid and it’s got these lit­tle dishes you can lift in and out – that re­minds me of be­ing a child. You can’t make them like that any other way.

These are two of my favourite kitchen knives (6), that I couldn’t re­ally be with­out. They make my work­ing life so much nicer. One is made by Blen­heim Forge in Peck­ham and the other by Dan Pren­der­gast, whose knives are stun­ning. Sub­tle, un­pre­ten­tious and in­cred­i­bly sharp, and if you look af­ter them they’ll stay that way. I love that they’re made by hand, with such care.

Be­hind is a bot­tle of my own red wine vine­gar (7)– I got the starter about 15 years ago, from a berg­erie farm restau­rant in Uzès, near Avi­gnon. I’ve been mak­ing vine­gar ever since, topping it up with dregs of red wine.

When I was younger, I used to do quite a bit of out­side cater­ing, in other peo­ple’s kitchens. Ev­ery time I’d steal a wooden spoon, as a me­mento. So I have a col­lec­tion of them (8) from var­i­ous places around the coun­try … I ac­tu­ally re­gret do­ing that now.

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