The Refrigerator Zone with Chef Tom Costello of Yorktown’s Thyme
What a chef’s fridge looks like.
Anything in there that's really old or of unknown origins? A dried-out spiral ham my wife cooked for the kids that’s a week-and-a-half old. Our leftover policy is two days, after which they go to our three rescue dogs. They’re mutts, the best kind of dog.
Item that would impress a foodie—Siberian caviar, for example? No Siberian caviar, but salmon caviar!
Rate your fridge from 1, an ungodly mess, to 10, 'I may have OCD.' I’d say a 5. Neither my wife nor I clean it much, but between our two sons—one is 5’ 10”, 270 pounds and the other is 5’, 165 pounds—it’s a self-organizing method via their huge appetites. One day I had a pound and a half of prosciutto in there and my older boy ate all of it within seven hours.
Any embarrassing fake foods, e.g., Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz? I try not to bring too much fake food home, but we usually have Reddi-wip. After working for 14 hours, a shot goes in my mouth—quick and easy.
Random or unusual items in door shelves? Figs in truffle honey—homemade.
Are you fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, et cetera? I discovered last June, early July that I need to eat gluten-free—doing so has gotten rid of my fatigue and headaches. I lost 20 pounds in four months, and not from dieting but from not consuming gluten. I even converted the menu at Thyme to 90 percent gluten-free. No more all-purpose flour and instead rice flour. I used to eat more pasta/potatoes, but now it’s more rice—saffron rice, coconut rice.
Most of the contents of your fridge are from what source? Turco’s, for parsley and cheese sausage and chicken, plus their variety and quality of veggies and fruit—I eat a lot of veggies and fruit—and Mrs. Green’s for gluten-free pasta and gluten-free bread.
How’s the dairy situation? Breakstone’s butter. Margarine and other butter substitutes? Not in my fridge.
Drinks? Cranberry juice, seltzer, orange juice, Mighty Leaf Tea Company iced tea from California ordered off the Internet, plus plenty of Poland Spring. Don’t want my kids drinking soda; they go through 10 cases of water a week. In fact, I don’t drink soda, either, as I don’t want sugar before I taste food. Besides, I’m too hyper as it is. I also have Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale and Blue Moon beer for guests; for me, it’s gluten-free Steadfast Sorghum Pale Ale.
Sweets and snacks? Nestlé Toll House cookie dough. My younger son, Dylan, plays pastry chef. But he’s not allowed to be a chef when he grows up!
Any non-food items in there? Batteries for the Xbox controller. I watch my sons play.
Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32° F and below. Eggo waffles, Seattle’s Best Coffee for my wife—I don’t drink coffee—and black raspberry Abbott’s Frozen Custard. The best ice cream, however, is Moo Moo’s Creamery in Cold Spring, down by the Hudson.
What’s your favorite item hanging on the refrigerator? A wooden sign with a magnet on the back that says, “Happy Wife Happy Life.”
On top of the fridge? A mish-mash of paperwork from the restaurant, plus cookbooks. I have an office on the lower level [of the house], but I suppose I’ve claimed the fridge-top as my space—it drives my wife crazy. What can I say? I spend the most time in the kitchen.