Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Category: People

Mazin Elhadry

Everyone is number one in their own category. But that never stopped Mazin from trying to become the number one salsa maker, the number one dumpling ninja, the number one hummusizer, or the number one chimichurrist. From his first forays in making gyouza and coconut milk-agar jelly, sitting on a pre-furniture Normandie kitchen floor; to his enthusiastic participation in the very literal blood-bath of the first Normandie sausage fest, Mazin helped us perfect our techniques, and several dishes still bear his indelible stamp. Chimichurri is now, and forever will be, Mazin Sauce.


Continue Reading

Mythili Menon

mythiliMythili is a frequent visitor in our kitchen, and usurper of the stove. She isa linguistics student at USC (soon tenure track professor in Kansas!), from Kochi, Kerala, and is passionate about southern Indian food.

She’s also passionate (maybe a little inappropriately passionate?) about Kochi, as her following verse attests:

Every time you visit Kochi, you are rekindled with memories and melancholia, for Kochi is a good book on a rainy day, a warm drink on a sad day, a cool breeze on a hot and humid summer day, but most of all Kochi is a lover, holding you close day after day.

Continue Reading

Ulrike Steindl

Ulli, having lived and travelled in China, over the last 6 years (and speaking the language) is the Normandie resident Sino-gastrologist — interpreter and Sherpa. She has led us on intrepid expeditions to eateries far and wide, in search of hand pulled noodles, and jianbing.


Continue Reading

Chad Geib

Chad Geib is the Q of the Normandie kitchen. Incessantly tinkering with weird chadgadgets and technological wonders — smokers, stills, and sausage stuffers. He’s happiest when he’s buying parts from the hardware store, and increasing the efficiency of culinary processes.

A combination of a Middle-American upbringing, an early adulthood in Korea, and a residence in California, has given Chad a palate that encompasses American cheese, blood sausage soup, and slow cooked tongue. He enthusiastically embraces the food of his people: turducken, mustard barbecue sauce, and green bean casserole …

Continue Reading

Barret Phillips

Career copepodist, amateur botanist, infusion enthusiast, and Normandie kitchen cocktail editorcocktail editor at large. Barret is a woman of many depths, and surprising contradictions. She hails from Texas, but swears by Hatch chilis. She is a bitter supertaster, but swills bourbon, and eats dark greens. A sometimes-vegetarian but … did I mention she comes from Texas?

Barret brings a lot of things to the Normandie kitchen. Her botanical knowledge is encyclopaedic, and she has a little “lab notebook” of fascinating gins she has made — orris root, cardamom, grains of paradise, and juniper; in combinations to dazzle and delight. She has mastered the Old Fashioned. She has tamed the margarita. She won the Hogwarts party with her Felix Felicis.

Continue Reading

Wendy Vu

wendy eating duck feet Wendy is a housemate emeritus. She is one of the earliest residents, and cooks, of Normandie — as well as a legume geneticist, and amateur photographer. Born in Hong Kong, to a mother boating across the world from Hanoi, Vietnam; raised in the multi-ethnic ferment of pre-tech San Francisco; Wendy approaches food, and life, with a hip-hop sensibility and energy. Minus the metaphorical baggy pants and drank. You know, high-concept, remixes, and philosophical musings about death, and social justice. With a nod to Tupac. That kind of hip-hop.

Okay, I’ve totally gotten lost in this metaphor by now. Never mind. Continue Reading

Matilde Cordeiro

matildeMatilde is a legume ecological geneticist, from Cascais, near Lisboa, Portugal. Her agronomy training has been useful to everyone in the house, because it incorporated a lot of wine tasting. She pretty much specialises in wine from Europe and California, and most anywhere else — and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Port wines, amarguinha, and firewater. When she returns from trips to Portugal, her bags tend to be filled to bursting with bottles of Portuguese liqueur, sausage, and cheese.

Matilde tends to cook anything you might want to call Andalusian, from all over Spain and Portugal. Sausage, soups, rices, stews, and desserts. Her favourite of all, however, is seafood, and she’ll wax rhapsodic about the pleasures of cuttlefish ink, shrimp heads, barnacles, and salt cod for hours on end. Continue Reading

Eliseo Melero

Eliseo is the owner of the Normandie House, and along with Brad, the lonthe maestro with a future mealgest resident. He’s also the most accomplished cook in the house: he enrolled in the Cordon Bleu after arriving in the States from Mexico because he didn’t know how to boil water and wanted to cook for himself. He graduated and went to cook, and then work as executive chef in fine dining restaurants, from Colorado to Alaska to Arizona.

Eliseo is the master of classical techniques — sauces and stocks and desserts and delicate cuts of meat. He’s also the most creative garnisher in the house. Anything you see pictures of, with elaborate heaps of flowers or drizzles of candy are his.
Continue Reading

Brad Foley

Brad hcamping in Joshua Treeas been at the Normandie house from about the very beginning. His cooking adventures here began on a single-element electric cooker, before there was any furniture. This is where the elaborate collaborative cooking began, sitting on the floor, making gyouza with Wendy and Mazin, and frying them on that damn cooker.

In the house, Brad is least likely to follow a recipe. And most of his recipes will be highly spiced. The running joke is that he’ll try to put saffron, cardamom and rosewater in absolutely everything. And it’s only partially a joke. Continue Reading