Chef Michael Psilakis’s Advice for Cooking at Home: Prep on Sunday, Feast All Week

As a working parent, I know how hard it is to make dinner every night. So I recently asked Chef Michael Psilakis, award-winning chef-owner of five restaurants including Kefi and Fishtag, for tips on feeding the most important diners: his children. Chef’s answer: prep school.

Michael Psilakis: I’m a Greek chef and at home, we maintain that Mediterranean diet, keeping things as fresh as possible. We have two little boys, 8 and 3, and it’s a constant migration to the fridge to grab something. The fact is when you open it up, whatever’s there is what you’re gonna eat.

One of the biggest hurdles for most people is time management. How often do you come home and have all the time you need to make dinner? Not often. But if you spend even an hour on Sunday with a pot of boiling water, it really facilitates later in the week.

We always spend Sunday shopping, and Sunday afternoon prepping. We clean and chop lettuce, so it’s ready to go, and every Sunday we have what I call “blanch-and-shock day.” We prep things like summer squash, yellow and green peppers. Then all week we can put together a simple dinner in just a few minutes — like throw the blanched vegetables on the grill or toss in pasta.

My wife is in love with grilling things and her favorite is grilled cauliflower. I slice ’em straight down, half an inch thick, so they’re flat and easy to grill. Once you blanch and shock, they’re ready anytime. Come home, throw ’em on the grill and finish with salt and pepper.

We’re vegetable people. But I wont lie, we’re ice cream-a-holics too. My wife is about vanilla. I love cookies and cream.

Featured photo credit: Andre Baranowski

Betsy Bradley

Elizabeth L. Bradley writes about New York City history and culture. She hopes to find Tiffany blue dragees in her Christmas stocking this year.

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