A Peek Behind the Scenes of the Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Our team of passionate cooks and culinary experts test and perfect every recipe before publication. Take a peek into the Test Kitchen where all the magic happens.
By Nicole Doster, Digital Associate Editor
It should come as no surprise that Taste of Home headquarters includes a kitchen. In fact, right smack in the heart of our Milwaukee office are three full-blown, commercial-grade, wow-worthy kitchens—and a passionate team of culinary professionals who fill them with energy and purpose.
Let's take a look inside!
Since we test numerous recipes every day, our team needs ample workspace. Luckily, the Test Kitchen features 36 feet of sprawling stainless steel countertops for chopping veggies, rolling pie crusts, trussing chickens, kneading bread...and the list goes on.
When it's time to bake—and trust me, we do a lot of baking—our team has over a dozen ovens to choose from. And as for stovetops, the kitchen has no fewer than 24 electric burners on standby. What's more, our pantry is roughly the size of a bedroom, and every wall is stacked with ingredients.
Name an appliance—any appliance—and we probably have at least one. Think blenders, stand mixers and slow cookers (in many cases, there are multiples), not to mention the arsenal of small gadgets in our storage room. Filled to the brim with just about every utensil, tool and device you can think of, this room holds giant bins of measuring cups, baking pans of all varieties, plenty of cutlery and over a hundred cookie cutters sorted by shape and size. My favorite part? A candy collection that would make Willy Wonka blush. Hard candy, cake decorations, licorice, lollipops and sprinkles are stockpiled and ready to use in creative, reader-submitted dessert recipes.
Two professional Test Cooks, Nick Iverson and Matt Hass, helm the Taste of Home kitchen. (You may recognize Nick from our Facebook Live videos!) Their job is to test and approve recipes before we publish them. (Yep, every single recipe we publish is Test Kitchen-approved.) Our cooks prepare about 40 recipes each week—over 2,000 per year.
If you're wondering how two cooks can get so much done, well, they have a lot of help.
Imagine you had a team who chopped all the produce for your weeknight stir-fry or measured dry ingredients down to the gram for your favorite layer cake. Enter the Taste of Home Prep Cook powerhouses, Beth Jacobson, Aria Thornton and Melissa Hansen—any one of whom could mise en place in their sleep.
With so many recipes being tested again and again, the team goes through a massive amount of food. Each week we whip through 90 or so eggs, 25 gallons of milk and about five pounds of butter. In a year, the team works through 600 pounds of flour, 900 pounds of sugar, nearly 200 bunches of parsley and—get this—more than 2,700 cloves of garlic.
Who does all the shopping? With spreadsheets and software-powered schedules in hand, our Culinary Team Assistant, Maria Petrella, handles all the groceries. She shops for, picks up and stocks about 56 bags of groceries each week—around 2,900 bags a year. I'm sure any home cook would love her help on a busy Sunday at the grocery store.