At the present moment, Associate Partner Tim Mullin cannot live without his 14-inch wok, the vessel that brings his celebrated Chinese Sichuan recipes to life in his contemporary Brentwood kitchen. What began as a compromise between frozen peas and dining out has blossomed into a passion for creating an entire meal with his hands.
Though it’s always fun hosting the seasonal soirees and weekends with fellow couples, Tim is most happy when cooking for his family of four. We decided to invite ourselves over to the Mullin residence to learn—and hopefully taste—more of what goes into an evening spent at home.
Earliest kitchen memory?
Growing up, Sunday was always our family cooking night. We’d all hang out in the kitchen—usually over tacos—knowing that the coming week would be filled with work, board meetings, volleyball tournaments, the debate club or band practice, depending on the family member. Because of this, I think cooking for just Rebecca and the kids in the kitchen is my idea of a perfect family hang-out night.
Tell us about the evolution of your own kitchen.
We bought a fixer with the intention of updating it ourselves, which translated into basically starting the kitchen from scratch. My experience in new construction and working closely with developers had given me a good sense of all the elements that make up a modern kitchen, so I designed our entire kitchen to fit that style.
Three adjectives that best describe its vibe.
Open. Functional. Inviting.
What are the ingredients that make-up your kitchen?
I think it’s important for a kitchen to have a light and airy feel, and it’s the only room in our house that we painted all white. A white cararra marble island serves as a handsome centerpiece and is complimented by a carrara subway tile backsplash. For our countertops, we went with a dark gray Caesarstone because the material is nearly indestructible. We also oriented the whole design of our kitchen around an oversized range. If you like to cook then you will never regret investing in a large stove. Come Thanksgiving time you will be especially thankful, and a built-in griddle is essential for Saturday morning pancakes.
My large cast iron pan. It’s versatility makes it the most useful tool that you can have in your kitchen. You can get it so hot that it’s basically an indoor grill and, if you take care of it, it will last forever.
What’s on your coffee table right now?
A cookbook by the talented Marcus Samuelsson, a Swedish chef who elevates American ‘comfort food’.
You mentioned that you’re currently loving traditional Chinese Sichuan-style dishes and prefer to import those ingredients. Name the last 3 items you received from China.
Sichuan peppercorns, fermented shrimp paste, and dried Tien Tsin chili peppers.
What is it about hosting that you get the most gratification from?
I think that the reason I like hosting is because both my wife and I really enjoy taking care of people, especially in the company of good food, which is one of the few things that’s universally enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
What is it about cooking that you get the most gratification from?
Cooking is such a wonderful stress reliever. With my career and two young kids, I tend to always have my hands full, so it’s nice to get into the zone and just focus on creating something.
Favorite Restaurants in LA and why.
They are doing some really inventive things over at the Bazaar in the SLS hotel, and since I don’t do any sort of molecular gastronomy at home, it’s always fun to experience. I can also really appreciate a good Italian restaurant—Locanda Portofino on Montana and Ado are two of my favorites because anywhere that serves sea urchin pasta has my heart.
LA-based chef of the moment?
The most inspiring LA-based chef for me right now is Ori Menashe at Bestia. He is really elevating Italian food and pushing the boundaries.