Chef Karen Small
2523 Market Ave., Cleveland
(216) 241-4243, theflyingfig.com
Spice you can’t live without: Fresh thyme and cumin. I love the way cumin adds such depth to anything and works so well with so many cuisines like Mexican, Moroccan and Indian. And fresh thyme — never dried — is the most universal herb. We use it in almost everything.
Biggest kitchen crutch you wish would disappear: I’d go with the microwave. It doesn’t serve a useful purpose except to reheat coffee. I don’t even own one, and we don’t have one in the restaurant.
Favorite kitchen utensil: My Shun knife — it’s just great. If you don’t have a good knife in the kitchen, you’re just stuck. All the tools in the world won’t help if you don’t have a good knife.
The cookbook everyone should own: The Joy of Cooking. It’s a classic and the first one I ever owned. You can always refer back to it. It has everything, even squirrel. They were pioneers. It’s still the best basic cookbook out there.
The thing everyone should have in their kitchen: Garlic. It’s simply a fabulous seasoning. Most things taste flat without it. A good layer of spice to your dish should have fresh garlic.