On any given day at Chris Crary's sunny Los Angeles home, his pals may arrive unexpected and catch him by surprise. "My friends [might come by and] expect me to prepare a 10-course meal for them at the drop of a hat," the Top Chef Season 9 competitor says. "So I keep a wide variety of sheet trays. I mean, who needs 12 sheet trays? What if a school bus of hungry kids shows up and wants cookies?"
Metal cooking pans aren't the only unique thing about Chris Crary's culinary lab. And in the latest episode of Bravotv.com's exclusive digital series In My Kitchen, the chef and restaurateur is opening up his sleek, modern space. His favorite feature? A pot filler over the range, which Chris calls, "The greatest tool ever invented—direct hot water out of the tap so you can fill any pot of water on the stove."
But most of his tools he keeps at his new restaurant, Hyde. In fact, Chris admits, "I actually don't spend that much time at home cooking...I don't want people to think I use a bread knife every day to cook!"
When he is there, Chris might whip up a dish using leftovers from the fridge. He keeps the spirit of Top Chef alive too: "Towards the end of the week, on my day off, my fiancé says, 'There's nothing in the fridge!'" says Chris. "So we've come up with a little game, like a Quickfire Challenge, where I take everything that's still good—fresh produce, thai food if there's takeaway—and now I make something out of it. I'll make the leftovers into a stew or grab some pasta that's leftover."
Growing up in midwest, Chris wasn't exposed to refined cuisine: he started cooking at a Bob Evans restaurant and his grandmother often whipped up dishes with "lard, butter and heavy cream." But after spending summers with family fishing in Canada, competing on Top Chef, and moving to Los Angeles, Chris has a totally different approach to food now. It's one that's served him well with his new restaurant Hyde. Says Chris, "We're the first in L.A. to be a restaurant, and lounge, a nightlife environment where you stay for drinks, have dinner, and stay the rest of the night and do the celebrity watching. It's really fun. It's quite a step up from Bob Evans in Ohio."