Ian Pierce’s Essentials

5 things the Sandcastle chef can’t live without

Summer drink:

I’m a big lemonade guy, and it’s something anyone can do. Take fresh lemon juice and make simple syrup to mix in: It’s a 1:1 ratio of water and sugar, then boil, cook five minutes, and let cool. You can change it up by adding hibiscus, basil, or ginger—or do lime juice.

Organization techniques:

Kitchen space is always at a premium—put hooks on the walls and under cabinets, and hang your pots for easy access. Limit gadgets: A chef’s knife can do almost anything. Stash stuff you don’t use often out of sight—like my blender, which I haven’t seen for a month.

Mentor advice:

Brock Obee was the first real chef I worked for, and he taught me simplicity: Keep ingredients to a minimum and use them really well. Do research, trust recipes, and explore flavors from around the world, but interpret everything into your own style.

Picnic fare:

I love the classics like barbecue, corn on the cob, and fresh fruit. Keep it simple, but high quality, like a BLT—just use bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, but use really ripe tomato, local greens, and good bacon.

Ice cream:

Our new soft-serve machine has a name—Elsa—and she’s a big ol’ baby. We have to give her a lot of love, and she can be fussy. We only have chocolate, vanilla, and twist cones. Doug [Flicker] is such a purist I don’t think he’s ever even had a twist cone, but that was invented for summer.