Chef Michel Tersiguel keeps it simple at home

Chef Michel Tersiguel of Tersiguel's in Ellicott City is the son of French-born restaurateurs, a guy who didn't get his first taste of peanut butter and jelly until high school.

So when he cooks at home, you might expect it to be an elaborate affair. Guess again.

"Michel will eat anything -- hot dogs, fine: macaroni and cheese out of a box, fine," said Tersiguel's wife, Angela, who is expecting the couple's second child in December.

Turns out that when Tersiguel summered as a child in France, he couldn't wait to get home to a cheesesteak sub.

"When I was a kid, I used to eat filet mignon two times a week and to this day, I'm not that crazy about it," he said. "McDonald's was big treat."

Tersiguel has a relatively simple home kitchen that suits his laid-back style of home cooking.

The kitchen in his 1964 Ellicott City rancher has been updated, with white cabinets and a speckled Silestone quartz counter. But with the exceptions of an antique crank-operated sausage-maker, a giant mortar and pestle, and a six-inch Kyocera ceramic chef's knife, the appliances and gadgets are pretty much what you'd find in any nice suburban kitchen.

"I use one knife typically," Tersiguel said, showing off how the edge of the ceramic knife, which is too brittle for restaurant use, glistens in the light.

He wouldn't mind a little more counter space or a few commercial-kitchen features.

"I wish my whole kitchen was stainless steel so I could hose it down when I'm done," he said.

But stainless-steel lust aside, the kitchen suits Tersiguel fine.

He eats at home one to three nights a week, and is content on those nights to have one-pot pasta dishes prepared by himself or his wife.

He keeps it simple when he entertains Angela's family every Sunday afternoon, which he uses as a chance to whip up spicier fare – Southwestern, Indian, Asian – than would fly on his country French menu. He serves dishes like quesadillas, vegetarian chili and macaroni and cheese to the crew of 13.

"I don't do French food," he said. "I cook that all week."

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