After spending all day in the kitchen, a professional chef could be forgiven for not wanting to cook when he or she gets home. But Michael Fagnoni and Molly Hawks don’t have that luxury: In addition to owning two acclaimed restaurants (Hawks in Granite Bay and Hawks Public House), the couple has three young children. And that means three hungry mouths to feed, day in and day out, 365 days a year.
So when they built a new custom home in Granite Bay two years ago, Mike and Molly insisted on a large, well-thought-out kitchen that would make cooking family meals a breeze. Working with interior designer Aimee Griffin, they ended up with a workhorse of a space, with plenty of room for everyone and distinct zones for cooking, baking, cleanup and more.
Taking center stage is a massive island topped with honed Carrara marble. Here, Mike preps for dinner, often with help from younger daughter Lauren. “She loves food,” says Mike. “She’s the cook in the family.” Molly, meanwhile, is the family pastry chef, using the marble island top to roll out all kinds of dough. She doesn’t mind if the surface takes a beating from use. “It adds character,” she says.
To accommodate two chefs, the kitchen has multiple redundancies: two sinks (one for prep, the other for cleaning up), two dishwashers and an eight-burner range with two ovens. Two more ovens, plus an extra fridge, are stashed in the nearby mudroom. A coffee station with an espresso machine and a drip coffee maker enables Mike and Molly to grab cafe-quality coffee while getting the kids off to school in the morning.
In the evening, Mike cooks dinner while Molly helps the kids with their homework. Dinner generally consists of a grilled or roasted protein—often steak or chicken—along with a big salad and sautéed vegetables. “We try to eat healthy,” says Mike. “But foremost, it has to be really tasty.” A vegetable garden in the backyard and an herb garden out front supply fresh produce—tomatoes, jalapeños, strawberries, basil, parsley and more—for family meals. “The kids loved picking the plants out at the nursery and getting them in the dirt,” Molly explains. “It’s great for them to experience things right off the vine.”
The kitchen provides ample space for entertaining—important because Molly has a large family, with six siblings who live nearby. “When we get together,” she notes, “it’s easily 20-plus people. We wanted to create a space where we could have everybody over.” In fact, building the house was a family affair: Molly’s dad, who owns a construction company, oversaw the project, and her brothers (also in the construction trades) built the cabinetry and box-beam ceilings and did the finish carpentry.
Now, the family has plenty of room to gather for everyday meals and special occasions. “It’s nice to have all this space,” says Molly. “It keeps us all together.”
Breakfast Their Way
How do professional chefs start the day? Here’s a look …
Mike: Eggs, toast and two espressos (Chocolate Fish’s KORU)
Molly: Oatmeal and drip coffee (Chocolate Fish’s Misty Valley Ethiopia)
The kids: Bagel or waffle with Nocciolata hazelnut spread
Mike Fagnoni’s Family Pasta
This easy pasta dinner is ready in a snap and appeals to everyone in the family, from kids to adults.
1 pound shell pasta
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, bring 5 quarts salted water to a boil. Add pasta to water and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, place bacon in a large sauté pan and cook until crisp. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels.
Add garlic, green onions and asparagus to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat for 3 minutes. Add heavy cream to the pan and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 2 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and add Parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Simmer 1 minute.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss with olive oil and serve with additional Parmesan.
Wall color and upper cabinets: Benjamin Moore’s Simply White
Lower cabinet color: Benjamin Moore’s Witching Hour
Faucet: ROHL Perrin & Rowe