Natasha Pickowicz Is Definitely Going to Finish All Those Kombuchas

The pastry chef of Flora Bar and Café Altro Paradiso rarely bakes at home, but keeps a whole carrot cake handy.
September 18, 2018, 3:44pm
Photos by the author

Welcome to Fridge Tours, where we peek inside the personal refrigerators of chefs, bartenders, and food world personalities to see how they eat off the clock, in the privacy of their own homes. For our first installment, we visited pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz at her Brooklyn studio.

I showed up on the stoop of Natasha Pickowicz's Greenpoint apartment at exactly 10 AM and inadvertently sent her scrambling. In her defense, it had taken us nearly two dozen emails to figure out when I should stop by for a voyeuristic look inside her fridge, and in all the back-and-forth, the exact time had slipped her mind. We're debuting a new series at MUNCHIES in which we take a tour of chef's refrigerators to see what they eat like when they're home and off the clock, and the pastry chef of Flora Bar and Café Altro Paradiso is our first subject.


She had time to make the bed, but not to check the contents of her freezer before buzzing me up—which ultimately, we decided would make the whole endeavor more authentic, anyway.

"You should come to people’s apartments the day before you say you’re going to be there," Natasha reasoned. That way, they won't have already cleaned up the embarrassing stuff. You know, like the cookies 'n cream ice cream bars in the freezer that they bought instead of ice packs to soothe an old injury. Onward ho!

Name: Natasha Picowicz

Job: Pastry chef at of Flora Bar and Café Altro Paradiso

Lives in: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

How long?: About a year.

About that freezer… "I don’t remember buying any of this. What is this? Terrible coffee? I should just throw away everything that’s in here."

The oldest thing in the fridge… "Maybe this flour? I don’t really bake at home. Flour that’s not super milled, that still has the germ and all the proteins in it, can get rancid. So we store all our flour in the restaurants in the fridge. But I actually don’t bake [here.] That sugar is probably just as old. I probably bought it when I moved in."

The best thing in the fridge… "This is amazing—we had friends from Ontario come and stay here, and this is a beer that my friend Graham makes with this rad label. But he also has a record label, so it’s the same aesthetic as the stuff he makes."

On a typical fridge situation for her… "If I’m going to the market, or if I’m bringing stuff home from work, then I’ll always have beautiful fruits and vegetables. But I just had some people over for dinner, so I feel like I don’t have that much of anything cause we just went through everything. I shop from our walk-ins like crazy. This time of year I’ll bring home tomatoes and squash and eggplant."


What about right now? "It’s, like, all kombucha. And they’re all in various states of completion. They lose their carbonation, but I always think that I’ll finish them at a later time."

Something she always has is… "Hummus. That’s my thing. And like, hummus from the supermarket, not fancy hummus. This is a new brand I’m trying. I always have plain tortillas and I always have sprouts since I’m from California."

What's in the loaf pan? "This is a carrot cake from work. Why do I have this? [To her boyfriend, Aaron Crowder] Oh, cause we were going to eat it! I think I made a bunch [for work] and then I had an extra one and I wanted to bring it back for you to eat, because you love carrot cake. And then we never did it. Now it will probably not get eaten."

How long has it been in there?
Aaron: "Two months."

Natasha: "Really??"

Aaron: "From before you went to California!"

Natasha: "I should have frozen it. If you come [back] tomorrow, it probably won’t still be in the fridge."

If she had to sum up her fridge style… "It’s a mix of booze, kombucha, spreads, and vegetables from the bodega."