Naomi Pomeroy Is the Self-Proclaimed Condiment Queen

The award-winning chef and cookbook author has a deep and abiding affection for mustard and Kewpie mayonnaise.
Naomi Pomeroy in front of her open refrigerator

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 fourth and final dispatch from Portland, Oregon, we visited with food writer and recipe developer Naomi Pomeroy.

I’m meeting up with Naomi Pomeroy, James Beard award-winner and bestselling author of the cookbook, Taste and Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, at around 7 PM on a Saturday night. I have some time to kill, and it turns out she lives walking distance from Clyde’s Prime Rib, an old-school steakhouse in Portland, Oregon. I pop in there for a quick happy-hour martini and onion rings, then walk over to Naomi’s gorgeous home that she shares with her husband. She welcomes me with open arms and we begin the process of digging through her refrigerator. But first, she pours me a beer and we chat like old friends (this is my first time meeting her) about her recent book (the recipe photos from when still grace her dining room wall from when they shot it) and our mutual friend and her co-author, freelance cookbook writer Jamie Feldmar, while listening to records. This is the 4th and final fridge I’ve visited while in Portland, and I am noticing a definite theme in all the chef’s refrigerators: miso, mustard, and kimchi.

Naomi Pomeroy's red vintage Big Chill fridge
interior of refrigerator

What is the oldest thing you have in your fridge? Probably a super-aged miso from Japan. It was old to start with, but now it's been in there for 3 years.

How long have you lived in your current place? 3.5 years

tomato paste harissa spice paste in tubes

How many kinds of mustard do you have in your fridge? Why so many? Top uses for mustard?
I have 13 or 14. I just like it, and it keeps. Everytime I see a new flavor, or brand, I’m like, “MMM… wonder what that one is like.” And I have a real pretzel thing. A fresh (real, not stupid) pretzel from a German bakery, warmed in an oven, with a mix of salted butter and Finnish mustard. TO DIE FOR.

French mustard

What’s up with all the things in tubes? The tubes are cool. They are fancy pastes and things I don’t always want to make myself. I have curry paste, harissa, remoulade. Insta-fancy if you ask me.

What is the story behind this fridge in particular? It was GIVEN to me, because I called and said “Someday this fridge might be in a magazine—please send me one.” AND THEY DID. And I LOVE IT. Thanks for including it finally so I can be a woman of my word.

Naomi Pomeroy squirting kewpie mayo in her fridge

Squirting Kewpie mayonnaise onto her refrigerator shelf

Naomi Pomeroy drinking whiskey while squirting kewpie mayo in her fridge

While sipping whiskey

What do you always have stocked in your fridge? Parmesan, mustard, mayonnaise, lots of pickled things. Jam. Chutney. Condiments mainly.

Favorite use for Kewpie mayo? It's SOOO good on a BLT. SO GOOD in a deviled egg.

hot sauces
miso ginger paste

Talk to me about the Ore-Ida potatoes (noticed they were crinkle cut, good choice;-) I don’t know. They’ve been in there a while. My 17-year-old daughter bought them, then she moved to London. They are still in there. I’ll probably eat them drunkenly with Kewpie.

eggs in ceramic egg carton
Ore-Ida crinkle cut frozen french fries

What booze do you have in your freezer? I have 2 bottles of pre-mixed beverages. I think one is an old-fashioned, and one is something else. I can’t recall. My husband is a bartender. He said, let’s see how these hold up—but we've never tried them. Maybe they will go to some sort of boozy dessert recipe?

Sum up your fridge for me?
I AM the condiment queen.