Christopher Hirsheimer is a home cook, writer, photographer, and cofounder of Canal House, whose facets include a publishing venture, and culinary and design studio. Before starting Canal House in 2007 in Lambertville, New Jersey, Hirsheimer was one of the founders of Saveur, where she was executive editor. She co-wrote the award-winning Saveur Cooks series and The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook (Chronicle, 2006). Melissa Hamilton is a home cook, writer, painter, and cofounder of Canal House. She previously worked at Saveur as the test kitchen director, and was its food editor for many years. Christopher and Melissa currently publish Canal House Cooking, for which they collaborate on all the writing, recipes, photography,design,and production. They were the recipients of the 2013 James Beard Foundation award in the General Cooking category for their cookbook, Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel, 2012) and were nominees for their Bon Appétit video series, "The Seasonal Cooks", as well as 2013 IACP nominees for Photography and Food Styling. They write a column for Bon Appétit, "The Seasonal Cooks." Their daily blog, Canal House Cooks Lunch, has thousands of daily followers interested in what these two have cooked up that day. To see more, visit their website, thecanalhouse.com.
Q: What's the story behind Canal House? What inspired you to create it?
A: We had worked with each other as food editors in the magazine world. We traveled the globe in search of essential and authentic recipes, sliding into banquettes in famous restaurants, meeting big deal chefs and even cooking in far-flung home kitchens. It was great and exciting. But our work took us both away from our families, our homes and our gardens, away from what really matters, after all.
Q: What summer fruits and vegetables do you most look forward to cooking with?
A: The way we cook in the summer couldn't be simpler. We forsake the convenience of the supermarket and live in the season—slicing big ripe tomatoes, preserving tomatoes, grilling leeks, roasting chickens and slathering them with herb butter, foraging for chanterelles, turning corn into succotash, baking berry cobblers and making apricot jam. Cooking is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the season around you.