• Alison Cayne's pantry • 

All photos by  Heidi’s Bridge

All photos by Heidi’s Bridge


Alison Cayne, founder of the Haven’s Kitchen cooking school & cafe in NYC, knows exactly what works for her — Ortiz tuna belly for every meal, a pantry stuffed with curry leaves and yuzu, and a twice-weekly trip to Union Square Greenmarket for fresh, verdant produce. Basically, Alison is the culinary superwoman we all wish we were: never spending more than 45 minutes on any recipe and starting each day with eight sprouted almonds because a Jain doctor recommended it for prolonged mental dexterity. Read on for more to experience Pinterest’s fave kitchen, Alison’s love of Van Morrison, and the universal “deep satisfaction” of a fully-squeezed lime.

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her style

  • “The most important thing to me is that the colors and textures of the produce shines through. So, if we’re talking about my kitchen - I like natural materials and colors that make a beautiful canvas for the food. When  it comes to cooking, I love to cook and eat dishes that really celebrate the produce of the season. I don’t like complicated recipes and I’m not a cooking project kind of gal - Nothing I make takes longer than 45mins, even if I’m cooking for 12.

  • I work at a cooking school surrounded by some of the most talented cooks I’ve ever met! I don’t have to look far for inspiration!

markets & shopping

  • I am so lucky to live and work near the Union Square Greenmarket, so I buy about 90% of my produce there, twice a week. I supplement that with Whole Foods, the Health Food Store across the street, and Eataly. I also order from Foodkick when I don’t have time to get to the market. They have great produce and I trust them.

fridge must-haves

  • Well, of course I stock up on our fresh sauces… But I also always have to have cold brew, to heat up in the morning for my am coffee. I also love White Moustache yogurt. I definitely have Pilot Kombucha and Good Mylk in there too. Most importantly, about 6 months ago, I switched my 9 year old dog, Ivy, over to Nom Nom Now — fresh dog food — and she’s like a puppy again — it’s amazing. I keep nuts and popcorn and all my condiments in the fridge too — it keeps them fresh longer.

pantry staples


  • A zester for zesting citrus on everything!

  • I love a juicer - there is deep satisfaction getting every last drop out of a lime

  • Wooden spoons are works of art to me

  • Tongs! I use them for everything

  • Sharp knives - necessary


  • I read cookbooks like novels, and I hoard them—practically every one of them has influenced my cooking in some way. I’d say the most influential have been anything by Ottolenghi, Deborah Madison, Heidi Swanson and any book on Southern Indian cooking (especially The Kerala Kitchen). These exposed me to sumac and harissa and yuzu and mustard seeds and curry leaves, plus all sorts of grains and techniques I use all the time. I also loved the book Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees - I learned SO MUCH about Chinese cooking - I can really use a wok now, before I was just playing around.”

To Sum it Up: 

  • pantry item she can't live without: I eat probably too much canned tuna

  • one or two items that are always in her fridge: Nuts and eggs. I buy these almonds from Spain. They are not steamed or chemically pasteurized, as required for all U.S. grown and sold almonds, even those labeled as "raw". I soak 8-10 overnight in water and eat them in the AM. A Jain doctor told me a few years ago it’ll help prevent cognitive decline. I’m all about preventing cognitive decline.

  • her go-to inspiration cookbook: Jerusalem

  • her most trusted kitchen tool: A microplane - I zest lemon and lime on everything!

  • 5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: all-over-the-place (I have 5 teenagers), homey, 70’s-influenced, global

  • her all-time favorite market: Union Square Greenmarket

  • women she pines for: Oh there are so many - but I love Ellen Bennet for her positivity and honesty, and Rachael Ray for her generosity, Sierra Tishgart for being the sister I never had, Charlotte Druckman for her absolute integrity,  and Christine Muhlke for all the cookies (she’ll get it), and ALWAYS, ALL WAYS my team at Haven’s Kitchen for their energy and dedication every single day.

  • women-made food products she pines for: Seed and MillWhite Moustache, Anita’s Yogurt, Pilot Kombucha, Jeni’s Ice Creams, Ovenly & Partake cookies and Supernatural cookie sprinkles.

  • her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen: Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Chet Faker and Tennis Pandora Station

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