In this island house, the queen doesn’t cook
Geraldo Schaun needed some space. A chef who loves to cook, Schaun needed more counters, more burners, more storage and more room to create his culinary creations. He needed a new kitchen.
And he got one. In fact, he and wife Kelly de Schaun, with the help of local architect Cate Black, remodeled their new Galveston home with a special emphasis on the kitchen. Schaun enjoys cooking foods that are new to his Galveston neighbors, but each delicacy he prepares comes with a story, he said.
When the couple moved into the mid-century modern house, Geraldo Schaun decided it would feature a one-person kitchen.
“Only me,” he said, adding that friends and family could watch and enjoy his “cooking show,” but from the other side of the bar. The kitchen isn’t small. In fact, it’s a very nice size. But Schaun needs all the space to properly prep and prepare his meals, he said.
The couple renovated the kitchen by moving the large refrigerator across the room and building shelves to house his cookbook collection. Schaun, who is Brazilian but operated restaurants in the Dominican Republic for 30 years, keeps a wide variety of resource books in Portuguese and English. But his favorite foods to cook are Italian, specifically fresh pastas, raviolis and his Supreme Lasagna.
He has, however, found a niche in international “street” food, such as the Brazilian fried coxinha, an appetizer of dough stuffed with chicken, spices and cream cheese. He also likes to prepare triangular esfiha, a baked pastry stuffed with meat and made with peppers and cinnamon and has Middle Eastern origins. He also cooks North African kibbeh balls, which are special wheat-stuffed balls of meat and onion, fried to a crispy and crunchy finish.
Schaun remodeled the house with entertaining in mind. His focus was on the kitchen, which is a bright room with five windows, allowing for natural light all day. The couple set up a small table for in-kitchen dining, although they mostly use a massive square mahogany table in the dining room. Schaun brought the table and its eight matching chairs from the Dominican Republic, where it was crafted, he said.
When it came to designing his kitchen, Schaun set his priorities on quality, he said. He chose stainless steel Viking appliances — a six-burner gas stove, an oven, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and warmer — because he wanted and needed the professional-grade appliances, he said. He replaced countertops with a contemporary gray and white quartz, with taupes and warm, neutral swirling designs. He transformed the backsplash around the work areas with a lively geometric design of green and gray glass tiles, and painted the walls a deep yellow. The cabinets are a deep slate color and the floors are white porcelain wood grain tile.
He grows his own basil, oregano and rosemary and makes his own special oils for pizzas. And he harvests bananas and papayas from his garden.
He proudly points to the sign in his kitchen: “En esta casa, la reina no cocina,” which means, “In this house, the queen does not cook.”
“I am the cook here,” he said. “Everyone else can sit and watch.”
Perhaps one of the best parts of his kitchen is the adjacent pantry, which is an oversized closet with floor-to-ceiling narrow shelves to hold spices, cans, boxes and bottles of items Schaun uses in his recipes. But if Schaun could have designed his “perfect” kitchen, he would have installed a small additional refrigerator next to the stove to keep his in-progress foods chilled, he said. He also would have opted for pull-out drawers in all the cabinets to hold his array of tabletop appliances, he said.
Although he loves entertaining at home, Schaun has his eye on a little commercial space in Galveston where he hopes to soon open a restaurant, he said. In the meantime, he’ll start making crepes and his assortment of appetizers and international fast foods and take them to the public at Galveston’s Own Farmers Market.