JJ Johnson’s Menu for Summer Entertaining

When I'm cooking at home, I'm always thinking about what the table looks like. It should be colorful — that indicates you have all the necessities to have an amazing meal. I was thinking about summertime when I wrote these recipes, which, to me, represents the best time to share food with family and friends. Summer cooking should be light, fresh, and flavorful, with some things cold and others hot and spicy. I just love eating with a warm breeze.Photos by Noah Fecks

I test a lot of recipes on my family that I want to use in my restaurants, and I try to introduce my kids — who are 2-year-old twins — to new flavors. Having two children makes me cook differently. I actually bought my kids a tiny kitchen set, and it came with fake French fries and hamburgers and chicken nuggets. We went online and found the vegetable kit because those are the words I want my kids to know: strawberries, peaches, plums, broccoli.

People always ask me, "How do you cook at home?" Having the right equipment for the right jobs will help you cook better. And having the full set of Great Jones really helps me execute dishes to the best of my ability. For example, using the nonstick Small Fry to make crêpes — and not making crêpes in a regular pan, where you're scraping the bottom — makes a big difference.