THE KITCHEN FOR THE HOME CHEF
Anyone who enjoys cooking no doubt dreams of the optimal kitchen setup where the magic happens. More counter space, all utensils and appliances well within reach, easy cleanup…they’re all key ingredients (sorry) of the dream workspace belonging to those who enjoy creating something stupendous for family and friends to share and enjoy.
Your counters could very well be the most important decision you’ll make in the design of your kitchen, whether or not you spend a lot of time in prep mode. Weigh the options carefully, as we know there are many. The Spruce gives us a list of the top 10 countertop materials; among the winners are granite, quartz, wood and stainless steel. There are pros and cons to all countertop materials, so take some time to ponder just what you’ll be cooking and how many hours you’ll be working into your decision. Or take it from the professionals. Executive chef Austin Johnson at The Krebs in New York state prefers the durability of soapstone, which he says can withstand 1200 degree heat without cracking. He notes how it also holds up quite well to pasta being rolled on it all the time, which in turn helps the counter to age and gather character over time.
Chefs also agree that you don’t need commercial cookware or appliances in your home kitchen to enjoy your time in there. Higher-end residential appliances throw off less heat, they say, and are generally safer.
You can make your kitchen look inviting with fancy appliances and endless counter space, but really, it’s all about workflow. Johnson declares, “I want to turn around, not walk around,” adding that the kitchen work triangle setup is optimal, “You want everything near to hand so you’re not hopping around all over the place.” Within the triangle is a strategically placed refrigerator, prep area and cooking zone. Chef Alyssa Plummer concurs, while also recommending storing your most used utensils like spatulas, wooden spoons, and various knives, into a container placed within easy reach of your cooking and prep areas.
Chef Gabriel Kreuther chef of The Modern in NYC insists via HGTV that organization and clutter reduction is a must for every home, quoting the chefs’ mantra, “Everything in its place and a place for everything,” adding that having multiple large and uncluttered surface areas is key to a well-functioning kitchen. Pot racks are part of the accessibility solution as well and are generally a chef favorite. Debra Ponzek, chef-owner of Aux Délices in Connecticut, swapped out a chandelier in her kitchen for a handmade version that has a five-foot pot rack built in.
But what about the sink, you ask? You’ll want a deep one that can easily accommodate large pots. Or take it a step further and get yourself a two-sink setup where one can be for washing vegetables while the other holds the dishes. Sink placement is critical to the busy at-home setup as well. A central location between the stove and refrigerator with counters in between could serve you well, or if there is an island or available counter space, put your sink right across from the stove so you can turn from one to the other with a single step, as Ponzek did.
OPEN ROOM DESIGN
While the home chef obviously enjoys cooking, he or she also most likely appreciates entertaining and serving guests their deliciously-prepared meal all at once. The popular open room design blends the two quite well. Put some stools around the island so guests can hang while you cook. This setup more than invites guests into the kitchen, where they generally end up anyway.
With a little foresight and planning, a successful home chef’s kitchen can be every professional’s dream, offering a lifetime of memories with friends and family. J. Sweet Construction has been designing and remodeling kitchens for close to 20- years. Let us put our experience, honesty and integrity to work for you!