Chef’s Paradise - Designing a Kitchen for Food Lovers

In a statement that goes down as one of the most obvious ever put in type, a kitchen is for cooking. However, some people take this matra far more seriously than others.

While most are happy with two hobs, a microwave and mid-range fan-oven, there are those who baulk at the idea of using less than 8 pans at once. Half inconspicuous citizen, half culinary maestro - this post is for those who want to create the ultimate chef’s kitchen. So hide the microwave, sharpen those knives and get on the phone to the michelin man - we’re taking a trip to the land of the professional home kitchen.

Go for Gas

Walk into a restaurant kitchen and nine times out of ten you’ll be greeted by the sight of a gas-powered oven. Although years of tradition underpin their popularity, the real reason is that gas is the most responsive style of hob available today, providing an instant and even heat to whatever pan is used. In addition to this, gas ovens also allow for higher precision when cooking, unshackled from the classic 1 to 6 settings found on the electric counterparts. The latter also cycles through stages of on and off to achieve the desired heat level. While okay for regular cooking, it does mean that components that require a steady hollandaise sauce, sorry - heat source - can be difficult to prepare.

Less is more

When most people think of a chef’s kitchen they typically think of a large, grand affair - worthy of the feasts produced within. In reality this image couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s not to say chef’s kitchens are small; instead they’re designed to be highly efficient, minimising the amount of steps needed to prepare a meal.

The most important part of this efficient kitchen is having the fridge as close as possible to the oven and prep surface, normally within 2-3 steps. Another myth is that a kitchen needs to have thousands of gadgets, pans and utensils lining the walls and work surfaces, ready to grab at a moments notice. Contrary to this, professional chefs like to keep their kitchens as clear as possible, utilising all the drawers and cupboards at their disposal to give them the space to work and plate their food. Using a longer running central island is just one way to maximise the amount of counter space and storage, all the while keeping important appliances close to one another.

Sink about it

Even if you’re a master of the one-pot meal, the chances are you’ll have days where the washing up will be substantial. Having two sinks can be a lifesaver in these scenarios, allowing you to fill pots in one and rescue pans in the other. Alternatively, they can be great for when you have a partner in crime, enabling prep and washing to be done simultaneously. Although it seems like an extravagance, many chefs swear by the two sink system - just make sure that they aren’t placed in a way that’ll disrupt your main work surfaces.

Keep mealtimes light

Plentiful, natural lighting is a great feature for any kitchen, but it takes on extra importance in the food-lovers abode. As well as bringing out the design features of the room, it also gives a chef the ability to fully observe everything around them - from the exact colour of braised lamb to the fact that vegetables are about to over-boil in the corner. In addition to this there’s a safety concern - no-one wants to rest a hand on a still steaming risotto.

Don’t forget that good lighting is a godsend when it comes to cleaning up, bringing pesky and unhygienic stains straight to the attention of the antibacterial spray. If you’re unfortunate enough to have limited options for natural lighting (living underground or on the moon for example) then powerful overhead spotlights are a good option. Installing dimmable varieties gives the additional benefit of transforming the kitchen from a functional area to one of relaxation.

Speaking of…

Remember that the kitchen is still part of the home

Restaurant kitchens are great for preparing food, but would you choose to draw up a chair and eat a meal in one? It’s doubtful. While joy lies in creation, it should also be in the enjoyment of a meal. A great atmosphere is the foundation of this experience.

In order to keep the kitchen at the heart of the home, consider the overall style of the surroundings. There’s no definitive rule that says one type of kitchen is better than another for cooking; some professional chefs have country style kitchens while others enjoy a more minimalist vibe. Others still see the kitchen almost exclusively as a living and dining area - presumably sick of pots, pans and references to Ratatouille.

One trick is to use the previously-mentioned long island as a physical and psychological barrier. On one side it’s clear that only those involved in cooking are allowed but the other is a space where family and guests can sit and mingle, still able to talk and freely move around. Another tip is to forgo the vast amounts of stainless steel used in commercial kitchens. While a small amount is great for resting pans and preparing food, larger quantities can look out of place, detracting from the warmth of the home. If you still want an effortlessly stylish yet practical surface you could do worse than to go for a classic granite worktop.

Embrace your genius

A top chef is more than a preparer of foods, they are an artist. As such, they each have their own style, preferences and quirks. If you find you use the same set of knives for every meal no-one is stopping you from installing a seamless magnetic knife rack. If you like to dance while you cook, why not build a sound system into the room? At Squarepeg Kitchens we know that the possibilities of a bespoke kitchen are endless, so get in touch today to find out more! - That michelin star won’t award itself…
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