Wanted to share this article. What I have, and what I want, might take a little thinking - or take up a chapter.
Keys to Creating a Kitchen That Works
By Chris Casson Madden
Scripps Howard News Service
Innovative solutions such as a drawer devoted to spices are a plus for an organized kitchen. (SHNS photo by John Vaughan / Chris Madden Inc.)
If you've ever spent any time behind the scenes of a restaurant kitchen, you know that the preparation of delicious meals is a fast-paced choreography between chef and sous chef, salad maker, grill cook and wait staff. It is an economy of motion within an economy of space, with the goal being the prompt service of food.
I don't see a kitchen in a home as being much different. With our hectic lives, we multi-task while we cook, people eat on the run and a meal where everyone sits around the table together is often a rarity. For some, cooking is a necessary evil. For others, like me, it is enjoyable. But no matter what your style, creating a kitchen that's efficient and convenient should be a priority whether you are a simple cook or have the heart and saucepans of a gourmet.
However, the way we use our kitchen space today is changing. In fact, a survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) found that most women not only work but also share the cooking duties with others in the home. They also prepare very few dishes from scratch, which means today's cooks need pantry space for any number of packaged food items.
There are three important keys in creating a kitchen that works with you and not against you: plan the space for efficiency, choose the right appliances and pay attention to storage needs.
You may need the help of a pro, but whether you are remodeling or reorganizing, deciding how your space will accommodate prep work and cooking is a must. While the classic "kitchen triangle" layout and its variations are still workable, today's kitchen designers more often are creating multiple work stations to allow more than one person to work efficiently without getting in anyone else's way. Adding an island is the most common way to make this happen.
There are some truly wonderful major appliance options out there that can turn the least skilled of us into the next Julia or Emeril. The trend to stainless steel continues, which goes with all decors. In particular, gas ranges and cook tops are more preferable than electric because cooks know that gas flames give them more control over the heat, an important factor when cooking delicate sauces.
As far as ovens go, think convection. Convection ovens cook faster and more evenly than conventional ovens and thereby prevent food from drying out. Higher-end models will be more expensive, but will yield more professional results.
Here are some other ways to create a cook's kitchen:
- Place a spice drawer by the main cooking workstation. This lets cooks have their cumin, chives or cilantro close at hand, and racks tailor-made for glass spice jars are available.
- Position a warming drawer next to your cook top. An invaluable cook's tool, a warming drawer can keep an entrée warm while side dishes are prepared.
- Mount a magnetic knife bar on the wall nearest where you chop and slice. The bar keeps cutlery stored safely above your countertop but within convenient reach for prep work.
- Install an ergonomically designed sink. One system manufactured by Franke streamlines food prep and cleanup using a cutting board, measuring bowl, colander, open-bottomed bowl and a stainless-steel grid. Those elements are integrated into the design of the main under-mounted sink. Both Kohler and Kallista are also designing interesting new looks for sinks.
Just as you would put together any recipe, so should you find the right ingredients for your kitchen to make it work for you and your family and enjoy the added benefits of smart design in one of your most-used spaces.