Kitchens for cooks

A kitchen that is streamlined and functional is a joy to work in and makes everyday life much easier not only for the principal cook, but for every member of the family. The following ideas will help you plan the design and placement of work areas and give your kitchen a professional edge.

  • Plan your kitchen around the classic ‘working triangle’ as far as possible. This means keeping the distances between the stove, sink and fridge as close as possible. If you’re a keen cook, minimising the trips back and forth will make a big difference.
  • Accessibility is the key to a functional kitchen. Arrange storage so your most-used utensils and pots and pans are close at hand and easy to find without scrabbling around in drawers and cupboards.
  • Allow as much bench space as you can. Professional cooks say generous worktops are one of the most important features they look for, so consider deeper than usual benchtops and plenty of counter space.
  • Don’t plan for things you won’t use, even if it’s the latest must-have – will a built-in coffee-maker be worth the extra space it takes up? Do you really need an extra-large fridge and walk-in pantry if you shop often?
  • Buy appliances to suit the way you live and cook. Do the research and don’t be tempted by an array of programs and functions you will probably never use, and may never learn to use efficiently.
  • Where possible, good lighting should be planned from the outset rather than afterthought. Task lighting should illuminate the work surface from above so preparation areas aren’t in shadow.

PROFESSIONAL TIP

Mealtimes are usually hectic times in the average household and most of us home cooks are so focused on food preparation we wouldn’t think to turn the extractor fan on until after the cooktop heats up. It’s a small thing, but professional cooks recommend switching it on 10 minutes before cooking starts so it’s working at optimum strength when it’s needed. That little extra running time means it will be far more efficient, sucking cooking smells and steam away quickly and making the kitchen, and open-plan living areas especially, much more pleasant places. It’s worth a tip worth trying next time you’re cooking.

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2. Island units are ideal in busy kitchens as they’re easy to work around and offer a wide surface area for food preparation. They also provide the option of incorporating casual eating areas, as shown in this good-looking yet functional example, where the table section is stepped down a little for comfortable seating.

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