Pro Chefs Talk About Home-Kitchen Design

Take it from the kitchen pros. Professional chefs share their secrets about efficient kitchen design.

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Copper Stock Pot on Stainless Gas Range Burner

When it comes to kitchen design, professional chefs are surprisingly like the rest of us. They're often limited by space and budget, but they're clearer about what they need and less likely to be seduced by what they don't need, so they don't end up with counters crammed with gadgets.

Size Doesn't Always Matter
"Work with what you have; that is what you learn as a professional," says Michelle Bernstein, chef-owner of Michy's and SRA. Martinez in Miami. Bernstein had to keep the existing layout when she and her husband bought their house and renovated the kitchen. "We couldn't do much; we had the amount of space we had. We sought to make the kitchen comfortable yet aesthetically appealing. It's not large enough to be an eat-in kitchen but it has all that I need." An efficient kitchen is, she says, "designed for economy of movement." In fact her stylish kitchen is so small she doesn't have the airflow for a gas stove and cooks on an electric range. A gas stove is generally a must for professional chefs. Many, like Ethan Stowell, chef-owner of Ethan Stowell restaurants in Seattle, consider a six-burner gas range a necessity. Debra Ponzek, chef-owner of Aux Délices in Connecticut, says "the right stove really depends on how you cook and eat." Her last stove was a Viking six-burner with two ovens, one small and one large. "Now I have a Viking with two large ovens. I found I really needed more oven space."

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