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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Kitchen Cabinet Shelving

Organization is Key
Another must for chefs is organization; they don't like clutter, believing it makes cooking less efficient and less enjoyable. Gabriel Kreuther, chef of The Modern in New York City, has beautiful Valverde limestone counters in his kitchen but the amount of counter space is more important to him than the material. "Having multiple large and uncluttered surface areas is key to a well-functioning kitchen," he says, then quotes the chefs' mantra: "Everything in its place and a place for everything." Frustrated by the lack of storage in his kitchen, Stowell plans to add a walk-in pantry — similar to how things are organized in a restaurant — when he renovates his kitchen next year. He likes his kitchen open, with everything accessible, including glassware and plates on open shelves and ingredients in the pantry. "If it's too hard to get to, you won't use it," says Monica Pope, chef-owner of t'afia in Houston, who removed the upper cabinets when she redid her kitchen. She keeps "everyday stuff, like pasta and cereal bowls and coffee cups on three shelves in the kitchen and other glassware and plates are in a cabinet facing the dining room." Bernstein has lots of shelving and cabinets in her kitchen and feels the deep cherry wood cabinets "give a lovely clean look and go well with the metal touches and black granite, creating a warm feeling."

Pot racks are a chef favorite. Ponzek replaced her kitchen chandelier with a handmade chandelier that has a five-foot pot rack built in. "It keeps the things we use all the time accessible," she says. Something Pope wanted readily accessible was space for recycling. She dedicated a corner of her kitchen for recycling. "Even though we are a small family, we fill it every week. It was an important consideration of space and organizing to include a feasible recycling area in the kitchen."

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