What's a Prosumer Kitchen?
With restaurant-style features and heavy-duty construction, prosumer kitchen gear promises a higher level of culinary performance. But there are many different levels of "prosumerism."
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You can't flip on a television these days without seeing a celebrity chef. And in our celebrity-obsessed culture, the fact is we want more. Not content to simply admire them on the screen, we book tables at their restaurants, snatch up their latest cookbooks and strive to emulate them at home. The desire to perform like the pros has prompted consumers to install pro-style gear in their home, creating the "prosumer" kitchen.
"The prosumer trend is the result of watching chefs perform on television and watching them cook in open restaurant kitchens," says Steve Kleber, immediate past president of the Center for Kitchen & Bath Education and Research. "The prosumer kitchen allows us to cook at home with the same level of equipment as professional chefs." Prosumer, he adds, is a hybrid of the words professional and consumer.
Motivated by power, control, speed and easy cleanup — or simply fashion — homeowners are springing for pro-style appliances like high-heat ranges and cooktops, large-capacity refrigerators and freezers, multiple sinks, wall-mounted pot-fillers, deep-fryers and even wood-fired pizza ovens.
This demand has in turn motivated manufactures to offer a suite of new products and appliances that were previously available only to professional restaurant kitchens.
"What really kicked this trend into high gear," notes Alan Abrams, founder of Cabinet En-Counters, a kitchen design studio in Cleveland, Ohio, "was when manufacturers like Viking began offering commercial-style ranges that looked like professional ranges, performed like professional ranges, but didn't require all the costly fire-prevention modifications of true commercial equipment." Alan is a Certified Master Kitchen Designer & Bath Designer (CMKBD).
Step aside, Emeril. Now the rest of us want a professional kitchen decked out with all that cool stuff, too.