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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Interestingly enough, it is often style — not cost — that determines just how far the high-end prosumer will go to keep pace with a bona fide professional restaurant kitchen. True professional kitchens are designed to be antimicrobial, easy to clean, scratch- and scuff-resistant and fire retardant. This translates into a sea of stainless steel, with no tolerance for wooden cabinetry, butcher-block countertops or that cushy armchair by the window. "Today's prosumer kitchen has to be fashionable as well as practical," Steve says.
The prosumer cooking experience also needs to pleasurable. Features like sound-deadening pads in stainless sinks, while wholly unnecessary in professional kitchens, find their way into today's home models. Other sink amenities include slots for filtered water, instant hot faucets, and soap and lotion dispensers.
Budget-minded home cooks aren't excluded from the prosumer trend. According to Alan Abrams, there are fewer costly ways of introducing professional-style features into the kitchen.
"All appliances, from high- to low-end models, now offer stainless steel finishes," he says, "which give them the look and feel, if not performance, of pro-style appliances for considerably less money."
Other cost-conscious approaches include installing high-arching faucets, deep, under-mounted stainless steel sinks and utilizing open-wire shelving for quick access to pots and pans. "But then you need to invest in attractive cookware," Alan adds.
The Center for Kitchen & Bath Education and Research (CKBER) is a philanthropic organization (established by the National Kitchen and Bath Association) dedicated to funding the growth and vitality of the kitchen and bath industry through education and research.
Carter Oosterhouse shows how to add counter space in the kitchen.