Creating a Gourmet Kitchen
An epicurean’s kitchen is equipped with professional appliances, sturdy and easy-to-clean surfaces, and storage for specialty items—a spice collection, a range of pots, pans and utensils. The layout should focus on zones for preparing food, cooking meals, cleaning up and serving. When choosing appliances, the focus is on performance.
Before you begin your kitchen renovation, seriously review how you use your current kitchen and set goals for your remodel. This way, you can stay on track as you make important decisions about floor plan, appliances, cabinetry and more.
Chef's Dream Space
Four work stations, an island with two ovens, eight burners, a griddle, a grill, a salamander, sink and pot filler are just some of the components that support this work-horse of a kitchen. Design by Peter Salerno
Two is always better than one for the serious cook, and this kitchen is equipped with two sinks and two ovens, providing plenty of space for food prep and cleanup. Designed by SPG Architects
Dual sinks are a handy feature for serious cooks; one sink can be used for food prep, while the other can be used for cleanup. Design by Linda McDougald Design and Postcard from Paris; photography by Rachael Boling
Questions to Ask
- What kind of dishes do you prepare?
- What special cookware do you own and use often?
- What appliances need to be accessible every day? What items do you use infrequently?
- What groceries do you always keep on hand?
- Do you need space to store wine?
- Do you prefer to prep food and clean dishes in the same or different spaces?
- How many people cook at one time?
- Do you also entertain in the kitchen or do guests sit/mingle somewhere else in the home?
- Do you focus on baking, and if so, what special appliances do you require? (Keep in mind, chefs and bakers need different features in a kitchen.)
Professional-grade range. Gourmet cooks generally prefer gas ranges, though Nancy Divita, showroom manager at Trevarrow Inc., recommends checking induction cooktops, which heat up faster and deliver heat directly from the source to the pan. Also, there are modular thick-burner stoves with pop-in griddles and other “accessories.”
Double oven. Two is better than one for the gourmet. And one of those ovens should be convection, meaning it has a fan that circulates hot air so food cooks uniformly and efficiently.
Warming drawer. Cost can range from $700 to $2,000, Divita says. But this heating element will protect the moisture of food and allow the cook to keep food warm until serving. A warming drawer holds food for extended periods of time, avoiding the need to reheat in a microwave (which breaks down the molecular structure of food).
Dishwasher drawer. Gourmets might consider a point-of-use dishwasher placed near a bar sink or entertaining area to manage dirty glassware, while reserving the main dishwasher for pots, pans and dishes.
Convection microwave. Paired with a traditional oven, this microwave can double as your basic reheating unit and an efficient convection oven.
Microwave drawer. An alternative to shelf-mounted microwaves or freestanding units that take up counter space, a microwave drawer is concealed neatly among base cabinets.
Refrigerator. Today, stand-alone units are available in counter-depth configurations so they appear sleek and built-in. French-door style refrigerators are attractive and allow a cook to access what’s inside from the left or right while requiring less clearance. Freezer drawers are convenient and ergonomic. The ideal is a separate refrigerator and freezer, but today’s units with dual-compressors do the job. (Single-compressor units on mid-grade and economy refrigerators do not keep produce as moist because the compressor must work double-time.)
Easy-clean, sturdy surfaces. Quartz surfaces are man-made, do not require sealing, are less porous than natural stones like granite, and therefore have better stain-resistance and durability. Available in a wide range of designs produced by several large manufacturers, these products are backed by a warranty (while natural stone generally is not).
Task lighting. Under-cabinet lighting and pendants that focus light on specific work spaces illuminates kitchen zones where prepping, cooking and cleanup take place.
A Kitchen for the Gourmet Chef
Hand-painted tiles on the counters and walls, bleached wood flooring and a butcher block surface combine to create a functional yet inviting environment for a dedicated gourmet cook. The stainless steel appliances and open layout are bonuses for the space, designed by Estelle Jaivin in Los Angeles.
High-End Kitchen Appliances
This kitchen is decked out with high-end appliances, including a double oven, a warming drawer, a steamer and an induction cooktop, all of which make this a chef's dream kitchen. The knotty alder and painted hickory cabinets complement the cedar trim in this gourmet space. Design by Gladys Schanstra.
Spacious Kitchen Counters
This space features gorgeous bamboo cabinets, as well as frosted glass and steel cabinets to offer visual relief from the bamboo texture. There is a nook for the microwave and a visually appealing wine rack above the fridge. With a tambour door in the back corner, it is easy to hide small appliances. And any chef would be happy with this much counter space. Design by Joshua Foss.
Contemporary, Stylish and Functional
This kitchen, designed by Alan Hilsabeck, Jr., has a soft contemporary feel with rich cherry cabinets, a wood butcher block and a breakfast top at the island, all balanced by metallic finishes throughout the space. There are also stainless steel appliances, which provide beauty and function for both the culinary chef and the pastry chef.
Different Kitchen Stations
This kitchen, designed by Barb Ince, offers a variety of stations for the gourmet chef, including a baking area, a prep area with an additional sink, a plate-staging area where all dishes are garnished, a family breakfast area and a banquet seating area for children. Photo by George Lambros of Lambros Photography.
- Hanging pot and pan rack
- Open shelving that displays ingredients in attractive containers
- Inventive knife organizers (such as the magnet strips pictured in our slideshow.)
- Multiple sinks for food prep and cleanup
- Strong exhaust ventilation
- Full-height stone backsplash
- Rubber, large tile or wood floors (easier on the feet)
- Wood butcher block counters for chopping
- Lowered countertop for baking (30-inch height for pastry rolling)