While cooking and preparing food may be low on some people’s list of priorities, for others these activities will completely dominate the kitchen design ideas: full-time cooks and caterers may only really feel at ease in a room that has been devoted to working with food rather than dining and entertaining.
Professional kitchen design ideas are planned as workplaces, taking into account the exacting regulations of commercial hygiene standards. And it is worth noting that if you will be producing food for public consumption in your kitchen, the same constraints will apply, even in what you would consider your domestic environment.
This hard-edged, industrial-looking style of kitchen may appear intimidating if you do not cook regularly for vast numbers of people, but a meticulous consideration of efficient ergonomics achieves an unexpected degree of comfort which can be very attractive. An uninterrupted run of work surfaces allows the cook to move around the kitchen at speed; in stainless steel, the preferred surface of professional cooks, it will be extremely hard-wearing and resistant to excessive heat and both acid and alkaline stains.
The worktop may also include a large built-in hardwood chopping board, with a pull-out waste-disposal drawer beneath into which to scoop vegetable peelings, and perhaps a slab of cool, smooth marble as well, traditionally the best surface for rolling pastry. Otherwise a freestanding central work station with all-round access may include both cooking rings and a sink for washing fruit and vegetables. The height of all these worktops needs to be carefully calculated because at the wrong height they will make preparing and cooking food unnecessarily tiring.
Most professional cooks prefer to have access to both gas and electricity for cooking. They need bigger ovens to accommodate larger trays and baking sheets and often their stovetops have integrated charcoal barbecues, grills and griddles. Cooking on a large scale generates a huge amount of heat so an extractor hood that more than covers the gas or electric rings reduces heat and steam to maintain a pleasant working atmosphere.
Task-specific lighting is important, so that delicate jobs like filleting and icing can be undertaken without having to fight with your shadow: halogen spots provide glare-free illumination for the front of worktops and some extractor hoods incorporate a good light. Meanwhile rows of spots above the counters offer flexibility and efficiency.
Regularly used pans and utensils are always within reach – either hanging above or immediately beneath the stove. Industrial units, with adjustable shelves and frames, from which utensils may be hung, provide strong, flexible storage; they can either be fitted or freestanding.
Open shelves above worktops display more equipment, which may have been chosen for its stackability, while tall, deep shelves at lower levels are used as dry food cupboards for catering-size jars, cans and more weighty items. Many cooks prefer wide drawers so all the contents are visible from above, and can be easily removed and replaced. Razor-sharp knives – a cook’s most precious equipment – are carefully protected in a knife rack or felt-lined drawer.
One or even two dishwashers are essential rather than a luxury here, and they need to take a wide range of items: pots and pans as well as the standard dinner service.