Three years of your life spent in the kitchen – you need to think more like a chef!
A survey by the Daily Mail revealed, on average, we spend 3 years of our lives in the kitchen which means even the smallest bit of time saved by properly positioning appliances and utensils is more time that can be used doing things that are important to you.
Everyone has at some point thought themselves a professional chef. That moment when you have a minute alone, you have patiently been moving your food around in the pan to keep it from sticking and that’s when you attempt, “The Flip”. You have a quick look around to make sure no one is behind you, pick up the pan, give the stir fry a couple of shakes and on the last one, jolt it forward allowing the contents to fly up in the air and land smoothly back in the pan – and the floor – and the counter – and somehow on top of the fridge a week later (still don’t know how I managed that one).
Many of us want to bring an element of professionalism into our cooking and get restaurant style quality food in our own homes. A lot of this is done by using the latest gadgets and gizmos to achieve the greatest possible outcome within a budget and normally with limited ingredients but what if this professional element was incorporated into the entire kitchen design from the start?
Looking at the structure of a commercial kitchen allows you to analyse the best method for preparing and cooking food that specifically suits you. A lot of work goes into the layout of a professional kitchen to best utilise the time and space available. The layout of your own kitchen is just as important but not only just for convenience and safety.
Planning a kitchen layout can be an overwhelming and time consuming task without proper preparation and advice. You have to imagine how things will fit, how the design will work together and try not to break the bank. Every detail needs to be thought through to avoid issues later on in the project. Appliances such as fridges/ovens can interfere with other objects or the movement of individuals within the kitchen because the opening positions of the appliance doors have been overlooked.
A popular method for ensuring efficient and easy food preparation, storage, cooking and washing is the “Work Triangle”. This focuses on making sure the main appliances (Sink, Oven & Fridge) are laid out in a manner that allows the user to move freely between them but avoids interference between each other. It isn’t recommended for example, to keep your fridge in another room (E.g. Garage/Pantry) as this will disrupt the work flow but on the other hand having all three together means you are always having to go back and forth between the prep and cooking/storage areas.
Not everyone has the space, opportunity or budget to build an industrial style kitchen inside their home of course but that doesn’t mean elements can’t be incorporated. If you are looking to recreate that commercial style, some additions such as big American fridges are becoming increasingly popular within the UK and adding a couple key features can make a big impact. On its own, a big stainless steel fridge in the middle of a traditional style kitchen might look out of place but if you incorporate this with a stainless steel sink, oven and microwave for example, then it allows you to overcome this issue. It works particularly well with white cabinets as the stainless steel appliances break up the expanse of white and with the right lighting you can achieve superior results. This resonates with an article by Kitchen Thinks own Lisa Robinson, who talks about how kitchens in the noughties were quite neutral in colour but now we are seeing an introduction of stainless steel/black appliances. However, putting too many of these statement pieces in your kitchen could harm the style if not careful, as the old saying goes – “Too many cooks!”.
You could also soften the stainless steel scheme with wooden accents and furniture, so there is a blend of a traditional homely kitchen with the industrial kitchen side. Obviously to some, aesthetics isn’t the most important thing however and if we stick with the stainless steel vibe then there are practical benefits to consider as well. First of all, stainless steel has a high resistance to corrosion, can be very strong for its weight and isn’t as affected by changes in temperature as say some woods might be. In terms of hygienic properties, the “cleanability” of stainless steel makes it first choice in not just professional kitchens but also hospitals, pharmaceutical establishments and anywhere where cleanliness is of top priority.
Like all trends this style is particularly subjective in the sense that some may love the idea of bringing in commercial style features or vintage industrial aspects, while others just want their kitchen to feel like a home. However, within this you aren’t limited to a particular style. You could go for a rustic, industrial type layout that focuses on black metals and distressed woods or a more modern commercial style kitchen which highlights stainless steel, straight lines and minimalism.
In the end, you may not be looking to renovate your whole kitchen or maybe you have already started and are half-way through a project. This doesn’t mean you can’t look at how things are done in your kitchen and how best you can utilise your time. Is your layout the most efficient? Is there logic in the positioning of your appliances? Whether you are for or against bringing restaurant style cooking in your own home, you can’t deny that some of these kitchens are truly unique!