Designing a Kitchen, Part I
Recently, a few friends of mine have come to me for advice, because they’re building new kitchens. “What should I buy?”
Well, that’s a loaded question with many answers. Here are a few tips if you’re considering redesigning a kitchen in your home.
*Consult a pro. Make sure to speak to an architect, or licensed designer before you begin the project. There are many different codes that have to be adhered to. Also, a designer or architect can help you design a space that will be conducive to proper flow.
*Lighting is important. If you don’t have much natural light, and your budget allows it, take out a wall. Natural light is more aesthetically pleasing than artificial light, and can actually affect your mood. If you have to go with artificial bulbs, choose light sources that mimic natural light.
*Islands: Islands create valuable work space. Having a separate water basin on the island is an ideal place to wash vegetables, and drain pasta.
*Dishwashers: There are many different types of dishwashers to choose from these days. They can range from $350.00, all the way up to $3,000.00. Before purchasing a dishwasher, do some research on-line. It’s easy to use the internet to find opinions on different machines, and how effective they are. Make sure that the machine you pick is well insulated, and has a stainless steel tub; this will minimize excess noise.
*Refrigerators: Before shopping, consider your needs: how many cubic feet do you need? Do you require extra freezer space? How does this particular model rate in regards to energy efficiency? One last point… never buy a refrigerator with the freezer on top.
*Stoves: Buy a gas stove. Electric stoves are inefficient, and don’t distribute heat as evenly as a gas range. The more BTUs the better. A BTU is a measurement of thermal energy. More BTUs=more energy. You may not think that you need the extra fire-power, but it’s always nice to know it’s there just in case.
Everyone wants a Vulcan or Viking range. They look nice, and have a commercial feel to them. Before buying a pricier, name brand range, look at some off-brands- they’re essentially the same, and cost considerably less.
Look for star burners. A star burner is shaped just like a star, and usually has five points. Once again, you’re looking for optimal, and even heat distribution.
*Garbage Disposals: Power is important. When buying a garbage disposal, make sure that you get a disposal with a minimum of ¾ horsepower. For a few extra dollars, a 1 horsepower disposal system will almost never get clogged, or have difficulty grinding up food particles.
*Ovens: If you have the room, buy a built-in oven. Built in ovens are easier to use, and can be installed at waist-level or higher. Remember, the less bending over that you have to do, the better. Choose big capacity ovens; the larger the dimensions, the better. Having as much space as possible will allow you to cook multiple items at once.
Consider buying a convection oven. A convection oven uses fans to evenly distribute hot air, resulting in an evenly cooked product, and decreased cooking times.
Thanks for reading Part I!
Chef Chuck Kerber