For most of us, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Expensive materials and upscale finishes are common in today’s kitchens, and kitchen remodels can cost as much as a modest home. When shopping for a home, we frequently encounter fancy terms describing the kitchen, such as a chef’s kitchen or gourmet kitchen. Let’s take a closer look at what a chef’s kitchen is.
What is a Chef’s Kitchen?
While no formal definition exists for a chef’s kitchen, it can be described as a kitchen that has everything a professional chef would need. A chef’s kitchen comes equipped with high-end appliances not usually found in a regular kitchen, abundant storage, and space to accommodate multiple people preparing a meal.
When studying real estate listings, the term “chef’s kitchen” may intrigue you and attract you to a particular home, but a chef’s kitchen is certainly not for everyone and you need to consider whether it’s worth the extra cost you’d have to pay for a home that comes with one. On the other hand, if you are a wannabe celebrity chef, buying a home with a ready chef’s kitchen might be a smart move, for the resale value of one will always be lower than the investment that had gone in having it built, plus you’d be able to start whipping up culinary masterpieces the day you move in.
Common Features of a Chef’s Kitchen
Open Floorplan with Ample Space
A chef’s kitchen needs to accommodate more than one person working at the same time at multiple prep stations. That calls for an open floorplan with easy access and a generous amount of counter space.
Counter space is essential in a chef’s kitchen so multiple people can efficiently work at multiple prep stations. A chef’s kitchen will always feature a large island, and some chef’s kitchens may even have two islands. These islands will have large sinks for washing ingredients and dishes, possibly a cooktop, multiple storage cabinets and drawers, and electrical outlets for appliances used in food preparation.
Gas Cook Range with High BTU
Professional-level cooking requires a gas range with 6-8 burners to accommodate multiple dishes cooking simultaneously and a much higher BTU (British Thermal Units) than a typical home kitchen. That allows for boiling water very quickly as well as searing meat and seafood at high temperatures. Ranges found in chef’s kitchens may also have a grill or a griddle to allow for multiple ways of food preparation. Some may have a faucet over the range for easy filling of pots with water. A professional quality ventilation system is also required to quickly eliminate cooking odors and fumes.
A single oven that is usually sufficient in a regular home kitchen won’t do for a chef’s kitchen, where multiple dishes may need to be cooked at different temperatures at the same time. A chef’s kitchen will feature at least two high-end ovens, one of them likely a convection or steam oven.
Multiple Deep Sinks
A chef’s kitchen will usually contain more than one single compartment deep sink, sometimes with dual faucets for extra convenience. Sinks will be located in islands as well as countertops.
Sub Zero Refrigerator and Freezer
Large professional quality refrigerators and freezers are a necessity in a chef’s kitchen. These accommodate all the many ingredients needed by the chef and keep them fresh for as long as needed. These appliances feature vacuum seals and elaborate filtration systems to eliminate odors and bacteria.
When a multi-course meal is prepared, warming drawers will keep food hot before it is served and will stay conveniently out of the way when not needed.
Multiple Cutlery Organizers and Drawers
A chef preparing an elaborate meal will need everything at her fingertips and it is, therefore, important to have all the tools and gadgets well organized and easily accessible. A chef’s island will typically contain storage for all such items.
More than one Dishwasher
To keep a chef’s kitchen organized and the process moving smoothly, dirty dishes need to be put away and washed as they accumulate. That is usually achieved by adding an extra dishwasher or at least installing an extra-large dishwasher with enough room to accommodate the dishes used during the meal preparation and prevent clutter in the sink.
What Is the Difference Between a Chef’s Kitchen and a Gourmet Kitchen?
If you are considering a remodel of your existing home to upgrade your kitchen, the first thing to consider is whether you truly need a chef’s kitchen or whether a gourmet kitchen would satisfy your needs. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but the two are not the same.
A chef’s kitchen, as already mentioned, has everything a professional chef preparing elaborate meals for a large number of people would need. A gourmet kitchen is a more casual version of a high-end kitchen, designed for a serious cook who wants to prepare quality meals for the family and impress dinner guests with elaborate meals, but who does not need all the professional-level equipment that’s a must for a chef’s kitchen.
Gourmet kitchens are typically more personalized and designed around the culinary needs of a particular chef – the homeowner. For example, a gourmet kitchen may contain tools and supplies for a cook who loves canning fruits and vegetables or someone whose passion is baking or perhaps geared toward the needs of a vegan household.
Chef’s Kitchen Design Ideas
So you are ready to design your own chef’s kitchen. Start out by deciding what’s most important to you and design the rest of the space around it. If you are working with a limited amount of space, make it as functional as possible.
- Minimize the clutter, clearing your countertops of any decorative items that have no functional value and making sure everything you need is within an easy reach.
- Design your space for the economy of movement. Keep your workspace, sink and garbage within close distance of one another.
- Get top-quality appliances and have them built in whenever possible to maximize space and create a clean professional look.
- Select a large, deep, durable sink and a faucet that will work best for you. If space allows, install a second sink.
- Countertops are the most important space for your food prep. Consider professional quality stainless steel or durable granite slab. You may want to incorporate space for your guests to enjoy a glass of wine while you are cooking. Two-tiered countertops are a great solution to separate cooking and dining space.
- Organize your kitchen so that the items and tools you use the most are easy to access. Consider hanging your pots and pans on a rack above your workspace. Unpack your dry goods and store them in labeled containers to easily identify and access them.
- Invest in a quality wine cooler to display your prized vintages and keep them at their best.
- Plan the lighting to make food preparation safe and efficient and create a welcoming atmosphere. Ambient lighting on the ceiling will keep your kitchen bright, task lighting at important work spaces will make the cook’s job easier, and accent lighting over the counters/island, under cabinets, along the counter perimeter and inside the cabinets will create special interest and invite conversation.
- When selecting the flooring, consider comfort, ease of maintenance and the beauty it will add to your kitchen.
A chef’s kitchen is the ultimate object of desire for a serious chef. Whether shopping for a home with a chef’s kitchen or remodeling your existing kitchen, extensive research and careful planning will ensure you will have the kitchen of your dreams.
Last Updated on November 22, 2021