A restaurant kitchen is as much an engine room as a theatre of food. How can you incorporate the best of both worlds?

The Culinary Equipment Company’s portfolio includes the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Restaurant kitchens today are not too dissimilar from domestic kitchens: they are stages for engaging the diner in the preparation and theatre of food. However, a restaurant kitchen is more an engine room than an aesthetic space. So how does a designer incorporate the best of both worlds?

Bring the show to the foreground

The chef at the pass of the kitchen is the conductor of his kitchen “orchestra”. This pass is also the bridge between the kitchen and the dining area. A kitchen planner knows therefore that the chef needs a clear line of sight into each section, with the ability to communicate with his brigade. A well-designed open plan kitchen, therefore, is designed with communication and flow in mind and the chef’s pass as its focal point. The patrons in the restaurant will sense harmony and feel engaged when the kitchen design is unobstructed and clearly designed to enhance the visibility of each section.

Choose equipment to flaunt the space

When budget permits an open plan kitchen benefits massively from a central cooking island. Not only does a central cooking island look magnificent, it optimizes the space of the kitchen to a T. According to Stefan Gutstadt of Culinary Equipment Company “today’s best show kitchens have custom fabricated island cookers” that are built to order with specially positioned Planchas, fryers, burners, plating areas, raised salamander, water points and even built in undercounter refrigerators.

Use lighting effectively

Lighting in an open kitchen should begin with the pass; special heat lamps that zoom into the pass will help keep food warm before being collected. Additionally, lighting inside the kitchen provides functional luminance while also needing to be aesthetically pleasing from the outside. To this end, the designer should include enough total functional light while ensuring that the space creates a warm and inviting feeling.

Plan storage to minimize clutter

Storage in any kitchen is important, but in an open kitchen it is imperative. Reducing clutter, and seamlessly integrated low and wall mounted cupboards should be provided; preferably in stainless steel. Creative designers know that beautifully integrated storage spaces will give chefs all the tools and ingredients within easy reach of their station, while also ensuring the kitchen appears uncluttered from the dining area.


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