Fans of famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, and Rachael Ray, and home styling gurus like Martha Stewart probably drool a little over the fabulous kitchens in their homes. When these individuals host a show from their homes or give an interview from their kitchens, foodies around the world get a peek at the type of gourmet kitchen a professional in the cuisine industry uses. You can design that same type of kitchen for your own home, regardless of its size. Read on to learn how to add a gourmet kitchen to a tiny house, mansion, or any size home in between.
What separates a gourmet kitchen from a typical kitchen amounts to seven elements. That’s it. You design your home’s kitchen with these seven features, and you’ve created a gourmet kitchen. What you cook in it, we’ll leave up to you.
What Goes Into a Gourmet Kitchen?
Any kitchen can become a gourmet kitchen with a bit of renovation. This level of kitchen design makes it easier to prepare food and offers an entertainment area for guests. To qualify as a gourmet kitchen requires the following seven features:
- Open floorplan
- Functional design using the work triangle
- Spacious island for meal preparation
- High-quality appliances
- Professional-quality fixtures
- Bright ambient and task lighting
- Ample storage space.
The little extra something that makes your gourmet kitchen differ from all others comes down to your favorite foods to make and the appliances required for them, such as a pasta machine or bread maker.
Installing a gourmet kitchen means providing space for all regularly used appliances and more than one person to prepare food at a time. Consider how you use your kitchen and how you would like to use it in the future when designing your gourmet kitchen. Make a list of things you want to do in the kitchen, such as cook big family holiday meals, pop popcorn to string for a holiday tree, bake cookies each week, make dinner for your family every night, etc. Use this list to meet with a kitchen design consultant, a specialist in interior design who can assist you in the design process and the renovation of your existing kitchen.
Regardless of the size of your kitchen, creating an open floorplan for it means moving furniture out. Place the kitchen table and chairs in the dining room. If that’s not an option, build a breakfast nook as part of the renovation and ditch the kitchen table and chairs altogether.
Your open floor plan provides entry and exit to the dining room, so you can easily serve food. It might also open into the living room or den. This makes entertaining guests at home easier.
Functional Design Using the Work Triangle
This open space design provides for the introduction of the work triangle. If you’ve watched Gordon Ramsay’s show, Hell’s Kitchen,” you know about the work triangle, the optimal organization of a kitchen, developed in the 1920s by engineer, efficiency expert, and industrial psychologist Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who called the design circular routing.
The triangle design makes it more efficient for a cook to move from one kitchen need to the next from food storage to the food preparation area to the stove, oven, or other cooking device. In most kitchens, that means you could walk or draw on the floor a triangle formed from the path from the refrigerator and pantry to the sink, cutting board, or food processor on the counter to the stove and oven. The individual cook could stand in one spot and simply pivot to reach any need. When you build a new home, you can easily plan this into your kitchen, but when you want a gourmet kitchen in an existing home, you sometimes need to renovate it to create this triangle of spatial layout.
Spacious Island for Meal Preparation
Gourmet kitchens include a food preparation island designed for entertaining, and dining, and as an added food preparation area. Most kitchens, especially galley kitchens, don’t provide enough meal preparation space. Installing a kitchen island provides added food prep space, extra electrical outlets, and a spot for people to sit while the chef cooks. Adding an island can also mean added storage since most kitchen islands come with cabinets and a drawer built-in.
Even smaller homes and kitchens can leverage the utility of an island without losing floor space. Consider using a rolling utility cart or coffee cart with locking casters. This option lets you move the island wherever you need it. Purchase a pair of barstools or other seating stools that you can move with it.
Also, consider a pull-down island. This type of design doesn’t include storage space, but it does offer added food prep space or a table for people to sit at while you cook. Using either a hand crank, pulley system, or push-button system raises and lowers the butcher block table from the ceiling to counter height. You only pull it down when you need it.
Ideally, the island’s countertop matches the kitchen countertops. Choose a material such as quartz or natural granite that offers choices for most color schemes and less porous material. Less porous countertops stain less and offer an easier-to-clean surface.
When you enter gourmet kitchens, you notice more than fancy countertops. It uses fixtures that make meal preparation easier, such as a gourmet faucet and deep sink. Choose well-made, stainless steel or copper fixtures. These two materials resist rusting, and they offer easy-to-clean surfaces.
Your kitchen consultant can offer suggestions for fixtures that every chef adds to their kitchen for efficiency. These options might include an instant hot water tap or an over-the-stove-top ventilation fan built into the range hood. One fixture that stands alone – the lighting – earns its own spot as a gourmet kitchen element.
Bright Ambient and Task Lighting
Your kitchen lighting requires three types of lighting – ambient, task, and accent. Ambient light refers to the overhead lights, typically housed in fixtures in the ceiling. They provide the brightest lighting in the room, usually about 100 watts.
Task lighting refers to the lighting above specific task areas, such as the range, the oven, the sink, and the chopping area on the counter. This spotlighting offers a brighter light for completing these important jobs. Accent lighting chases away the dark corners some rooms have and adds a warm glow to the room.
Adding lighting does not have to mean hiring an electrician, although many renovations do require this. Consider installing battery-operated or rechargeable USB lights. Either of these options lets you place lights wherever you need them.
Ample Storage Space
All gourmet kitchens offers ample storage space for food, small appliances, dishware, and utensils. How you do this remains up to you. A pantry can provide for this storage or a series of cabinets in the kitchen. Some kitchens use shelving, while others feature top and base cabinets.
Your available space determines which storage option you choose. In a kitchen with little extra available floor space, consider installing top-level cabinets or shelving to provide storage without taking up space. A wall with six to 12 inches of available space works great as an area for shelves or a sliding door pantry.
Gourmet kitchens use high-quality appliances. Typically, an actual gourmet chef includes stainless steel appliances in their kitchen because they last a long time and do not corrode. They also look luxurious as an added bonus.
What appliances should your new gourmet kitchen include? Although some sources say gourmet kitchens must feature a gas range, if you cook well with electric ranges, install that. Gas lets the chef better control the temperature, but electric ranges heat quickly. Which you choose depends on your style of cooking and personal preferences.
Most chefs install a double oven in their gourmet kitchens to speed up the cooking process. This lets you bake dessert while you cook dinner. You can have a gourmet kitchen without a double oven, so don’t worry if your home cannot accommodate this item.
Gourmet kitchens often use French-door refrigerators. Any large refrigerator that offers plenty of cold storage for ingredients works though. Also, consider a small, tabletop refrigerator that can fit in an island cabinet or on top of the counter. This small fridge offers an ideal spot for coffee creamer, milk, etc., or for cooking ingredients that you would not want sitting out on the counter.
Dishwashing machines, also called dishwashers, offer an easy way to keep cookware and utensils clean. Choose one that runs quietly and can handle a high capacity. A design that provides adjustable racks will prove helpful in meal preparation cleanup.
After those essentials, add the appliances that make sense for you and cook your favorite foods. These small appliances might include a pizza oven, air fryer, microwave oven, or bread maker. Perhaps you would enjoy a warming drawer, sous-vide machine, or a wine fridge.
Contractors Needed for a Gourmet Kitchen Renovation
Make a plan for which area you will use as your temporary kitchen while your current one undergoes renovation. Create your mini-kitchen using a portable refrigerator or mini-fridge, microwave, and camp stove, and place it either in the dining room or in the room that opens onto your patio. Test out how this system works before you have the demolition contractors come to knock out walls because once they smash through a wall, you lose that divider and the electrical setup in it.
Some needs prove more obvious than others. Most people know they will need to shop appliance stores for high-quality options, but many people don’t think of the many building contractors they will need to create their new kitchen. Let’s explore the many needs of this major renovation.
Once your general contractor puts in the framing for the new walls, you will need a team of electricians to wire the walls with plenty of outlets. With today’s modern appliance designs, have them install a few USB outlets, too. That provides a way for people to charge their smartphones without taking up an electrical plug that you need for a mixer or microwave.
When you revamp a kitchen, install improved ventilation and add air vents in the room. For this, you need a residential HVAC service. They can extend the function of your existing heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) system.
The sink and faucet upgrades require a local plumber. This individual may suggest updating your kitchen pipes to PVC, a choice that can prevent leak development and avoid the development of rust or other corrosion. This individual will also handle installing a sink in the kitchen island or an always hot water tap, but they do not clean drains.
For gourmet kitchens, your kitchen needs a drain in the floor that whisks away water that spills. For cleaning this type of existing, you need a drain cleaning service. A plumber does install these drains, and either individual can root the plumbing lines of the home’s sinks (and bathtubs) to ensure the water flows well.
While your general contractor works on the walls and installs your new cabinets, you need to consider their available materials choices at the nearby natural stone supplies store. Once you choose your quartz, marble, or other stone for the countertops, the GC purchases it, cuts it, and installs it. You may need more than one slab if you will also match the kitchen island countertops to the main counters.
Gourmet kitchens need lots of natural light, too. Consider upgrading to energy efficient impact windows to lower your utility bills, while increasing the utility of your kitchen. In some cases, you may have already undergone window updates, but one in the kitchen might need repairs.
Not all window repairs require a glazer, but if you need new glass installed, you need to hire a glazer. A GC can repair window frames, screens, and window sills. Who you need to hire depends on the work needed.
Creating Your Gourmet Kitchen
Get started on your gourmet kitchen today by making a plan for the type of cooking you want to do. Contact a kitchen consultant and have them create a blueprint for the kitchen of your dreams – housed in your available space. Creative design and focused appliance choices can help transform any space into one meant for creating gourmet meals.