Ever wonder why a restaurant kitchen can function safely and efficiently even when it’s crazy busy, with several cooks preparing food at different stages of completion, all at once?
The secret all lies in the kitchen design.
If you want a kitchen at home that can handle a similar level of pressure and chaos (think big family gatherings) or the total lack of it (think laid-back Sunday breakfasts) while also ensuring your household’s safety, why not adopt some restaurant kitchen design ideas?
Here are some practical ideas to use in designing your kitchen so that it can deal with all the smoke, clatters, steam and buzz that come with cooking up great meals at home.
1. Install open shelves
Restaurant kitchens use open shelves for convenience and easy access. If you don’t want your sticky hands to make a mess on your cupboard drawers and doors and their handles, use open shelving to store your most-used items.
Open shelves are much easier to clean than deep drawers and cupboards, and you can quickly see and reach the ingredients you need.
2. Regulate traffic
Restaurant kitchen layouts are designed to prevent obstructions, and consequently, accidents involving several cooks. This should be an important consideration, especially if cooking is a shared activity in your home. Coordinate with an interior fit-out contractor and talk about how you can establish the easy flow of movement around the work zones in your kitchen.
When carrying heavy, sharp or hot items, it is essential to avoid and prevent collisions. Make sure your minimum aisle width is about three feet, but if possible, do all you can to go as wide as five feet. You can opt for a long countertop so that several people can work side by side in your home kitchen.
3. Optimize the kitchen environment
The basics of any commercial kitchen are good lighting technology, proper ventilation, non-slip floors, and low-maintenance surfaces. In a kitchen, all designs create a compromise between these elements to ensure the production of good food.
Get in touch with interior design consultants, check and present your kitchen design layout, and make a thoughtful selection of the ideal appliances or equipment for the area. This way, you can ensure that everything is taken into consideration to suit the limitations of your space and budget.
4. Strategically position disposal holes
Restaurant kitchens typically operate at a quick pace, which is why their countertops have disposal holes with trash bins positioned underneath.
This allows cooks to sweep scraps straight from the cutting board or work surface and into the trash bin. That means not taking the extra steps to scoop up the kitchen scraps, lift the lid on a garbage bin (and get their hands dirty), deposit the scraps, and wash their hands before going back to work.
When handling food, it’s crucial that you don’t touch anything filthy to avoid contaminating the food. So make sure your countertop space looks stylish and neat, while also having a convenient means for waste disposal.
5. Consider your cooking essentials
Before you choose your cooking equipment or appliances, always consider ones that you would require to prepare the food that you are most likely to cook most often in your kitchen.
Also, take into account your ability to use specific pieces of equipment; there’s no point getting into the hassle of buying appliances that you can’t even operate. While state-of-the-art appliances may be nice to have, don’t get them if they contribute little or nothing to your daily meal preparations, or if they do not suit your actual cooking style.
Opt for stainless steel
Stainless steel is a popular material in restaurants for a good reason. You can take cookware out of the oven and place it straightaway onto a stainless steel surface without damaging it. Moreover, you can easily use it as a work surface for rolling pastry without the need for a board.
Even if stainless steel can be a bit pricey, it’s the most hygienic and durable option for kitchens. Plus, you can easily maintain it with a simple wipe down and a steel cleaner. Keep in mind, though, that chopping on steel will blunt your knives, so make sure to use chopping boards when cutting and slicing ingredients.
6. Introduce a good ventilation solution
You need a serious hood, especially when you have open shelving. Restaurant kitchens place importance on good ventilation to eliminate grease before it can damage shelves. Similarly, a home kitchen must have a proper hood and outdoor vent if you don’t want grease ending up in other places in your house.
A vent is a design feature you should prioritize to encourage good ventilation and circulation in your kitchen. Make sure that you keep the fan filter clean and and that there is a window fan to running every time you turn on the stove.
Having everything in place is a vital aspect of excellent restaurant kitchen design. There will be no need to make frequent trips from one corner of the kitchen to another, or spend a long time rummaging through disorganized shelves for ingredients, or risk cross-contamination when disposing of kitchen waste.
By considering the practical ideas above for your home kitchen, you can begin cooking with ease and actually enjoy spending time in your kitchen. And in your well-designed space, you are better equipped to whip up better meals for your family, friends, and guests.
Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.