I realized I’ve talked quite a bit lately about the growing popularity of professional style kitchens, but I haven’t talked all that much about what that actually means. And unlike many other popular kitchen trends, like white cabinets or granite counter tops, a “professional style kitchen” isn’t entirely self-evident. So today I want to take a look at just that: the elements that go into creating this style, and why the decision is much more than just aesthetic.
Professional Style Kitchen Ranges
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Professional style kitchens are all about bringing the power and convenience of restaurant kitchens into the home. Designed for big time home chefs or really anyone who does a lot of serious cooking, the most important element should be pretty obvious: it’s that thing you cook on. High end designers have started producing spectacularly powerful kitchen ranges, with culinary-style gas cooktops with continuous grates (which allow you to move pots and pans smoothly from one burner to the next) and fast-cooking convection ovens. Many gas or dual fuel ranges have double ring burners, which allow more precise heat control and very fast boiling times. You can also find ranges with modular accessories – grill plates, griddles, wok rings, steamers, and more – that allow for a versatile range of high-heat cooking styles in a single appliance.
Double Ovens And Freestanding Cooktops
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If a powerful range is the most common option for a professional style kitchen, opting instead for a separate cooktop and dual wall mounted ovens is a close runner up. Buying these elements individually allows you greater control over the type of fuel used for your cooktop and oven, and the more modular design allows for a more flexible kitchen layout. You can place each element where it makes the most sense for how you use your kitchen, and improve both the overall appearance of your kitchen as well as your personal workflow.
Powerful Range Hoods
Using restaurant style cooking elements – and the high-heat cooking they allow – almost necessitate equally powerful range hoods. These can be vented or not, installed against a wall or in an island installation, but should have a high enough capacity to pull away all the smoke and grease produced by your cooktop. The larger the cooktop, the larger the range hood should be. In fact, right now it’s trendy to have a range hood that’s even slightly larger than your cooking element to ensure that the space is properly ventilated. The prevalence of stainless steel in professional style kitchens means that range hoods are more often left out in the open, too, rather than hidden inside the cabinetry.
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Industrial Kitchen Sinks
If the kitchen range or cooktop is the focal point of a professional style kitchen, a restaurant-grade sink is the real workhorse. Almost always made of stainless steel with sharp, 90 degree zero radius corners, restaurant style kitchen sinks are wide and deep, with a very high capacity. They may have either one or two bowls, but are much larger and heftier than your average kitchen sink. And like the kitchen ranges, really high end, commercial quality sinks often come with a host of accessories: a sink grid to prevent damage, or even colanders or cutting boards that sit on the edge of the sink, turning a very large sink into an extended work space that rinses directly into the drain rather than messing up your counter space.
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No professional quality sink would be complete without an equally hard hitting faucet, but in a residential setting that can mean a couple of different things. Touch activated faucets are becoming hugely popular because they can easily be turned on and off no matter how messy your hands are. But for a real sleek, modern, professional style, look for faucets with long, flexible necks – often made of a flexible hose surrounded by a bendy spring rather than a solid metal neck. This allows a much more flexible, high powered spray that can be used to rinse dishes anywhere in that large sink. It also makes cleaning out the sharp seams in a zero radius sink easier.
Storage and Workspace
Finally, a true professional style kitchen is about more than just the component fixtures – it’s also about the way the kitchen as a whole is designed. Professional style kitchens tend to have much more counter space, as well as dedicated prep areas like a baking station that help streamline the way you use your kitchen. Ample counter space means you’ll never be lacking for a place to prep, but custom storage space is important too. Increasingly, storage savvy kitchen cabinets are becoming a must-have, from simple features like drawer dividers or pull out shelves, to more innovative solutions like pocket pull out cabinets, spice racks, or pantries that maximize storage and accessibility in the smallest possible footprint.
At its heart, the trend toward bigger, professional style kitchens is a trend toward making your time in the kitchen a little easier. Often this means subtle, personalized features, but as a whole it means finding the best, most efficient fixtures and layout to improve your own personal cooking experience. What features of a professional style kitchen appeal to you? Let me know in the comments!