Attention Kitchen Designers — Learn How to Cook!

I am so tired of kitchen designers who give lip service to being cooks and don”t know how to design a functional kitchen to save their lives! If you can”t put a 4 course meal for eight people on the table in two hours without using a microwave, you don”t deserve to call yourself a kitchen designer.


This beautiful kitchen was recently featured in a major kitchen and bath industry magazine. While most of the article is about the kitchen”s aesthetic design, we get this gem “the designer also mapped out the best way to use a kitchen and specified three sink areas to accommodate the various functions needed to make the space work. With one sink designated for prep, another for dishes and the third for glasses, it reduces the potential for clutter, mess and an overflowing sink.” If you”ve read my book, blog posts or any of my articles, you know this is exactly the philosophy I preach—Use two sinks! Separate food preparation from clean-up.

So why aren”t I jumping for joy and praising this design? Because the designer missed the point. It doesn”t matter how many sinks you have if they aren”t in the right location and don”t have enough counterspace around them. Take the above picture. With refrigerators on the left and range on the right, the apron-front sink featured above is clearly intended to be the prep sink. But there is at most two feet of counter on either side of it. Forget dinner for eight. This “prep area” doesn”t have enough counter space to make tuna sandwiches for two. By the time you get out the cans of tuna, jars of pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard, the loaf of bread, tomatoes, lettuce, and a bowl in which to mix the salad, the entire two feet between the fridge and the sink will be crowded with those items, so you will have to actually build your sandwiches on the other bite-sized piece of counter, forcing you to reach across the sink for all the ingredients. This is why I recommend putting a prep sink to one side of your prep space, leaving as much counterspace as possible in one continuous stretch as you see here:


The beautiful marble island (table?) in the center of this room can”t even pinch hit as extra prep space. Not only does the seating get in the way but it looks like it is table-height, forcing you to stoop in order to make use of that counter, after you”ve relocated the seats. Ihre erste Einzahlung verdoppelt (also 100 Prozent drauf legt) und das bis zum maximalen Betrag von 200 Euro. serif;”>This is a gorgeous kitchen. But is that enough? In an 8,000 square foot house built for entertaining, having two sections of two-foot wide counter for a prep area is simply ridiculous. With a glorious assortment of appliances including what looks to be a four foot range, pizza oven, rotisserie, wine columns and five feet of refrigeration, this kitchen has all the ingredients to be a cook”s dream. The appliances invite, “Come on in, let”s cook,” but the reality will quickly turn into a nightmare. I feel sorry for the homeowner who has invested so much to get such a disappointing result.

It might sound like I am criticizing this particular designer—I want to make it clear I am not. This problem is almost universal in our industry. The leading associations which train and accredit designers don”t make cooking a part of the curriculum. Yes, you need to study surface materials, and cabinetry, and appliances. But you should also study sauces, sauteing, and knife skills. If I had a say, a kitchen designer”s final exam would consist of multiple choice questions, essays, a layout plan AND a Top Chef style cooking test. That would separate the cooks from the posers.

A note about the above photograph. We were cooking for eight people. We made hors d”oeuvres, a main dish, a couple of side dishes and a dessert. Nothing fancy or complicated–and yet as you can see, we are using almost the entire 3-foot by 9-foot island. Two feet of counter is not a prep space, it”s a joke.