Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Turn a Gourmet Kitchen into a Chef's Studio
Zack Bruell, chef and owner of four renowned Cleveland restaurants - Parallax, Table 45, L'Albatros and Chinato - shares his secrets regarding the best kitchen tools and design.
"While the kitchen is the social center of the home, it's also the place that requires the most functionality. It's where you prep food, cook, serve, eat and clean. That's a lot of activity for a relatively small space," says Bruell.
Keeping things cool
Any chef will tell you that one of the secrets to cooking like a pro is using fresh ingredients. To keep your produce and meats crisp and moist even longer, Bruell recommends investing in a professional-grade refrigerator.
While these may take significantly more floor space than standard refrigerators, professional-grade options feature the ability to store more items in multiple large compartments, and set separate temperatures for the different areas. Some brands offer extreme innovation, with microchip-operated defrost cycles, touch-screen pads and slide-out storage. LG even offers the added luxury of a 15-inch screen that can handle DVDs.
If you're concerned that a professional-grade refrigerator will put a damper on your kitchen decor - not to worry. Many models, including the GE Monogram All-Refrigerator, can be personalized to match the cabinetry in your kitchen and include your choice of handles.
Professional-grade cooktops, such as the 48-inch Dacor Epicure Dual-Fuel Range, offer two self-cleaning ovens (both at 21 inches deep), an infrared gas broiler and six gas burners with continuous grates over the top. In addition to sheer capacity, professional-grade ranges have burners that can handle everything from slow simmering to high-speed searing, and small pots to large woks. Some cooktops even do the work for you - GE's Monogram Electric Induction Cooktop features a pan size sensor, which automatically adjusts the heating element to the size of the pan.
Faucets for foodies
The workhorse behind any professional kitchen is the faucet - or faucets in many cases. "You need a good faucet with a restaurant-style, pulldown or pullout sprayer for cleaning fruits and vegetables, but it's also important for fast and efficient cleanup," says Bruell.
A second faucet to consider in a chef-inspired kitchen is a pot filler. These faucets, which are installed over a range, not only provide a distinctly industrial look, but they also are extremely efficient. The new ShowHouse Modern Pot Filler offers a quick-fill rate of 5.5 gallons per minute, which enables you to fill a large pot with ease and eliminate having to carry heavy pots of water from sink to stove.
Designed with style, utility and safety features, the ShowHouse Modern Pot Filler folds against the wall when not in use and conveniently extends 24 inches, via its double-joint extendable arm, to deliver water to pots from above. For convenience and safety, the Modern Pot Filler features dual shut-offs at the base of the filler and at the spout. Water is first turned on at the base and after the swing arm is positioned over the pot, water can be turned on and off using the handle at the spout - so you don't need to reach over a hot pot or open flame to turn off the pot filler.
Plenty of prep space
Every good chef knows that cooking requires plenty of counter space. Bruell applies a "less is more" rule here, as you don't want to overcrowd counters with too many small appliances. Choose the most-used items, such as a coffeemaker, toaster, mixer and blender, to have out in the open and place other items and equipment in a nearby pantry or cabinet. Just be sure to keep them easily accessible - and within three or four steps of your primary work station.
Bruell also recommends creating a separate area with a prep sink and faucet between the refrigerator and stove. Here, you can rinse and cut food items in close proximity to where you will be using the ingredients next. For more information on professional-style faucets, visit shfaucets.com.