Fit for a Chef


Whether it’s used for crafting gourmet cuisine or meal prepping for family dinner, a kitchen can be customized to create an organized and efficient workspace. Here, local cabinetry experts identify practical customizations that can elevate home kitchens into spaces fit for a chef.

Pig House Cabinets Eric JohnsonPig House Cabinets | Eric Johnson

The simple things are often overlooked in designing a kitchen; it is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest novelties and accessories, which can distract from the basics. The first step in making a great cooking kitchen is as simple as appliance placement. From the beginning of the design phase, installing appliances in the most functional places is key. Gourmet cooking requires many steps and phases, which can be made so much easier by having appliances in the best locations. Next, make sure that the storage location for utensils coordinates with the workspace you plan to use them in. In my opinion, elevating a kitchen is all about planning and designing a workspace that is streamlined for you.


kris keith classic cabinetryClassic Cabinetry | Kris Keith

Transforming kitchens into ones fit for a chef means creating clutter-free, purposeful spaces. Minimizing steps between prep, sink, and cooking stations maximizes efficiency. Pantries or larders close by keep dry goods and small appliances both organized and handy. Internal accessories to store utensils, spices, trays, and cooking items minimize countertop clutter, maintain organization, and allow for immediate accessibility. Reducing open cabinets and shelving further enhances a clean, uncluttered space. Finally, the larger the sink, the better. Large sinks that include culinary tools such as cutting boards, garnish boards, utensil caddies, and serving boards transform ordinary prep and cleanup sinks into next-level cooking, serving, or entertaining workstations.

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Ana Woodworks llc Carol MacKinnonAna Woodworks, LLC | Carol MacKinnon, CKD

I want to invite ease when I am designing a kitchen. If you want to improve an existing kitchen, look at each cabinet and its use. Consider which items are regularly needed next to the sink and cooking area, and which can be moved to a secondary location. For example, keep the main pots and pans near your cooktop and store the less-necessary ones elsewhere. Next, look at the countertop space. Having plenty of work surface is ideal. I advise my customers to clear their countertops and start over, keeping only the essential items on the countertop and storing other items in a cabinet or pantry.


Jackie Howard Scarlett's CabinetryScarlett’s Cabinetry | Jackie Howard

There are many features which distinguish a chef’s kitchen from an everyday kitchen. Ovens with options of convection and steam, along with warming drawers, allow chefs to cook large meals at various temperatures. A gas cooktop with high BTUs can achieve large flames for searing but also be lowered to a simmer. Deep sinks and large dishwashers allow for more time to cook, and not clean! Quality refrigeration, like Sub-Zero, have air purification systems that allow food to remain fresh for longer. Chefs need quick access to their tools, and with the organizational dividers available for today’s kitchen, tools can be conveniently organized near your prep space. If you design a kitchen fit for a Top Chef, you have a true investment, because we all know the kitchen is the heart of the home!

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Cross Cabinets Nancy HetemCross Cabinets | Nancy Hetem

Organization is key – a chef wants things to be close at hand and readily available. The unique inserts for cabinets have really changed over the last 10 years, making this possible. There are knife drawers available for vertical or horizontal storage and spice and utensil pullouts that can be located on either side of the stove. Deep drawers for pots and pans under a cooktop are also very handy. A tray divider that stores items vertically can be located over the oven for convenience. Trash pullouts can accommodate a cutting board and have recycling bins or even compost solutions built in. Another time-saver is a pot filler over the stove – especially for pasta fans!


wood Hollow Cabinets Nicki BartenfieldWood Hollow Cabinets | Nikki Bartenfield

When designing a kitchen, think about the real-world use of your space. Look at your kitchen and consider the spaces where you will cook, prepare, and store food. Implementing relevant organizational inserts, accessories, and details at these stations can make your kitchen more functional and customized to your cooking needs. Place trash cans, cutting boards, and in-drawer knife blocks near your prep area. Adding spice inserts and pullouts makes seasoning easily accessible while cooking. Inserts can also add order to your collection of containers and tableware. Rubbermaid drawer inserts can sort the plasticware that we all accumulate, while cutlery inserts and peg drawers can create organized storage for silverware and dishes.

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