by Catalogs.com Info Guru Elizabeth Sobiski
Often referred to as the heart of the home, the kitchen is sacred to people who love to cook.
Fortunately, massive space is not required for a professional kitchen of your own. In fact, many chefs prefer a smaller kitchen to spend more time cooking and less time walking from one area to another. Here are the top 10 tips so you can set up your own professional style kitchen at home.
This is an essential element for any kitchen. You’ve probably heard about the magic triangle – with the fridge, cook and prep areas being the three points of the triangle. With this layout, reaching for a forgotten item or giving the sauce a quick stir as you prep other elements of the meal is easy. Trash cans with automatic opening lids let you keep your area tidy.
9. Work Zones
Professional kitchens have a zone for every stage of meal preparation. Have part of your space just for assembling the individual ingredients or mise en place. For instance, this is where you would clean and cut down carrots and other vegetables for a soup. Then you would move over to the cook area to bring the soup to life. Keep commonly used utensils by each area to further simplify your tasks.
Any chef will tell you that the end result depends on the quality of your equipment. That said, higher-end residential appliances are perfect for cooking at home. Leave the commercial equipment to busy restaurants. You’ll save money and energy, while avoiding costly upgrades often required to power and ventilate commercial kitchen equipment.
Granite is beautiful and can make any kitchen look fantastic, as long as it’s assiduously kept up. If you cook a lot, go for soapstone or compressed quartz. Both of these products look good, are easy to maintain, can handle high heat without damage, and are perfect for rolling out pasta or pastry doughs.
6. Pots and pans
Good pans make cooking much easier on the chef. When searching out the best pots and pans, look for ones that are made of heavier gauge materials. These pans will hold heat evenly and are less likely to warp. For low and slow cooking, such as braising, a cast iron Dutch oven is essential. This pan can be used on the stovetop for searing meats and sweating vegetables before heading into the oven. By having one pan for both steps, you don’t lose any flavor and you save on clean-up.
The most versatile knife in any kitchen is the chef’s knife. This is usually an 8 to 10-inch knife with good balance and feel. Try plenty of styles before you settle on a purchase, since this knife will get the most use. Also, look for one with a metal tang, which has the metal of the blade running down the length of the handle. If you’re lucky, the chef’s knife you choose can be part of a larger cutlery set, with a block or magnetic strip for simple storage.
The key to any kitchen, from the smallest to the largest, is organization. Group cookware in one area and keep spices close by as well. The pantry is a great place to keep boxed and canned goods, as well as bulkier items like flour and sugar. Group like items together, such as baking soda and powder near chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Smaller items, such as seasoning packets or boxes of gelatin can be put into a clear container, to keep them from scattering throughout the pantry or cabinet.
3. Cutting boards
Wood cutting boards are a kitchen staple. They handle years of use and take the brunt of food prep. Since they are fairly soft, knives can keep their edges longer instead of dulling on a hard surface. For meat or fish, consider a plastic board. These are a snap to clean and reduce the possibility of cross contamination. You definitely don’t want to cut anything on a board that just held raw chicken – the chances for salmonella are just too high.
A kitchen scale isn’t just for dieters. In order to get consistent results every time you cook, weigh your ingredients instead of measuring them in cups or spoons. This is especially true in baking. How flour measures depends on many variables, from humidity to the pressure used to scoop it. By using a scale, you’ll know that you’re getting the same amount routinely. Who doesn’t want perfect cookies ever time?
Food safety begins with cooking foods to safe temperatures. An accurate thermometer will ensure your food is safe and cooked to perfection. Analog types will give you a reading on the dial while digital options give you quick easy to read digits. No more raw chicken or overdone steaks at your table!