Dream Kitchens: How To Create The Perfect Kitchen For Cooking
You’d be surprised at how much your kitchen can affect the way you cook. The best chefs all know that it’s not just about the methods and appliances you use, but also the layout and efficiency of your environment. This week, we’re looking at how you can optimise your kitchen – or even create a whole new one – for the ideal cooking experience.
Making Sure You’re Properly Equipped
Perhaps one of the most important factors in creating an efficient kitchen is to make sure you have everything you need to hand. There’s nothing worse than being midway through experimenting with a new meal only to find the recipe demands the use of a tool you don’t have! For the very basics, variously sized pans and a good source of cutlery are a given – but also useful are cheese graters, tin openers, corkscrews, and (most crucially) a good selection of knives. Meanwhile, appliances like microwaves and kettles are universally handy, but other items like blenders and steamers might be worth a look, depending on your preferred meals.
Where To Store Things
Efficient use of storage space comes a close second. Though you don’t want to overstuff your kitchen with cabinets and cupboards, it’s always good to have as many as you can without it feeling cluttered or claustrophobic. If you don’t have room for any more kitchen cabinets or cupboards, with some ruthless reorganisation you can make good use of what you’ve got already.
Consider what you use most in your kitchen, and whether there is any space on your kitchen worktops devoted to appliances you don’t use. That fancy toaster looks great, but do you ever eat toast? If not, it might be time for it to go. If you can’t bring yourself to sell it or give it away, just put it away somewhere and replace it with something you use more frequently.
Keep heavier items on the bottom shelves, to reduce the risk of them falling and damaging themselves – or worse, you! Also, make it easier for yourself to find and access what you need. Daily-use items like plates and cups are best at the front of the cupboards, whereas more specialist appliances (like our hypothetical toaster) can be pushed further to the back.
Maintaining The Flow
Finally, economy of movement is a hugely important principle to the good working of your kitchen. Essentially, this phrase refers to efficiency – performing the maximum number of tasks with the minimum amount of effort. For instance, you wouldn’t keep your teabags on the other side of the room from your kettle, because you’d have to cross the room several times every time you wanted to make a cup of tea. Using the principle of economy of space, you can group together items and appliances on worktops where they’re most likely to be used, to create a ‘flow’ for your kitchen. Divide up your kitchen worktop space to establish different ‘zones’ – preparation, cooking and cleaning. For example, keep your knives and chopping boards close to the preparation area, whereas obviously most of your cleaning is going to be done in the vicinity of your sink.
If possible, you can double-up the purposes of some of your zones in order to maximise their efficiency. For example, if you don’t have room for a dining table, you can always quickly send a cloth over the surface of your breakfast bar or kitchen island, and use bar-stool seating to turn it into a handy dining area!