The main thing to remember for your kitchen remodeling project: design your kitchen for how you really cook.
There’s a revolution happening in today’s home kitchens – and it’s changing the way we look at cooking. As more and more folks are trying to eat cleaner and fresher, an entirely new business has sprouted up and taken root – meal delivery kit services.
You’ve heard names like Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and others. They may each have a different focus, strength or selling point, but they all deliver perfectly portioned ingredients to prepare fresh meals to your door. Since everything you need is right there, you’re far more likely to want to cook. And since the recipe is included, you don’t have to agonize over what to make for dinner. A deliciously unexpected side effect of this food revolution is that since it is easy (and dare we say fun!) to prepare meals at home, other family members are getting more involved. Dads who may not have cooked in the past are suddenly surprising their spouses with a finished meal. Kids are quick to chop and stir, and even teenagers are putting down the tech for a few minutes to whip up a meal.
As one of our clients, Diane, noted: “The three of us really enjoy our Home Chef meals. The stress of planning and food shopping has disappeared. We enjoy looking at the recipes together, and then everyone helps prepare the meals. We even planned the kitchen renovation to accommodate three cooks and a designated spot for the recipe cards…that’s a win-win!”
Indeed, this rise of multiple cooks is creating a mini revolution in kitchen design. Today’s families are finding that older layouts create the proverbial “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem because they weren’t designed to allow proper workflow. When we look at remodeling or renovating spaces like this, we’re looking first and foremost at flow – wider aisles that allow for better movement, more room around cooking surfaces and work spaces, and secondary work areas that allow cooks space to move while still accessing what they need. We build in multiple work areas – perhaps counter space by the sink and garbage disposal for vegetable prep, room on the kitchen island near bowl storage for mixing ingredients, and perhaps an additional surface on a bank of wall cabinets for extra prep space. Don’t neglect lighting by these additional work surfaces. Task lighting is essential, to ensure that everyone can see what they are preparing.
Safety is an issue, too, as younger helpers and even older family members are getting involved. One wonderful resource is induction cooktops. These cooktops work by heating the cooking vessel instead of the cooking surface. That means that if little hands inadvertently touch the cooktop surface, they won’t get a nasty burn. An additional level of safety is opting for cooktops with controls in the back or sides where they are out of reach. Consider placing microwaves where they are easy to reach and at a comfortable height that doesn’t require anyone to reach over a hot surface.
Finally, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, you might want to reconsider cooling space. There was a time when freezer space was getting larger and standalone freezers were all the rage. As we move toward fresher ingredients, the need for refrigerated space and space that can flex to accommodate fruits and vegetables is rising instead.
Whether you take advantage of these new meal kit delivery services or not, the main thing to remember is to design your kitchen for how you really cook – whether that’s a kitchen filled with helpers or a microwave to reheat take out leftovers – make it function for you!