Perhaps more than any other time of year, what with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and holiday feasts to be cooked up, the kitchen is a focal point. Easy on the eye is one thing, but ease of use is quite another.
Kitchens can be a culinary haven or cooking nightmare, because of all the aspects of interior design, kitchen planning is the most difficult.
For one thing, there’s so much big machinery that has to be included — refrigerator, sink, stove and microwave being the basics. Planning what goes where to maximize space and ease of use isn’t easy. Then there are cabinets and small equipment such as blenders, mixers and, for many, the most important appliance — the coffee maker.
We asked the Seaport Hotel’s chef, Robert Tobin, who also leads cookery classes and demonstrations in the hotel’s Action Kitchen, to give us the basics of the “perfect” kitchen.
“Use every nook and cranny. Any space can become shelving. With a stovetop, you can put drawers underneath for pans. I like the L-shaped corner cabinet that pulls out. It means you aren’t searching around at the back. It makes things accessible. Space efficiency is key.”
Sink your teeth into this
The all-important kitchen sink: “The sink is important, too. I like one big sink. Some people like the split sink with two bowls. There are the ones with three compartments. But a big one will take roasting pans. I go for one big trough.”
“Most people live in small spaces,” says Tobin. “Counter space is the No. 1 thing for a kitchen. People put in the big pieces of equipment and run out of room. If you don’t have plenty of counter space, cooking is impossible.”
“I live in the North End and a lot of people have electric burners,” Tobin says. “Gas is better for cooking. Also, I like having two ovens; one should be a convection oven. Or, if you have the budget, a convectional oven and microwave combined saves space.”