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April 2016

Kitchens for Serious Cooks
The Ingredients for a Professional Style Kitchen at Home

Many people who love to cook also love the idea of a creating a commercial-style kitchen at home. Now, with today's exciting new appliance and design options, it's easier than ever to create a practical, well-equipped workspace for cooking and entertaining – and to adapt it to any style you choose, from modern minimalist to cozy farmhouse. Let's take a look.

Professional Style vs. Professional Grade

For starters, there's an important difference between professional style and professional grade appliances and accessories. Professional grade, for example, might mean a boxy, 1,000-pound, stainless steel, dual fuel stove blasting 33,000 BTUs from 10 burners and requiring commercial ventilation and structural reinforcement. Professional style, however, might include anything from an ultra-sleek cooktop and double wall ovens to a red-enameled AGA range. We can advise you on chef-friendly options that are properly scaled for you and your home.

Photo of professional style kitchen
Photo of professional style kitchen courtesy Jenn-Air.

Elements of a Professional Kitchen

Your chef's kitchen should include four system elements:

Ranges, Cooktops and Ovens: Look for dual-fuel models. For burners, many cooks prefer the responsiveness of gas, while convection ovens offer faster cooking times. Continuous stovetop grates give you the flexibility to use griddles, wok rings and other large pots, pans and accessories.

Photo of professional style kitchen
Photo of professional style range courtesy Jenn-Air.

Ventilation: Sizzling up a stir-fry or pan-searing steaks without smoking up your gorgeous kitchen makes a powerful venting system a must! This system can be incorporated in styles ranging from a modern glass and metal shaft over an island-mounted cooktop to an antique coppery range hood. Also, make the selection early in the design process so ductwork can be incorporated most efficiently and attractively into your kitchen design.

Sinks and Faucets: In a commercial-style kitchen, the stove may be your stage, but the sink is command central. It needs to be large, deep and versatile. Add-ons such as protective sink grids and cutting boards can create extra counter space. Stainless steel is a popular choice for a hard-working sink. Faucets need to be equally hard-working, including being tall enough to handle large pots. High-powered sprays and flexible hoses make rinsing vegetables and cleaning up quick and easy. Installing a pot-filler faucet near the stove is a great convenience.

Right-Sized Appliances: Large-capacity refrigerators and dishwashers are key elements of a commercial-style kitchen. There are so many options for these – including multiple built-in drawers – that it's important to match your choices to how you cook and entertain.

Photo of professional style kitchen
Photo of professional style kitchen courtesy Jenn-Air.

Space Planning and Finishes for Your Gourmet Kitchen

Professional-style kitchens aren't just attractive, they're practical. That's why space planning and finishes are so important:

Open Floor Plan: Will you entertain as you cook? Do you want several people to use the kitchen at the same time? A good floor plan eliminates unnecessary steps for the cook (or cooks) while creating an open, multifunctional area for sharing the fun of cooking.

Convenience: What is the best way to keep pots, pans, utensils, dishes and food at hand? For some, the answer may be open shelves. For others, it may be clever storage that keeps what's needed at hand – while also keeping the kitchen clean and visually uncluttered.

Easy-to-Clean Surfaces: Commercial kitchens often have lots of stainless steel and tile. These may be easy to keep clean, but they may not be the finishes that you want for your own kitchen floor, counters and backsplashes. Fortunately, we can show you many new flooring and counter materials that are easy-care and attractive.

In fact, we'd love to show you all kinds of beautifully practical elements. Give us a call and let's talk about how to build or remodel a kitchen that lets you cook with the ease – and fun – of a professional chef.

Maintenance Tip: Unplug to Save Energy

You know you can save energy by turning off lights and appliances when not in use. But you should also unplug items that don't require full-time connection or have finished charging. Alternatively, you can use power strips that can be flipped on or off as needed. Nearly 75% of energy consumed by home appliances occurs while they're turned off but still plugged in.

Summer is not far away
Summer is not far away...

What's the Story?

Kitchens come in all shapes, sizes and styles and even though we talk about kitchens for "serious" cooks, we do more kitchens for the average "cook" than we do gourmet kitchens. We have done projects for chefs, serious home cooks and families that are juggling kids, careers and school. I consider myself as a serious cook, well, actually a really good chopper, but I enjoy cooking.

One of my favorite kitchen projects was on a small, St. Paul home with a kitchen that had 2 doors, a chimney and no space for a run of cabinets over 4' long. You would have to dance around anyone else in the kitchen and you could easily have a hand in the refrigerator while you were flipping pancakes on the stove. (A feat that would be great to see on YouTube. It's probably there!) We decided to add a 2' bump to expand this kitchen which gave us a 10' long counter. Suddenly this small kitchen became a wonderful place for 2 people to work – and we added a window so they could see their back yard. Small project. Small kitchen. Small budget. Huge results! Keep this in mind as you think about a kitchen remodeling.

snow on the canoe
Minnesota Spring...snow on the canoe 

Snow last week and 70 degree temps this week. A typical April in Minnesota. As you know, I enjoy fishing and playing my guitar. With this in mind, my wife got us tickets to see Taj Mahal, live at the Dakota. He is a musical icon that covers a wide range of musical genres. One of my favorite tunes is his version of "I'm Goin Fishin", which surprisingly, is not on my repertoire. Before the concert I mentioned that this was one of my favorite songs and it's so old there is probably not a chance he would sing it, but if he did.....And to my surprise, he sang it! As I was listening to it, I had to say that I could cross that off my bucket list – hearing Taj Mahal sing I'm Going Fishin, live. It was a great night!

Taj Mahal (Singing I'm Goin Fishin)   My sketch of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal (Singing I'm Goin Fishin)    My sketch of Taj Mahal 

I am going fishing at the end of the month to the North Shore for our annual Steelhead Fishing trip.

Note I said fishing trip because there is not a lot of "catching" usually. But I am feeling it this year. Maybe it's the crazy spring? Taj Mahal? Who knows. You know you will get the update! Enjoy our spring!

Also, check out our 4 minute master bathroom remodeling on YouTube. We tell everyone it takes 8 weeks but this one is done in 4 minutes! Use the link or search for "Sylvestre Construction Time Lapse Bathroom." Cool.

John Sylvestre

Until next month,

John Sylvestre
Phone: 612-861-0188

Sylvestre Remodeling & Design