Gourmet-Style Kitchens and Informal Dining Designs Seen in Future

Gourmet-Style Kitchens and Informal Dining Designs Seen in Future

That's the view of at least two cooking experts who also predict that changing eating habits, in turn, will affect how kitchens and kitchen products are ultimately designed, manufactured and marketed.

"Many home cooks will achieve chef-level proficiency," predicts Art Siemering, managing director of the International Food Futurists, and publisher of The Food Channel Trendwire newsletter. "Pro-Am competitions, with major cash or merchandise prizes, will become prime entertainment," Siemering notes. "Renowned chefs will regularly make virtual guest appearances in the demonstration kitchens of specialty food stores."

Kitchen and bath retail showrooms will be a natural venue for this type of guest chef, Siemering and others suggest, noting that we've already seen signs that this may be coming to pass. One of the highest-rated shows on cable's Food Network, for example, is The Iron Chef, a cooking competition that can only be described as "Emeril meets Monday Night Football." A similar type of cooking competition, with local celebrity judges, would probably make an excellent traffic-builder for a showroom.

The trend toward chef-level proficiency among a growing number of homeowners will also mean that gourmet touches in design will become even more popular than they are now with demand rising for double sinks, restaurant-style ranges, potfiller faucets, and cooktops with special oversized burners to power pasta pots or woks. Built-in grills, deep-fryers, steamers and similar products would also no doubt gain in popularity if the trend continues.

Siemering also sees a change in dining habits, which he feels will impact kitchen design. "Breakfast, lunch and dinner differences will tend to fade," he observes. "Many of us will eat our biggest meal at the beginning of the day. Individual mealtimes will be infinitely flexible."

This suggests that more formal dining areas of the home might be out, while more informal eating areas, like counters and nooks, will gain in popularity. In addition, the use of two dishwashers may become more common. Some of the consumers already requesting this feature use one unit for clean dish storage and the other for dirtied dishes. When the "dirty" dishwasher is full, the consumer starts it up and the two appliances reverse roles. 

Another food futurist, Brian J. Ford, suggests that as consumers become more aware of the amount of bacteria that is on their food, they will increasingly ask kitchen designers for a separate sink basin just for hand-washing, and a faucet dispensing a weak bleach solution to fill it.

Ford also suggests that, in the future, consumers will be able to "instruct" a kitchen to heat food, run the bath, or start an appliance by mobile phone or palm-sized data device. 

However, he warns that kitchens may disappear from some homes altogether in the future, as some consumers will have no desire to cook at all.

"Many modern homes already have nowhere to eat, for residents usually snack in front of the television," Ford comments.

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