Planning multicook kitchens

We have been crowding into kitchens to enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family since house parties were invented. Candice Olson, in the introduction to her book, Candice Olson Kitchens and Baths, puts it this way: “Today’s kitchen is all about a well-planned space that makes cooking a completely interactive experience between family and friends.”

Regardless of a kitchen’s size, there are ways we can modify spaces to encourage socializing and helping.

Average- to smaller-sized kitchens can be enhanced by incorporating a pass-through opening into the kitchen. An extended counter will encourage conversation and can hold hors d’oeuvres. A slight adjustment in the positioning of the available counter space adjacent to the sink or cooking surface could provide enough space to act as a secondary prep area.

Duality or redundancy of appliances can be beneficial in medium to large kitchens by creating additional activity centers. Still, each work center should have its own work triangle if possible. Microwaves, drawer dishwashers and refrigerators can anchor the work triangle along with a hospitality sink. Sharing a major appliance also works well as long as individual work triangles do not cross paths.

Islands and opposing countertops should be a minimum of 48-inches apart to allow for crossing traffic. The perfectly designed multicook kitchen will have very few occasions when preparers would need to cross paths. However, this minimum spacing will accommodate persons crossing paths while carrying plates or trays.

Avoid positioning major appliances directly across a walkway from each other. A secondary sink should be far enough away from the primary sink so it defines a discrete work center, and the addition of an under-counter refrigerator and the extra countertop space it provides will make an excellent salad or baking prep area.

Not all multicook kitchens will be this inclusive while some might duplicate each appliance—specifically, an additional cooking surface. Two-burner cooktops, fast-cook ovens, steam ovens or another secondary device might be incorporated.

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