Prepare your kitchen for this season’s feasts
Special to the Daily
Holiday preparation starts before you even begin brining, dicing, sautéing and baking. It’s all about the kitchen and dialing in the right appliances and tools to make cooking a smooth and joyful experience.
“The strategy in designing a high-functioning kitchen involves keeping all necessary tools tucked away in their own space while making sure they are at arm’s reach for the chef,” explains Lauren Ruehring, president of Kitchenscapes.
To make kitchen space efficient and productive, Ruehring says details like appliance towers with retracting doors can be a perfect way to conceal microwaves and coffee stations.
“We employ a variety of specialized storage products for spices and oils, cooking utensils, and dishware that marry aesthetic beauty and organization,” she added. “We love designing a kitchen that incorporates the dining area and a bar with wine storage. The result is a kitchen that is stress-free and a joy to use while warmly welcoming friends and family.”
Additionally, Ruehring says more and more kitchens are being designed with at least two dishwashers for ease of cleanup for large parties. Separate prep areas with dedicated trash pullouts and prep sinks remain popular, as do organizational tools such as utensil pullouts and LeMans corner pullouts.
Adrienne Rynes, director of design for Collective Design + Furnishings, says a successful holiday meal is all about the preparation beforehand.
“Make sure to use serving dishes that are heat safe, dishwasher safe, and look beautiful with your Thanksgiving spread,” explained Rynes. “My food-processor is great for my homemade stuffing. I also make sure to have a good coffee maker on hand to boost my energy after all that yummy turkey and wine.”
Ruehring says for customers looking to invest in professional-grade appliances, she favors Wolf Sub Zero, and for more moderate budgets she recommends KitchenAid.
“The reason we recommend these brands is that they lend themselves to designs that integrate seamlessly with our custom cabinetry, and their incidence of needing repair is very low,” explained Ruehring. “While the average homeowner may put in a new kitchen every 10 to 12 years, we design over 60 kitchens a year and are truly impressed with their aesthetic and functionality.”
Rynes agrees in that “there is nothing quite like a Sub-Zero refrigerator.”
“The reason why you will find them in most high-end homes is because they are top of the line in terms of quality and style for counter-depth refrigerators,” she shared. “They are also known to stand the test of time, so they are absolutely worth the investment.”
Rynes recommends Wolf or Viking gas ranges and stoves.
“Like Sub-Zero, these brands offer superior appliances,” she said. “Their products’ user-friendly nature allows for precision cooking, which is key for tackling a Thanksgiving feast.”
Asko and Miele are great dishwasher options, added Rynes.
“Both lines of dishwashers offer the best interior space layout for the maximum number of dishes — so you can cram more in on Thanksgiving Day,” she explained. “Asko and Miele deliver products that will assure clean and dry dishes with each wash.”
On The Stove
What about gas or electric? Ruehring says it’s truly a matter of personal preference.
“While many customers envision a large gas range or range top for their mountain home, the popularity of induction cooking is increasing,” she shared. “With induction, foods reach temperature more quickly, and a more even cook is achieved. Induction also scores points for ease of cleaning and safety, since it heats vessels through magnetic induction instead of a heating element or a flame.”
The downside of induction, she adds, is that you cannot just use any pots or pans with it, but instead must use induction-specific cookware made of a magnetic-based material, such as cast iron or magnetic stainless steel.
“I personally prefer a gas stove top, but the aspiring-baker in me prefers an electric oven,” shared Rynes. “The combination is not always the most economical, but most foodies favor the difference. I find that gas stove tops allow for more even cooking — they provide an interface where you can adjust the temperature quickly, and I can easily assess the heat-level by simply looking at the flame.
“From an aesthetic standpoint,” she added. “I prefer the look of traditional, rustic gas stove tops, but brands are now including models that have a modern look and feel to their lines.”
For Rynes, the question of two ovens is a no-brainer.
“Two ovens are a must,” she shared, “especially when cooking multiple dishes requiring different temperatures. Having multiple ovens makes it incredibly accommodating for entertaining; doubling usable oven space can essentially cut cooking time in half, allowing for users to interact with guests more easily. Unless you can find a green bean casserole recipe that cooks at the same temperature as your turkey, you are much better off having two ovens.”
Ruehring says she has seen a decreasing interest in the traditional double wall ovens in favor of more flexible cooking arrangements, such as a a dual fuel range and a steam oven, or a larger range that has one large oven and one small oven.
“Our customers want customization and flexibility in a kitchen that functions equally well for a party of 12 or a couple,” she shared. “When you consider the amount of time the second oven in a traditional double oven arrangement goes unused, it makes much more sense to award valuable kitchen real estate to an appliance that does double duty.”
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