Love to Cook? Here's a Look at Kitchen Appliances

Nothing can be more exciting and rewarding than a kitchen remodel. You get to choose every element of your kitchen from the cabinets to the fixtures, hardware to flooring, lighting, and countertops; your new kitchen can reflect your creative vision and aesthetics perfectly. If you are a chef and love to cook, by far, the most exciting and gratifying choices you will make are your appliances.

As a chef, your kitchen is where you create meals, entertain guests and spend quality time with your family. Working with the right appliances can take your culinary abilities to a new level! You have probably spent hours pouring over design magazines, researching appliances online and collecting examples kitchens in your Houzz Ideabooks. It can be a time-consuming process but a necessary one. The following topics are intended to provide you insight and give you talking points to discuss with your kitchen designer. They are intended to guide you and help you find appliances that will fit your needs and lifestyle.

1. Do more expensive "Professional Look" appliances make a difference?

As a general rule, the answer is yes. Spending money on appliances can buy you more options and durability.  Lower priced units may not offer the type of functionality that can make your time spent in the kitchen more fun and efficient. For example, more expensive dishwashers tend to be quieter, have settings and racks designed for stemware, and come with better service plan options. Professional level ranges feature 4 or 6 burners combined with an infrared griddle, multi-setting convection, and will two hours before you come home so that prime rib roast is perfectly ready when your family walks through the door. They can even keep food warm in the event you are late. Look for quality brands like Wolf and GE Monogram and be sure to speak with your designer. They will know what brands are less likely to need service or parts replacements over time.

2. Cooktop BTUs. How many do you need?

Commercial cooktops can pump out much heat on every burner for high-heat cooking, but the best have multiple options including a small burner that will allow you to keep delicate sauces warm without scorching. For a home cooktop, look for a variety of burner sizes. It is usually a better choice if you'll be cooking many different items at once. Make a note of the BTUs of each burner. You'll want some that can get down to a low simmer and at least one that can get as high as 12,000, 15,000 even 18,000 BTUs for boiling large pots of pasta or stock.

3. Do you require need a double oven?

If you love to bake, prepare large meals when entertaining, or have children,  a double oven might be a worthwhile investment. However, if you mostly cook family meals and only need two ovens when cooking a Turkey at Thanksgiving, you can probably make do with a single oven and a convection microwave. 

4. What about a warming drawer?

If you have the space, a warming drawer is a great convenience. You will use it when entertaining to keep food ready to serve; you will use in the morning when you are cooking breakfast to keep the eggs warm while the kids are in the shower! If space is an issue, consider buying a larger microwave with a “keep warm” function instead.

5. Choosing a refrigerator starts with the door configuration.

Your refrigerator is one of the most important decisions you will make when choosing appliances. Examine your lifestyle when making your choice. If you love to prepare large meals and then freeze leftovers to eat through the week, a side-by-side fridge might be the right thing. You need to think about it during the design stage of your project. A side-by-side can take up real estate. If you do not have the room, consider a smaller fridge and adding a freezer drawer or two. They are not as deep as a bottom-mounted freezer refrigerator, but you can have plenty of extra space for freezing stocks, sauces and balls of cookie dough.

Plan in advance, keep the kitchen layout in mind and do your research.

When designing your kitchen, make sure to work closely with your designer and contractor. You will need to decide placement and sizes for your appliances, and this can work to limit your choices. For example, if you are planning on a professional range it may be wider (36 - 48-inches) then a typical consumer range (30-inches wide). Make sure you have the room, and your contractor knows what you are buying.

The same holds true for refrigerators. Buying a refrigerator is like buying a couch if it does not comfortably fit in the space you have allocated, it just won't work. If you are thinking of a cooktop and double wall ovens, as opposed to a range, make sure you have the wall space and depth to properly install them. Work closely with your kitchen designer to understand the limitations of your space and find the best quality appliances to fit the room. They have the experience to ensure the appliances you choose work seamlessly in the space you have.

Think about how you use your kitchen, how often you entertain and your lifestyle when choosing your ideal appliances and you will be sure to create the chef's kitchen you have always dreamed of!

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