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That’s a question every chef has fantasized about, whether they’re a fixture on the Food Network or just learning the difference between arugula and oregano.
Most of us will never have the chance to build the kitchen of our wildest dreams. But Kohler Co. and the editors at Food & Wine did, and went one better. They built an entire house from the ground up near The American Club, Kohler Co.’s destination resort in Kohler, WI, called it the Ultimate Entertaining Home, and incorporated just about every great idea about entertaining that F&W has ever published.
Inside the home, top designers built a kitchen in which no expense was spared and every detail was carefully considered. The result? Not only a chef’s nirvana, but also a great place to host great times with friends and family.
Each cook’s idea of the perfect kitchen will, of course, be different. But there are a few principles that apply specifically to those that can be considered truly great. For example:
Location, location, location
The heart of the ultimate kitchen is a strategically placed base camp--a central location for planning meals or a site from which to marshal an army of helpers. In the Ultimate Entertaining Home, the kitchen’s command center is a massive chef’s table made from durable concrete. It offers lots of workspace and one very special addition: a narrow 60-inch basin sink with faucets at each end.
“The sink creates a centerpiece for the kitchen,” says Rhys Lewis, Director of Food & Beverage at The American Club. “It allows anyone, whether you’re enjoying a glass of wine, or whether you’re involved in food prep, to have access to the sink.” The dual faucets allow two people to use the sink at the same time from either side of the island, and the narrow sink can double as a place to chill champagne and shrimp cocktails.
Another key to the chef’s table’s appeal is its proximity to other kitchen essentials -- it’s close enough to the sink and appliances to make transferring pots of water and dishes of food easy, yet far enough away that multiple people can work comfortably. Which is important, considering that many spectacular meals require an ensemble cast rather than a solo performance.
Located under the table are cabinets that offer plenty of storage and easy access to pots, pans, utensils and smaller appliances. And finally, there’s the ultimate accessory to the ultimate chef’s table: An onyx-topped pastry table located next to the center island.
Industrial strength everything
Entertaining, while fun, can also be serious business--so the ultimate kitchen has to have the very best equipment. Here’s the all-star roster of appliances:
- 48-inch Wolf commercial strength gas range, with a full size oven, 4 gas burners on top and a griddle with a cover that doubles as extra work space
- Stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator
- Fisher & Paykel dishwasher that gently bathes stemware in one drawer while the other drawer power-scrubs pans
If one is good, two are better
With the exception of the range, this kitchen has at least two of each of the professional-grade appliances listed above, plus four Wolf ovens.
Before you accuse the good people at F&W of sheer excess, consider that all of the appliances are strategically located to be as useful as possible, and to allow a number of cooks to work at the same time comfortably. “Your selection and placement of appliances is very important; think about your kitchen’s flow and put them in the most convenient places,” says Lewis.
For example, the dishwasher drawers are located on either side of the sink with the Sub-Zero refrigerators placed at both ends of the counter. This allows easy access to counter space, and one refrigerator can be used for everyday items while the other contains specialty ingredients. The four Wolf ovens can all be used at the same time, to bake, roast, keep dishes hot and warm plates.
Time and space
With the possible exception of the chef’s table, the sink is the kitchen’s most-used feature--so of course it has to be both beautiful and functional. To satisfy both of those demands, the designers chose a KOHLER Verity® Apron-front sink and an Essex® kitchen faucet. Moving heavy pots of pasta into and out of the sink is easier thanks to its slender, brushed nickel front and the faucet’s high-arched design is perfect for filling large pots. Counters on either side of the sink provide additional work space.
Instead of a traditional walk-in pantry, the kitchen features elegant, frosted-glass Canac cabinet doors that front shelves with a wealth of easy-to-access storage space. Higher shelves are reached via a ladder that slides horizontally along a track, an ingenious addition that also adds an element of fun.
You’ve spent all day in the kitchen preparing a parade of gourmet creations to delight your guests. Now, it’s time for the show to begin. The table is perfectly set and everyone can finally adjourn to the kitchen for an incredible meal. Adjourn to the kitchen? That’s right—adjacent to the ultimate kitchen is a luxurious dining area that’s perfect for relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labor. But you won’t find Mom’s Formica kitchen table here -- the dining area features a sleek Farbourg dining table from McGuire, elegant Thomas Pheasant dining chairs from Baker and a custom banquette from Dapha. “I think we’re looking at kitchens in a whole different way,” says James Nauyok, Director of Visual Display, Baker Furniture. “This proves that the kitchen experience doesn’t have to be casual.”
Elegant, practical and beautifully useable--that’s the story on the ultimate kitchen. While you may not be able to recreate the equivalent of Kohler Co. and F&W’s culinary fantasy in your home, no doubt you’ve picked up a few tips that will help you create the kitchen of your dreams.
See designer Brian Gluckstein discuss this room. Watch video.