/ Kitchen Styles

Even for Chefs, the Home Kitchen is not Just About Cooking

A contemporary kitchen with an open layout.

When cooking at home, chefs prefer an open layout with the cooktop on the island, allowing them to interact with family and guests.

It sounds bizarre, but the oft-maligned galley kitchen is actually the most efficient layout for cooking. Yet none of the chefs we interviewed had or wanted one in their homes. Why?

Simple. At home, the kitchen is not just about cooking, even for a chef.

"From a functionality perspective, most kitchens in restaurants are galley kitchens," says Chef Duncan Firth. "For a chef, it works great. Everybody's lined up close togther. Plates are on one side, pans on the other. That's the most functional. But nobody wants to build those these days. A galley kitchen is narrow, hard to light, and doesn't fit the size of the appliances."

He adds: "An open kitchen is great for entertaining, but not the most efficient. Guests stand on the other side of the countertop. They like to stand and watch and ask questions." Firth prefers the interaction to having a more efficient but closed-off kitchen: "You're trotting out the plate like you're catering."