The Essential Chef's Kitchen
Whether open or concealed, storage areas should put frequently used ingredients and tools within easy reach of cooking and prep areas.
"Serious cooking always involves serious chaos," says Designer William Kent, formerly a caterer. "Because there is so much going on at once, the arrangement of tools and cooking equipment and things like oil and spices in proximity to the cook is crucial." Knives should be easily obtained but also safely displayed, whether in a wooden block or in a drawer holder. Tools should be within arm's reach.
At work, says Chef Michael Daniels, his kitchens have racks for hanging up pots, pans, tongs, whisks and other necessary items. At home he hides most of those items in drawers. Either way, he says, "You have to know where it is, so you can get it fast. It has to be close to where you're cooking, too."
Ceiling-mounted pot racks may be best saved for tall folks; everyone else should consider wall-mounted options.
Living with a "too small" kitchen in "kind of a DIY house," Chef Forrest Parker has covered the kitchen walls with storage units that keep the most important of his many tools nearby.
"I'm 6'4" and make the best use of a tight space," he says. "I've done everything possible with a Metro rack. I have Metro all over my kitchen. I love all things stainless because it's easy to clean and easy to care for—and it's bright and shiny. It's multifunctional and I can hang all kinds of stuff from it."
For every chef who likes open storage at home, though, another one prefers to hide his tools. "We don't have anything hanging out. We like the clean, hidden, off-the-counter thing," says Chef Scott Gottlich. "We have it in the cabinets. We have the knives in the corner in the back, out of the kids' reach." Everything important remains accessible, just not visible.