Professional-grade range. Gourmet cooks generally prefer gas ranges, though Nancy Divita, showroom manager at Trevarrow Inc., recommends checking induction cooktops, which heat up faster and deliver heat directly from the source to the pan. Also, there are modular thick-burner stoves with pop-in griddles and other “accessories.”
Double oven. Two is better than one for the gourmet. And one of those ovens should be convection, meaning it has a fan that circulates hot air so food cooks uniformly and efficiently.
Warming drawer. Cost can range from $700 to $2,000, Divita says. But this heating element will protect the moisture of food and allow the cook to keep food warm until serving. A warming drawer holds food for extended periods of time, avoiding the need to reheat in a microwave (which breaks down the molecular structure of food).
Dishwasher drawer. Gourmets might consider a point-of-use dishwasher placed near a bar sink or entertaining area to manage dirty glassware, while reserving the main dishwasher for pots, pans and dishes.
Convection microwave. Paired with a traditional oven, this microwave can double as your basic reheating unit and an efficient convection oven.
Microwave drawer. An alternative to shelf-mounted microwaves or freestanding units that take up counter space, a microwave drawer is concealed neatly among base cabinets.
Refrigerator. Today, stand-alone units are available in counter-depth configurations so they appear sleek and built-in. French-door style refrigerators are attractive and allow a cook to access what’s inside from the left or right while requiring less clearance. Freezer drawers are convenient and ergonomic. The ideal is a separate refrigerator and freezer, but today’s units with dual-compressors do the job. (Single-compressor units on mid-grade and economy refrigerators do not keep produce as moist because the compressor must work double-time.)
Easy-clean, sturdy surfaces. Quartz surfaces are man-made, do not require sealing, are less porous than natural stones like granite, and therefore have better stain-resistance and durability. Available in a wide range of designs produced by several large manufacturers, these products are backed by a warranty (while natural stone generally is not).
Task lighting. Under-cabinet lighting and pendants that focus light on specific work spaces illuminates kitchen zones where prepping, cooking and cleanup take place.
When designing an effective entertaining space, it's about integrating specialty features and choosing a layout that allows the homeowner to interact with guests.
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