Dream kitchen - cookware, gadgets, knives?
In a perfect world with no financial constraints what would you have in your kitchen? I'm thinking cookware, gadgets and knives - maybe also counter top appliances. Would you want one of everything or would you be anti-single function items? How close are you to your dream list (i.e. what do you already have that's perfect for you)?
Let the dream begin.
Setting: a 5000-acre farm in eastern North Carolina within a 45 minute driving distance to Raleigh. Farm has existing apple, peach and cherry orchards, a forest of old-growth oaks, pecans and walnuts, fields and pastures that have been organically maintained for three centuries as well as several ponds filled with bass, turtle and crawfish. A stream with brook and brown trout runs near the woods. Black and white truffles, porcini and morels have recently been found.
In addition to organic cash crops, the farm raises heritage breed beef and dairy cattle (Vache rosse, Chianini, Wagyu), pigs (Berkshire, Ossabaw, Mangalista), sheep (East Friesian, Lacaune), chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. Abundant game (deer, wild boar)and game birds (quail, pheasant, pigeon, doves, woodcock, turkey, grouse) all make their home in the fields.
A new-construction stone farm house in the Southern style with wrap-around porches, two barns and various out-buildings, including a mill, smokehouse, milk house, dairy, cider house, brewery and curing barns, rests commandingly surrounded by gardens and two majestic walnut trees. The gardens provide cut flowers for all the buildings and organic heirloom vegetables to the table. There is a small staff that lives on-site to maintain the farm and gardens. The mortgage for the house and farm has been paid off and the farm earns roughly $2 million a year after taxes.
Behind the main house which has an updated but modest kitchen is a one-acre field near the gardens where the "summer kitchen" or "Stone Kitchen" as it will be called, will be built. The Stone Kitchen will be a 2,000 square foot building in the spirit of an 18th-century stone barn with timber frame construction designed by the firm G.P. Schafer. The Stone Kitchen will be joined to the main house by an underground corridor housing wine and root cellars. The overall goal is to have an ultimate home kitchen that feels warm and inviting, not a commercial kitchen. Before presenting the final wish list to the architect, I will take 18 months off to travel around the United States, Italy, France, Spain, England, Sweden, Japan and China to research design elements and to consult with Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adrià and Jonathan Waxman about the key appliances and kitchen components. I will cook on or use every appliance under consideration to determine my personal favorite.
The Stone Kitchen will have modern electrical, plumbing, sound and data systems with hookups for lighting, camera and sound to record video classes and podcasts. Much of the power will come from solar and geo-thermal energy. One third of the Stone Kitchen building will be an office, cookbook library and small video production studio. The kitchen area will be divided between a prep room area and a front room.
The prep area will have:
• 3 sets of Jim Kramer knives and cutting boards, one for me and two for guest cooks
• custom walnut cabinetry with adjustable height marble counter tops
• 2 warming drawers
• 2 refrigerated drawers
• Undercounter blast chiller
• two eight-foot prep tables on wheels
• double wall ovens
• side-by-side fridge and freezer
• fridge for dry-aging steaks
• 3 small affinage fridges for different cheeses
• Berkel slicer
• walk-in pantry
• built-in, tuck-away pasta drying racks
• 2 Kitchen-Aid stand mixers
• 2 Vitamix blenders
• immersion circulator and vacuum sealer
• 3 Musso ice cream makers
• Chocolate tempering machine
• a commercial straight-through dishwasher in a separate scullery room with 3 pot washing sinks
The front room will have:
• 8 gas burners
• Wok burner
• Gas grill
• induction cook top
• 2 fryers which can have different fats or temperatures depending on need. (Used oil is converted to bio-diesel on-site)
• Wood-fired pizza oven and wood-burning grill, both fueled by hickory, oak, apple and cherry wood grown sustainably on site
• 2 warming drawers + 1 plate warmer
• 2 refrigerated drawers + 1 plate chiller
• Bespoke copper cookware, custom made for my grip
• Bespoke iron cookware, custom made for my grip
• Stocked bar with purified ice “cube” machine, wine and beer fridges, beer on tap from farm brewery
• Coffee station with small coffee roaster and grinders. Clover coffee machine. Restored and modernized antique copper espresso machine.
• Chef’s table seating 4-18 guests comfortably beneath a Dale Chihuly lighted installation. For larger groups, tables and chair will be set up outside to accommodate up to 100 guests.
• Oversize fireplace beneath a Mark Rothko painting, installed with temperature and humidity controls.
That’s about it. Oh, since this is a dream might as well throw in Julia Child's mortar and pestle from the Smithsonian .
Time to wake up.
I think the knives are Bob Kramer. Jim Cramer is the CNBC "Mad Money" guy.
I think it is possible to simplify things. Are you doing massive parties? Go with Hobart. For smaller group eating, KA mixer and Cuisinart food processor are fine. Knives, I think Henckels and Wustoff are good. I have some Japanese brands, really sharp, but you have to pull out sharpening stones to keep them razor edge. Wow, awesome, but too much work.
One stoves, I find that Camp Chef 30 K burners work well. Very cheap.
On ovens, steam injection is great. But you can use a pan of water to generate moisture.
On wood-fired ovens, that is something worth exploring. I didn't get one, wish I had.
For other stuff, my BIL has a relatively cheap custom-made half cut oil barrel, chain-raisable grating, oak log-burning BBQ grill. Wow! Apparently the guy only makes them for friends, no interested in launching commercial. I asked Steve Raichlen about this idea, he never heard of it. I'm thinking about talking my BIL into talking his friend into making one for me.
If you look on Craig's List, you'll occasionally see these homemade barrel smokers. Also, take a look on the Smoke Ring web site. They usually have a few different plans floating around. I like the idea a lot, but wonder if I would justify it - it seems too big for anything but parties.
1. A wood-burning stove from Lehman's
2. Outdoor bread oven
3. Someone earlier suggested a root cellar. Love the idea.
4. A French knife company has pre-WW1 carbon steel blanks that they are now selling as finished knives
5. AGA cooker
6 Electrolux mixer
7. Kitchen garden immediately outside my door
8. Chantal enamel on steel cookware (not popular, but my pieces have served me well)
9. Fridge with a glass front
10. Upright freezer
11. A deep, deep sink
12. LED lighting
In roughly a month I'll be going from a very poorly laid-out suburban McKitchen with plastic everything (and a vent fan without a vent) to a gorgeous granite-countertopped cherry-and-glass cabineted kitchen with an island with stove and chef's table in an urban condo. SO PSYCHED.
Floor mat - it's not anti-fatique, but (depending on your decor) it looks great, and is actually quite cushy - the Plow and Hearth neoprene Folk Art floor mat / runner 23"x36" or 23"x52". $40-$60.
In my dreams I'd have a kitchen large enough for a Waterford Stanley wood cookstove and a built-in woodfired pizza / bread oven. In addition to my Chambers Range and an induction cooktop.
All-Clad pots, pans, a roaster, and that pasta pentola thing I keep seeing
Le Creuset ovens in various colors and sizes
Windsor Tea Kettle
Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer with every single attachment for pasta, ice cream, grinding, and juicing
A dazzling set of the best Wusthof knives
Coffee pot with it's own grinder and settings to start brewing automatically each morning
Briki for Greek coffee
Espresso-cappuccino machine with foaming feature
Cuisinart popcorn machine
Rosle tools, i.e. tongs, garlic press, etc
Williams Sonoma Gold Touch bakeware
Emile Henry baking pieces in various shades
A tagine! YUM!
Gorgeous Baccarat and Waterford crystal
A dozen or so different sets of dishes, everything from Fiestaware, Lenox, Juliska, Villeroy and BochWedgwood, Anna Weatherley, etc
Serverware - I LOVE serverware! Annieglass, Arthur Court, Beatriz Ball, and on and on and on
Villeroy and Boch New Wave espresso/coffee sets
Sterling silver flatware
A kitchen with TWO sinks, one a deep porcelain, the other a bowl-style in a gorgeous pattern or color
A gas stove
Double ovens with a warming drawer
Huge walk-in pantry
Cabinet space for EVERYTHING
Not that I'm greedy, or anything! :D
Count me as another one that's basically happy with what she's already got, especially the Bluestar range, Vent-A-Hood, Wusthof Classic knives (with a couple of Macs and a Global), Richlite countertops, Technivorm coffeemaker, undermount sink. I used to work for a national kitchenware retailer and now a kitchenware wholesaler so my drawers are chockfull of single-function gadgets. But there's always room for improvement, right? I'd exchange all my old Calphalon for lightweight cast iron, get an induction cooktop, have a tile or concrete floor with a garbage disposal and drain in the middle of it, a garden hose with hot & cold water to wash everything down, an additional small upright freezer, a commercial baking oven with steam, a mini version of a Vitamix, a dough roller, a large walk-in pantry, and finally internet access on the kitchen tv so I could look up recipes and leave them onscreen.
Truthfully, I'm pretty happy with my kitchen, which has just experienced a serious upgrade with new plumbing that greatly increases the pressure and volume of water, and a new big single sink and 'touch' faucet to take advantage of it. The layout is compact but not crowded, there's good natural light, and there's enough storage space for the cookware and food supplies.
But if I could make the changes I'd like, they'd be: soapstone counter, full-extension drawers underneath that roll out smoooooothly (instead of cabinets and two balky, ancient drawers), a rollout trash container near the sink, a warming oven, a cooktop with 3 gas and 2 induction burners, a more powerful vent fan, a glass brick backsplash behind cooktop, excellent and unobtrusive lighting including under-cabinet lights, a dishwasher drawer or regular dishwasher installed elevated and disguised as cabinet/drawer, with open wooden dowel-dishrack above and drawer below. And a small-to-medium standalone freezer... though I don't know where it would go (which is a big part of why we don't have one already).
My cookware lusts (much more likely to be satisfied in the next year or two than the ktichen dreams): a Demeyere Apollo 2.6 qt saucier, a truly deep and beautiful lasagna pan, and a Le Creuset braiser.
I'm actually very happy with my cookware, knives etc. I really have just about everything I need and want and I love what I have.
I have a fairly large kitchen (we combined the original kitchen with the dining room) but I could use some more counter space.
I would love to have a farmhouse sink. Mine's big, but not quite big enough.
I would kill for a walk in pantry where I could easily see and store all my serving pieces, glassware, equipment like the sandwich press and ice-cream maker, and stuff like canned goods, dried beans and pasta etc. as it is, most of this stuff currently resides in the basement.
I absolutely need a a great venting hood - and it's rising to the top of the list as other things get done.
And I saw an electric pizza oven in Saveur Magazine that reaches 800 degrees. I REALLY want one of those. But they are outdoor ovens - and they cost over $6K. A little out of my price range for such a luxury item.
I've said it before and I will say it again: Ventilation strong enough to threaten small children and dogs with being sucked in. I am so tired of working with downdraft. No one who uses grills, woks or deep fries should rely only on downdraft. Maybe if all I did was nuke pre-cooked food and boiled a little pasta, this would be fine, but my cooking techniques tends to overpower my ventilation system.
Ideally my dream kitchen would be a refrigerator and pantry full of ingredients i've never cooked with before, and all the time to learn how to prepare them...
on the other hand...My "ridiculous" dream kitchen would be a 5 car garage with a 2 post lift where i could store all my tools and equipment. One of the bays in the garage would be my kitchen. butcher block on top of the roll away 46 inch tool box would be my prep counter, the drawers in the tool box would hold all of my cooking and prep implements. A stainless "work bench" would be my other prep counter and it would sit next to a wok burner and bluestar stove. I would have no need for a vent hood because the roof over the kitchen "garage bay" would be retractable. The sink would be the only thing that would be fixed in place, everything else would be on lockable casters (wheels) to move around should i need the space to work on another car or motorcycle.
yup, that's my kitchen :)
btw, the image in my avatar is a picture of a crank shaft from a 68 camaro's 327 engine i was rebuilding. That might make more sense of my kitchen
Open hearth fireplace w/ rotisserie & pot hook and an adjacent brick bread/pizza oven.
A full set of high quality cookware and LeCruset.
One of each type of knife, good quality.
Commercial espresso machine
Good quality food processor
Kitchenaid mixer w/ all the attachments
Multiple touch screen wall mounted computers w/ tv tuners in them for TV, recipe database access and internet etc.
an area with couches and comfy chairs.
side by side freezer & fridge units.
a beer and soda dispenser for home brews.
an outside section with a gas/charcoal grill, smoker and wok burner.
An attached large conservatory to grow hothouse veggies and herbs.
Reverse osmosis water system
walk in pantry - a beer/wine cellar for fermenting & aging. Somewhere to cure meats and do cheese would be a bonus.
A salimander, 4+ burner induction top, 6 gas burners, 2 convection ovens
a good dehydrator system that doesn't crap out after a years use.
a good array of uni-taskers: rice steamer, yogurt maker, etc.
some sort of anti-fatigue flooring
lots of storage and counter space with one marble section for pastry
the energy to be on my feet for hours at a time to make use of all of this.
Oh and a series of ice cream makers.
I want someone else to do the cleaning up.
And access to the freshest ingredients.
And a small 1.5 cup milk pan, induction capable, interior capacity markings, and a pour spout on the RIGHT side. I can't find one ANYWHERE. (The Norpro's handle isn't sturdy enough. I wish Demeyere made one.)
A commercial grade dishwasher that does one load in 2 mins.
A walk-in fridge.
I'm deciding if I should put velcro onto the ipad and stick it onto some surface... Maybe there are better solutions out there. Video talking to someone while cooking is so damn cool. Not to mention the internet and books will be all at my fingertips.
I designed my kitchen 2 years ago and I'm still very happy with it as of today. No shelves in any of my cabinets, only pull out drawers. Love it. Back then, money was short, or else I would have Arclinea put in my kitchen. Their drawers are super.
I have some knives that I like quite a bit - nice ones actually. There's no single excalibur I lust after, but If I had more money, I'd also have more knives. Probably more sharpening stones too.
I would get rid of my electric stove and get a high BTU professional stovetop. With a hood and an exhaust system.
I would get an immersion circulator. Scratch that - I would get several immersion circulators. I would get a chamber vac.
More counter space, most definitely. A BIG cutting board to go on that workspace.
I'd get a really nice stereo system hooked up in the kitchen, cause I like music when I cook.
A bigger fridge/freezer. A newer generation pressure cooker. A dishwasher. A vitamix.
Possibly if I had more money, I'd get nicer pans than the mid level disk bottom aluminum-stainless pans I have. But honestly, those (along with a non-stick) work just fine.
Does a fully tricked out hot/cold smokehouse and climate controlled area for charcuterie count as part of the kitchen in this thread?
i'll take kaleokahu's list, plus:
- custom spice drawers
- custom filtered water dispenser system with dedicated icemaker & built-in carbonation unit
- dual-fuel 8-burner range with sealed gas burners (like the 48" Viking Pro)
- Sous-Vide Supreme
- a hydroponic garden like the one Rick Bayless has in his basement
but i kinda need to get the house first to put all of it in...oh, and the money to pay for it all ;)
knives are coming along, gadgets are clutter. Give me a big sink (or 2) and a small wood burning fireplace with a spit and room for a dutch oven (OK maybe a pizza oven) and I would be content for a couple of years.
I am not close (except for the knives and the skill to use them)
I love good cookware, especially on the knives. That said, I feel my real limitation is on the cooking skill rather than cookware. So while getting nice cookware will be nice, many won't make a huge difference.. That being said, certain cookware and tools will be useful no matter what. For example, I think an anti fatigue mat (e.g. gel mat) will be useful regardless of my skill. So I will like to get one. I like to get a nice polishing stone for my kitchen knife. I also like to get a slightly larger kitchen and a more powerful stove. This is currently on my list and it is definitely within in my financial reach, but I am still deciding which stone to get. To be honest, I think the fun is thinking and acquiring the dream. Once the dream is achieved, then it isn't all that fun.
"I think when you have this kind of addiction/love you never really reach a point where you think you're done!"
I think you are right, and I wonder if we something are chasing a shadow. Somewhere along our kitchen life, we have experienced the unexpected. The "Wow" factor. Maybe it is the first time we get a real good knife. Maybe it is the first time we get a real nice sauce pan. Ever since those "wow" moments, we are chasing for that "feeling". Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to recreate that moment.
Oh no CK I recreate the feeling every time I add to my kitchen! Clearly as addicted as everyone else here and I am not looking fcr a cure ( not yet anyway) I can't have a dream kitchen until I have a dream home but I do worry sometimes that I will run out of things I want to add and places to store them!
Unlike many other kitchen-ware, I think an anti-fatigue benefits anyone from a beginner cook to advance chef. Obviously, the GelPro is the most famous one, but I have heard some good reviews from the less expensive Sublime Imprint mat. I have also seen them in person at bed bath and beyond and look and feel alright:
Since you have been looking at many candidates, what other brands look good to you?
Agree. If you cook more than she does, then you should have more say about the kitchen.
I have no idea where to start! haha I am looking at so many. The sublime and GelPro are nice but rather pricey, I've been going more for the traditional rubber ones. I've been looking at the ones available in hardware stores and restaurant supplies. I'm trying to decide if I want to spend the money on a nicer fatigue mat, and it's tempting to just get a cheap one from the hardware store (2 foot x 3 foot, $12) and if I think it makes enough of a difference then i'll spend more money for a gel style mat that won't be as thick...but I am undecided if I want to have a thick foam mat on the kitchen floor even for a little while as it's really thick
One of my daughters has one, I don't recall the brand. It's great to stand on, but my wife thinks it's a tripping hazard, she's constantly kicking it. It might be something you just have to get used to. I use some inexpensive fatigue mats in the shop, they definately beat standing on the concrete out there.
I agree. Right now, I have a normal mat and I put some soft material underneath. As such, it is very easy for me to kick the mat. By far the most important thing is to make sure the mat does not have a roll edge. Otherwise, people will just kick the mat and trap.
"It might be something you just have to get used to."
No, we are not supposed to get used to this. A good mat will not have an rolled edge. Actually we have similar gel mats for the chemists next door from my lab. (Sythentic chemists stand a lot and these mats really help them). Those mats have no roll edges even after years of use. They are high quality but are expensive compare to the residental version. A chemist told me theirs are $1000+ a piece. Now the person I talk to may have exaggerated the price. I don't know.
I read that GelPro has this problem. Its edge will slowly roll up as it ages. Supposedly, this is the problem for the earlier version and now it has been fixed.... maybe. Funny enough, I have not read this kind of complaint for the slightly cheaper Sublime Imprint mats.
I've already attempted this exercise and wound up with a kitchen that needed to be a minimum 700 sq feet (1000 if there wasn't a separate pantry and deep cold storage) and had an appliance cost in the six digits (the first digit not being a "1"). I'll get there are some point (perhaps before I'm dead).
- placesettings for 12 from Louise Bousquet
- Demeyere cookware to replace my All-Clad
- A 360 mm takobiki (great for slicing stuff even if it's not octopi)
- upgrades to certain knives (I think my next purchase would be a Nenox sujikihi: I liked its feel)
- 16ga stainless steel countertops (for that abbatoir look)
- 2 5-element induction cooktops, including one which
- 2 Miele double-ovens
- 2 Miele steam ovens (they're great)
- separate refrigerator and freezer
- separate refrigerator for drinks
- Hobart N-50 mixer
- Julabo immersion circulators and insulated water baths at least 3 of the 33L units)
- Chambar vacuum unit.
- Brinkmann micro-rotary evaporator (to extract aromatics but can be used as a still in a pinch)
- Sorvall superspeed centrifuge
- Revco -70ºC chest freezer
- electrical system to support everything
I'm currently working on the Julabo circulator and waterbath.
I thought about a Pacojet but I'm not huge on desserts (I make exactly 3) and for the moment, I cant' see myself taking one to a block of frozen lardo, so that's on the "nice to have list".
That should have read "2 5-element induction cooktops including one which is zoneless".
Should have also included laboratory glassware (erlenmeyers, graduated cylinders), pipettors, and Mettler-Toledo fine balances for the molecular stuff. Also forgot to include a plating area with overhead adjustable halogens, warming drawers and Miele LaPerla dishwashers (at least 2). Commercial dishwashers than can do loads in under 5 minutes are okay, but I'd prefer very quiet.
CVap might be nice but they're not rated for residential (oddly enough the Sorvall and the Revco use standard 220V connectors).
The absolute best is by BHS, that is, Bosch, Neff, and Siemens all make a version called "FlexInduction." The cooktop is divided into 2 zones, each of which is divided into 4 smaller zones, and they are not limited by how many pans you can squeeze onto the cooktop, or their shape. Here is a link: http://www.kitchenappliancecentre.co....
Youtube shows these in action.
Where oh where are these in the States?
I want an open cooking hearth with a smoking locker in the chimney AND a large, institutional woodburning stove with two ovens, a couple of high-output auxilliary gas hobs and a salamander. I want a vent hood that lifts me out of my shoes. I want a Thermomix, a Robot Coupe, a Hobart slicer and mixer on the expansive counters. I want an old-time butcher block about 2 feet thick and 4x4 feet. I want restored vintage cookware--copper and bare cast iron of course--hanging from a rack. I want my own-make carbon-steel knives.
I want a prep island with sink, dispos-all, platewarmer, cookbook drawer/window; wrap, foil and parchment rollers; and undercounter reefer, freezer, wine, and double DW units. I want a small walk-in with pass-through doors, a dry pantry, and a stillroom for making cheese and sausage. I want an audio system that goes to 11, and a cook's table for set for 6, situated so I can cook *and* visit with guests.
Alas, with the exception of some of the cookware, the knives and my Hobart, I'm far from this dream.
My list seems so lacking in imagination compared to others - but, none the less, it is my list:
LOTS of counter space of a variety of materials, some butcher block, some marble, some slate.
Enough of a variety of baking pans so that I never have to improvise
A Kitchen-Aid counter top mixer.
Professional expresso machine
Shelves to easily organize all pots, pans, and other cooking/baking vessels
A kitchen open to a sitting/lounging room with a BIG flat screen TV
A huge copper pot
A spice pantry
A brick oven for baking bread
And, of course, no dream kitchen is complete unless it includes the people who fill it up who I love to feed.
A root cellar (not technically part of the kitchen but you get the idea)
Storage for kitchen linens because I love old kitchen linens and I have a large collection which I don't use because of access