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So just what is a "Gourmet Kitchen?"

Something a pro would work in: stainless counters, metal utilitarian work table, a few global knives, resto supply pans, commercial range, rubber floor mat, etc.
Or something more of a perception or magazine-y: faux commercial range, granite counters, Kramer knives, pot filler over faux range, all clad, asst colors of le creuset, etc.
Or something in between

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  1. I always assumed it was a kitchen where you could cook a gourmet. I tried it once, too tough and stringy. Seriously, I agree that a 'professional' kitchen would be ideal for me, but most rich people would not like it all.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mwhitmore

      "...but most rich people would not like it all."

      Why do you say that??

      I think of a gourmet kitchen as having good quality appliances, lots of prep surfaces (like a kitchen island plus long countertops), good quality counter surfaces, well-stocked and good quality knives and pots, pans, baking dishes, etc.

      Good quality.
      Lots of space.
      Well-stocked.

      I don't have a gourmet kitchen by any means, but it's very nice for a small rented house and I can't think of anything that couldn't be prepped in there. My mother recently gutted her 100 year old kitchen and built the kitchen of her dreams... It looks like it came from a magazine, complete with granite countertops, a large center island, gorgeous hardwood, and Wolf appliances. Two ovens, a convection, built-in grill and microwave, touchless faucets, etc. While I love every single inch of it, I can still kick her butt in a bake-off. Although I'd kill for the cabinets she had built. Every one pulls all the way out, and they are a good 3 feet deep.

      1. re: nothingswrong

        Like the guy who buys a Z51 Corvette..but gets an automatic trans

    2. Any kitchen, decently equipped, where someone who knows and loves food is at the stove, is a gourmet kitchen. It could be a galley kitchen in a Manhattan apartment, or a small "C" shape suburban stocked with Kenmore appliances and not a pot filler in sight.

      Many a "gourmet kitchen" as displayed in decor and food magazines, is more for show or pretension than the day-to-day production of interesting and tasty dishes. Real estate brokers love to tout those as a desirable selling point, and they are that. They may get use as a staging area and hangout at parties.

      And then there are the ones where someone who really understands food and has beaucoup bucks takes the middle ground between your two descriptions. They get the custom-built European range, the very best in comfort mats, every possible built-in for storage or convenience, top-quality pots, pans, and knives, but that are chosen for use, not display (although they may choose to display them as well). I wouldn't put the knock on those, even though, if I hit the big lottery tomorrow, I probably wouldn't spend a dime on a custom-built range.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mcsheridan

        Ah, a kitchen for a Foodie ;)

      2. In my experience, some kind of stone/composite countertops and stainless steel appliances are all that's really required for a kitchen to be gourmet, at least if you're reading real estate listings.

        1. A bit OT?!? A few years back was going to see a woman about some custom wall painting in Colt's Neck, NJ. Pretty froo froo area with lots of MASSIVE houses. ABout a mile away was a replica of Monticello... almost looked tacky, cuz a bit of a "scale model"... not a big as the real thing and looking BRAND NEW??

          This house had a kitchen that took my breath away. Had HUGE island with good sized sink, all kinda of drawers/doors around the whole thing... and undercounter fridge/freezer & ice maker. A MASSIVE fridge/freezer. Big 6 burner stove and wonderful looking ovens. TONS of counter and cabinet space. Two double doors opened to a BIG pantry.

          When I asked what she liked best about the stove... oh, I don't cook!?! What a waste!

          12 Replies
          1. re: kseiverd

            ARGH! See? This is just what I'm talking about - all show, no go.

            Money is wasted on too many of the wrong people.

            1. re: mcsheridan

              I was once watching a show called Million Dollar Rooms that looked at crazy expensive rooms in rich people's houses. They were often really elaborate bathroom / dressing rooms full of gold faucets, marble tiles and mahogany closets but I distinctly remember one that had a kitchen with a $300k range hood that was crusted with Diamonds.

              If anyone actually cooked in that kitchen, the diamonds would themselves end up crusted with grease, but I suppose when you spend $300k on your range hood, you can afford to either eat in restaurants all the time or pay someone to periodically climb up on a ladder and polish your diamonds with a toothbrush.

              1. re: Jacquilynne

                Just a minor correction to your post: it's "...looked at expensive rooms in CRAZY rich people's houses." :D

                Diamond-encrusted range hoods? <banging head on door>

                1. re: mcsheridan

                  REALLY! I mean, come on, they should save the diamonds for their dog's collar!

                2. re: Jacquilynne

                  Thank you for the good laugh ... now I'm going to carry around a mental image of somebody earnestly scrubbing away with an Oral B toothbrush. I just hope there aren't requirements for which firmness to use!!

              2. re: kseiverd

                I suspect that's the norm

                1. re: kseiverd

                  Hey, maybe she had someone to do the cooking for her. In which case, that kitchen wouldn't be a waste at all. Or maybe it was great for the caterers when she hosted an event. Caterers love counter space.

                  We buy kitchens with houses attached. Most people are not like Chowhounds. Most people care far more about the rest of the house than they do about the kitchen. Chowhounds lust for one of two things - either a killer kitchen, or the space and bucks to make it killer.

                  When I win the lottery, I'll have to turn in my secret decoder ring, because I'm getting me some minions to do the cooking for me. One thing is for certain, they're going to need a gourmet kitchen.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Actually, kitchens are one of the most important selling factors for a house. You're right that most people are not chowhounds but families still prioritize a large comfortable kitchen, preferably with an adjoining family room or a combined great room environment. Even if they don't cook much, they still want the space to look pretty because that's where the family will still spend most of their time.

                    In my old neighborhood in Baltimore, the houses were all built between 1890-1920s. Large, graceful houses built at a time when kitchens were small spaces, along with several even smaller pantries, frequented only by the family's maid. Very much a "service" wing. These days, no matter how nice the rest of the house may be, houses with fully remodeled and enlarged kitchens sell the quickest and for a higher premium over houses that still have older and/or smaller closed off kitchens. It doesn't matter how much cooking is actually done, people *want* nice big kitchens, just as much as how 100 years ago people wanted formal, fussy front parlors.

                    1. re: Roland Parker

                      Hi Roland Parker,

                      <These days, no matter how nice the rest of the house may be, houses with fully remodeled and enlarged kitchens sell the quickest and for a higher premium over houses that still have older and/or smaller closed off kitchens>

                      This is absolutely true, yes. Yet when I worked real estate, most of the families I worked with were willing to let a dated kitchen slide if the house had the required number of beds/baths, and a large yard. That's why I say they don't prioritize kitchens so much. As long as the kitchen was marginally functional for them, it was less a deal-killer than inadequate baths, dated wallpaper, old stained carpet or a crappy yard. That was my experience.

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        I think, if I were house hunting, I'd be more likely to choose a home with an outdated kitchen at a lower price over a more expensive, comparable home with a renovated kitchen that didn't suit my needs. As long as there's good potential for renovation, I'd much rather make my own choices in products and design than live with someone else's.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Hi CindyJ,

                          Yes, that about sums it up. Many of my clients felt the same. If the rest of the house was up to par, they'd live with the kitchen. Although, for most of them, it was less about the design than the products. I showed some terrific kitchens that were rejected for the wrong color granite or cabs.

                          I do believe a lot of it has to do with immediate livability. It can be hard to move into a house with nasty carpet, but dated cabs/appliances and decent carpet? "We can fix those later" was a pretty common refrain.

                    2. re: DuffyH

                      The catering comment is a good one. If someone does a lot of catered entertaining, the optimum requirements for the kitchen will be different than for home cooking for a small number of people. I've seen a few of these kitchens - they're not ones I would like for cooking in myself, but they're great if you've got a bunch of people preparing a reception for 50 guests.

                  2. A gorgeous kitchen that cost a fortune that gets used once a year by the caterers.

                    1. So it's more about the human being, than the stuff. I can put out some fine grub from my kenmore and laminate castle

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                        "laminate castle"

                        What visions I'm having!

                      2. It's a combination of words only used by real estate agents

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hal2010

                          mature plantings - overgrown shrubs
                          close to amenities - on a busy street
                          loaded with potential - order a dumpster
                          mid century modern - 1960s split

                        2. Nothing more than my gourmet house, backyard, car, and everything else. I have the most expensive kitchen in the world to heat up Hot Pockets in the microwave. I have never used the kitchen for cooking. Just thinking about it makes me puke.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emglow101

                            And brings a tear to my eye

                          2. A gourmet kitchen is any kitchen that is being used to prepare thoughtful, delicious meals with the finest ingredients available/offordable to the cook.

                            I mean, what's the point of a hundred grand kitchen makeover if the fridge is empty and the oven never turned on. May as well downsize to a set of dishes and a dishwasher and order takeout and a small servicable butlers pantry.

                            1. A "gourmet kitchen" is a marketing ploy pure and simple.

                              1. In real estate terms it usually means* the kitchen had recently been updated or remodeled with top of the line appliances, cabinetry and counter surfaces. For new construction homes you would also expect a center island for eating/entertaining, built in bar area with separate sink, wine fridge and plenty of glass cabinets for all heights of booze bottles and wine glasses. There would also be a built in "office nook" and a large pantry.

                                *speaking of my area specifically.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  That's funny. We had a breakfast nook at my cousins' house growing up. I pretty much never hear anyone else say that word. :)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Breakfast nooks are very common on the west coast and southwest (AZ, NV at least) in homes built after 1980 or so. I found them less common in the mid-Atlantic and New England, even in the 1990's. They're also common here in Florida, or were when I was house-hunting 4 years ago.

                                    In smaller homes they would take the place of the dining room. Does your area have a lot of "eat-in" kitchens with space for a table? That table space is our breakfast nook.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      Interesting. Our family's house fit none of those criteria. Big Tudor house in CT, built in the 40s (?), formal dining room, eat-in kitchen PLUS the nook.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        And, just for fun, my uncle owned a restaurant--the home kitchen was nothing fancy whatsoever (we did have a Kitchen Aid mixer, but everything else was pretty basic), but we ate like royalty. Still do.

                                2. I may not meet the definition of a gourmet, but for me my kitchen is an extension of mise en place. There is adequate counter space, but also most of the things I use a lot are out and within easy reach. I would love a real restaurant caliber stove, but the budget for both space and money dictate a 30" wannabe, so don't blame the kitchen! I have worked in professional kitchens with lots of SS work tops. For my day to day use I like Corian better, especially for baking. To me a gourmet kitchen is one that has been configured and equipped within its owner's constraints to be a functional place that is personalized to his or her style of cooking.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    "There is adequate counter space, but also most of the things I use a lot are out and within easy reach." YUP! And enough cabinet/pantry space for all the tools, pans, etc. One day I want SPACE. Lots of SPACE.

                                  2. I think a gourmet kitchen is a real estate marketing term, and includes an island, granite, stainless and upgraded appliances- not necessarily top of the line expensive.

                                    1. I wouldn't start with major appliances but rather with ingredient-quality and some more microscopic matters.

                                      As a serious home cook, I MUST have knives of good quality, and sharp; pepper mills that grind evenly over a broad range of coarse/fine; various temperature gauges (Thermapen; oven probe); a scale for baking that can handle well north of 6lbs; fresh rather than old spices and herbs; kosher salt; and more, I'm sure.

                                      Nonserious cooks, and also vacation rental houses, seem never to have any of these things. And most people are perfectly happy, it seems. I know people who use jars of ground spices, for example, that expired over 5 years ago.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        This. I always travel with my knife.

                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                          A gourmet cook is different than a gourmet kitchen.

                                        2. Hmm, the term sounds a bit cheesy, so I would tend toward option B.

                                          We all have our preferences, but any reader of Laurie Colwin knows that someone who really loves to cook can do it just about anywhere with just about anything.

                                          1. “Gourmet” is different than a “Professional” style kitchen, IMHO
                                            My modest house was built in 1950. Not much space was allotted for the kitchens back then. I remodeled this kitchen in 2013. I looked into expanding the space but that would have necessitated a host of major construction changes so I decided against it. I have a “professional” style kitchen which is all about function not form. A “gourmet” kitchen to me is more about appearance than function although if you’re willing to spend the money you can have both. I care little about matching finishes or brand names. What I bought I researched thoroughly especially the gas range. I really wanted to buy a commercial style range but none of the three salesmen I spoke with could sell me on the improved function of a $10,000 range over the $2,500.00 range I ended up buying because there is very little functional difference, they just look very cool!

                                            1. It seems like the term gourmet seems hard to define, and hard for people not to make fun of. Furthermore, many restos in Paris (for example) turn out great food from spaces much smaller than many of our kitchens - many different items for a whole resto full of people!

                                              So how about this, if you want to use the term gourmet kitchen, one also has to say: well - equipped, and efficiently well sized. A smartly high end kitchen. Sure some would use it for show, but most of us who like to cook, would likely say: I'd love to cook with that in there! (regardless of current means)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: danlind3

                                                "Furthermore, many restos in Paris (for example) turn out great food from spaces much smaller than many of our kitchens - many different items for a whole resto full of people!"
                                                As Mick Jagger would say, "it's the singer not the song"

                                              2. Gourmet Kitchen is a realtors' term.