Our recent office move involved serious box-lugging, but there was also a fun part – designing our beautiful new test kitchen. Here’s how we achieved the perfect balance between form and function.
To guarantee your success when cooking our recipes at home, we need to test them in an environment akin to a domestic kitchen – no blast chillers or industrial ovens for us! But with up to 80 recipes to test each month and our food team vying for workspace, our needs are a bit different to those of your average home cook. For advice, we turned to Masterclass Kitchens.
The food team’s design brief
- Fridge and freezer space - We conduct regular taste tests, so we need lots of fridge/freezer space for all the products we receive. That means two large upright fridges, a small fridge and a large upright freezer. To maintain sleek lines we wanted them to be as integrated as possible.
- A touch of glamour - We had to make sure our kitchen was camera-friendly for videos and photoshoots. Work surfaces needed to be matt to minimise reflections, and in a subdued colour so the food takes centre stage.
- Easy access - We have an ever-expanding stock of bottles of oils and sauces, and require a lots of other ingredients, herbs and spices, all of which need to be easily accessible.
- Storage - We’ve got cake tins, baking trays, pots and pans of all shapes and sizes, so plenty of storage space is vital. Finding a place for these without compromising the calm, uncluttered space was essential for the kitchen design.
The work triangle
There’s no such thing as too much planning when it comes to designing a perfect kitchen. One method of rationalising what needs to go where is the ‘kitchen work triangle’ theory, developed in the US in the 1940s. The theory states that an efficient one-person kitchen should have the three most-used work sites (the cook’s prep station, the cooker and the fridge) positioned in a triangle so they’re next to each other.
Gerald Jones, managing director of Masterclass Kitchens says: “This is common-sense planning – specific areas of the kitchen are devoted to specific tasks. There are many ways you can refine this theory, but it all comes back to the same principle.”
To add to the complexity of the challenge, the delicious. kitchen needed to accommodate three of these work triangles in a relatively limited space. “When we’re testing recipes, we each need our own work station so we’re not tripping over each other,” says food editor Lizzie. Islands are efficient ways of creating the kitchen work triangle – if you have the space – so an L-shaped island was an obvious solution here. Plus, an island means the members of the food team can work facing the camera when we’re filming.
- Work surface - Granite worktops look fantastic, but they’re expensive and can get stained. Laminate surfaces, like ours, are a practical and cost-effective alternative. The muted grey speckled colour doesn’t show up marks. Keep the tones muted, and use bright appliances and pots of herbs to brighten things up.
- Maximising work space - With so much to do in our kitchen, we were after as much worktop space as possible, so an island was the solution. We also made sure ours had plenty of storage underneath and lots of electricity points. If you can’t afford the space or cost of a fixed island, a small kitchen trolley or butcher’s block makes a good alternative.
- Sink magic - In a busy kitchen, a good-size double sink makes washing-up easier. And a waste-disposal unit ensures food matter is disposed of efficiently. “It’s made getting rid of food waste so much easier,” says cookery assistant Charlie. “Not that we have any unwanted leftovers…” Because of time pressures in our kitchen, we can’t wait for a kettle to boil. The energy-saving boiling water tap from Franke (franke.com) was fitted by experts and gives us an instant supply of freshly boiled water.
- Make light work - Gerald Jones from Masterclass Kitchens says: “There are two types of lighting: mood lighting creates an atmosphere, while task lighting is practical and targeted. This is especially important in the kitchen, where you need to see what you’re doing.” We installed spotlights over each workstation to give light without casting shadows. Low-hanging pendants add mood and task lighting, while spotlights under wall cabinets are a cost-effective way to add task lighting.
- Non-slip floor - The floor surface was a no-brainer. You may want a more glamorous look at home, but we were after an easy-clean, non-slip floor. Black can make a room look smaller, but that wasn’t a problem in our open-plan kitchen, so that’s the colour we chose – in practical vinyl.
- Bespoke storage - Custom-designed drawers are surprisingly cost-effective. The dividers slot perfectly into the drawers, and can be arranged in the permutation of your choice, so no space is wasted. The wide, shallow drawers enable us to find the wooden spoon or spatula we want without wasting time rummaging around. Large, deep drawers with moveable dividers mean you can tailor the drawers to suit your needs and personalise your work areas.
To celebrate our new Masterclass kitchen at delicious. HQ, Masterclass is offering up to £1,000 in cashback on one of their kitchens, exclusively for delicious. readers! Register on the Masterclass Kitchens website now.