Carefully considered storage can mean the difference between unwieldy workflow and seamless success in the kitchen. For an avid or professional cook, thinking through where everything goes is particularly important. A well-organized kitchen should address your particular cooking needs, and the way you prefer to prepare meals.
Before implementing kitchen storage solutions, a number of factors should be defined: how often, how many, and your preferred cuisine. “How often” addresses the need for items being easily accessed or reached on regular basis. “How many” quantifies the number of cooks that are active participants in preparing food and the number of guests who will gather in the space to converse and potentially to dine. “Preferred cuisine” defines what types of work stations will be required, from baking to poultry and meat preparation to any other sort of personalized task area.
The key to successful storage planning is to begin with a list of your essential preparation and cooking items and design the storage around these items and the spot where they will most be used. Create work scenarios where the items you will need are close by, eliminating congested traffic paths and shortened times required for the task. Once you have identified your kitchen storage necessities along with a wish list, the available solutions are limitless. The following are some of the many options that you may wish to contemplate.
An ideal food prep location should be near—but not too near—the range or cooktop. As part of an island, an end-grain chopping block or movable table on locking wheels can offer a flexible prep, carving, and kitchen storage idea. Such tables often have a lower shelf or two, as well as drawers where cleavers, carving, and paring knives can be stored flat or in a knife block that sits on top.
A section of wall space designated to broad open shelves will provide a visual point of interest while also providing a place to put anything from stacked plates, glasses, bowls, and coffee mugs to coordinating canisters containing rice, dried beans, and pasta. The location of the shelved can be aligned with their purpose.
Magnetic panels affixed to the wall above or behind a cooktop or countertop can hold carving and utility knives, making them easy to locate and quick to reach as food preparation is underway. A row of hooks can serve a similar purpose for utensils or small sauce and reduction pans. An overhead pot rack is a kitchen classic and long-time solution for keeping pans nearby.
Drawer dividers, while not new, are more customizable than ever, with size-appropriate slots allocated to spice jars, utensils, flatware, carving knives, and odd-shaped or lengthier items such as garlic presses, vegetable choppers, wine openers, oversized serving utensils, whisks, and measuring cups. Wood box inserts with cross dividers make the solution entirely customizable. Instead of relegating all items to a large catch-all drawer, where items become disorganized, the cook can be assured that the item will be on-hand and within reach of their prep station, thereby reducing overall time to prepare a meal.
A slim cabinet near the cook space can hold wire basket pull-outs appropriately sized for bottles of oils, herb and spice canisters, and containers of grains. Deep drawers can be assigned to hold small countertop appliances, such as toasters, coffee grinders and stand mixers, to avoid clutter on the work surfaces. Open shelves tucked just beneath an island top can also serve this function and will serve a regular baker well. Dish pegs installed in the bottom of a deep drawer will allow dishes to be viewed and reached from a bird’s eye view, rather than reaching up overhead without a clear view.
Countertop clean up can be achieved, in part, by a removable drop-in compost container set into a custom opening in the surface. Waste management is manageable with separate refuse and recyclable containers kept in a roll-out unit behind a lower cabinet door. A graduated succession of fully extendable pull-out shelves also in a lower cabinet can accommodate the varying sizes of small to large pans, skillets, and stock pots, along with lids, eliminating the stacking approach.
Indeed, these are just a few of the many options available to the avid or professional cook in crafting a space in which to create culinary masterpieces. Forget cookie-cutter kitchens with predetermined storage spaces. Today’s cooking places can be easily customized and tailored to your exact cooking needs. Your new kitchen should be as individual and unique as you.