It used to be in the past that the kitchen was a restricted room and entered only by the chef, the help or his/her staff, very much hidden from the eyes of visitors, it was also not a surprise if it was thought that these walls were there to keep the chef’s culinary secrets safe or that he had a secret ingredient that he wanted kept away from prying eyes.
Kitchens were normally placed at the back of the building surrounded by the four walls – keeping in the sound and heat from a busy kitchen.
It is no longer the case today. Looking into the concept of food and beverage outlets and designs of commercial kitchens, the tides have obviously turned. Where before, the kitchen which was hot, noisy and a spoiler to a nice dining environment, today for many they are the star attractions. Boldly positioned at the front of the house with chefs working hard directly in the line of the customers’ eyes, these “OPEN” kitchens have become one factor to why your guests dine with you.
In today’s celebrity chefs’ era, Ben Gregoire our VP in our Malaysia office shares that many diners will pay top dollar to go to a restaurant to get a glimpse of the chef working his magic. “Open kitchens break down the mystery to where your food is coming from and highlights the high level of skill and creativity that goes into a chef’s menu making it an experience for the diners.”
We all have definitely come across many layouts where the kitchen was the main focal point. If you plan to have one for your next F&B venture, it is not as easy as just foregoing the walls. And it is not just the fancy equipment displayed behind glass walls that will do the trick.
These kitchens must work effectively. From the point of food preparation, cooking and service, your team’s movement within the space is the utmost concern when it comes to the design. A poorly designed one might have your team looking like hamsters running around in cages – for all to see.
On top of functionality, because of its open view – the need to maintain hygiene standards and strict upkeep of these designs are crucial. An exposed kitchen with poorly maintained areas and equipment alike, doesn’t serve confidence to your customers.
And when the walls come down, be prepared to combat the issue of smell and heat that your customers might experience.
So, before you start tearing down the walls to jump on the bandwagon, look at some core points that you would need to open your mind to first:
- How much “open” kitchen are we talking about?
- Does your menu make sense for an open kitchen?
- Can you truly maintain the “look and feel” of an open kitchen?
- Are you ready for the social media praises and bashes?
- Open or close kitchens, they both work. It is just a matter of what YOU can cope with for your business that is more important.
How an “open kitchen” looks like amid a busy day in Rosewood Hong Kong, a project done by CKP. (Image via CKP)
In CKP, we have had the pleasure of working with many great chefs and have brought their menu and skills to the forefront for the pleasure of their diners. As we work on our next exciting design, head to our gallery for some ideas and let’s brainstorm your next big venture!
CKP Hospitality Consultants – formerly Creative Kitchen Planners – is a global hospitality design and concept firm that assists clients to plan, develop and implement successful F&B venues. We’ve been at it for over 30 years and today, with over 1800 completed projects worldwide, we have set the benchmark and redefined global standards in the hospitality design industry.