Comment of the Day: The Secret Loneliness of the ‘Chef’s Kitchen’

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SECRET LONELINESS OF THE ‘CHEF’S KITCHEN’ “It seems like the standard marketing protocol in homes like this is to always refer to the kitchen as a ‘cook’s kitchen’ or ‘chef’s kitchen.’ Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but a home cook/chef really doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles (48-in. gas range with double ovens, huge built-in fridge, pot filler, 2 dishwashers, prep sink, wine fridge, etc.) to produce a great end result for (presumably) just their own family. It’s almost like saying, ‘If you don’t have a kitchen like this, you must not be a very serious cook!’ I know it’s just salesmanship, but rubs me the wrong way nonetheless. That, and I think deep down inside that there might be a little bit of an inverse relationship between the price tag of the kitchen and the amount of cooking that actually gets done in them. It’s kind of like calling a four-car garage a ‘mechanic’s dream’ even though it’s really most likely that it’s going to be holding a couple decades’ worth of crap that no one wants to get rid of. Maybe a car or two.” [Balthazar, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Eat in Kitchen] Illustration: Lulu

9 Comment

  • I don’t know, i actually cook quite a bit, and since I’ve gone from a standard electric stove to high BTU gas, I can’t go back now, the sear is so sweet. Also while buying expensive fresh seafood it helps to have an oversized fridge with accurate temperature control and no uneven zones to help keep it fresher. From now on for me a “gourmet” kitchen is a must.

  • Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean much anymore, anyway. My neighbors are selling their un-modified 2003 Urban Lofts townhome, complete with original builder’s-grade gas stove and laminate countertops, yet they’re still advertising it as a “gourmet kitchen” in the listing. Hey, if it works, I’m good with it. Makes our slightly upgraded granite and SS stove seem really fancy.

    Oh, and for the house my wife and I are designing, the kitchen equipment is mandatory for us. Wolf 48″ stovetop, Subzero fridge/freezer, steam oven….It’s not about how many people you cook for, it’s how often you cook. We fix almost ever meal ourselves, often me doing dinner while my wife does lunch for the next day. Having the ability to store large amounts of produce (to reduce shopping trips) and leftovers, and a large stovetop to let us both cook at the same time, are absolute requirements to increase our efficiency.

  • Real estate prices in major metro areas have gone so completely off the rails that people do not even blink at putting in a $10,000 stove. Basically, if you are going to be spending several hundred thousand just for the dirt, who cares if you throw down $40-50k on appliances. In fact, if you don’t have the “chef’s kitchen” and you try to sell, the market will clean your clock as everyone has been programmed to expect the high end appliances.

  • We cook a lot (mostly my wife nowadays) and it’s an absolute must for all of our homes. We were spoiled in our first house (it came w/ a Sub-Zero, Wolf range/oven, and Asko Dishwasher). When we moved, we knew we were getting the 48″ Wolf range top w/ 24″ griddle — freaking amazing. We have a large family and I love cooking 9-12 pancakes at a time on the griddle for our weekend breakfasts. My wife also makes a ton of great meals for us. Unfortunately, we had to settled on Electrolux column fridge and freezer, which have a great look to them, but the quality isn’t there compared to the Sub-Zero. It’s an acceptable tradeoff give that it saved us $17K. As for the Electrolux dishwasher, it’s a piece of crap. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my Asko dishwasher.

  • @ Chris C.: Back in 2003, you must remember, even the standard Urban Lofts kitchens *actually were* kind of fancy and yours would’ve probably been marketed alongside some sort of descriptor like “gourmet”. Things sure did evolve quickly.
    I for one am rejecting the fancy appliance thing. I do not need a ton of money tied up in something relatively expensive and difficult for a DIYer to repair that depreciates faster than the house and that can become functionally or aesthetically obsolete an such an accelerated basis. (By contrast, just to elucidate my values further, I am totally into converting an old chest freezer that I got on Craigslist into a kegerator.)

  • I cooked something once out of Gordon Ramsay’s cook book, my kitchen is a chef’s kitchen!

  • The kitchen at Chez Panisse in Berkeley is actually smaller than many of the kitchens in large new build Houston homes. You really don’t need tons of space and huge high end appliances to make a decent meal.

  • @TheNiche – Honestly, how many things are left that a DIY’er can repair themselves to begin with? I can manage a lot of basic home repairs like carpentry, plumbing, and electrical, but there’s not a single basic large appliance I’d touch. Even the simple stuff has electronics at their heart these days.

  • @ Chris C.: Not many, I don’t think. It’s not just that the tech has advanced, but also that the labor market has (de)volved such that the people who can most afford the tech (and that may not even be able to afford it) are the least likely to understand it.