Famous Chefs Tom Douglas & Ethan Stowell’s Dream Home Kitchens
With “Top Chef” nominated for this year’s Emmy Awards, fine cuisine is making its way into households around the nation. But, great cooking isn’t restricted to a reality TV show or a five-star restaurant. Famous chefs and restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell are believers that culinary magic can happen at home.
“My dad got this oven through work for about $225 in 1958,” Douglas said, recalling his home kitchen growing up. “It was a big white porcelain piece with a shiny chrome top, matching salt and pepper shakers and a little timer above.”
Fortunately, kitchen design has come a long way since the ’50s. Today’s industrial-grade features provide the best of restaurant-quality cooking in residential kitchens. Here’s some inspiration from Zillow Digs to get your culinary design juices flowing.
Douglas, who owns 11 top Seattle restaurants, prefers a blazing hot commercial grade gas burner, preferably one with at least 32,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs).
Ethan Stowell, of Seattle’s famous Tavolàta restaurant, agrees. “My dad’s stove has about 7,000 BTUs, which is just terrible,” he said. “You want as much power as you can get from your stove and a big open flame gives that.”
Appliances for your lifestyle
Kitchen designs that take a family’s lifestyle into account are also ideal, according to Stowell.
“We cook a lot of pasta, so we installed a hot water spigot at the back of our oven range to fill the pot right there,” he said. “You want features that makes sense for the way you work.”
Everything in its place
Storage matters in the kitchen, especially if it means added efficiency. Douglas installed large, open shelving throughout his home kitchen to keep items such as glassware and dishes close at hand.
“I keep a set of china from each of my restaurants at home for creative sessions,” he explained. “I can easily grab a plate we use at the Dahlia Lounge from the shelf and see what a dish would look like directly there.”
Space to prep
Chopped, sliced or diced — however you choose to cut it, Stowell says having plenty of room to work is a necessity for home kitchens.
“If there was one thing I could change about my home kitchen it would be to add more counter space. Wide open counters make it easier to lay out plates for a 15-person party or baste a Thanksgiving turkey,” he said.
For now, he and his wife have installed an extended butcher block with a folded wing for extra space when needed.
Kitchen-side seating, as pictured above, affords a more intimate view at the inner workings of a cheerful home breakfast service. Stowell uses his breakfast nook every day as a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the restaurant industry.
“Most couples spend their time together at night; we spend ours in the morning,” he said. “Between the hours of seven to ten, we often visit over steel-cut oatmeal and egg scrambles.”
Room to entertain
No home chef wants to be slaving over the oven alone while the party is in full swing in the dining room. Douglas’ kitchen maintains sight lines between prep and serving areas to allow conversation to flow naturally between him and guests.
When it comes to clean-up, large pots need plenty of space to soak up suds.
“A big basin sink lets you scrub everything out. Think wide, not deep,” Stowell said.
Douglas favors a double-prep sink with separate compartments for rinsing produce and washing cookware.
“Having a place to clear dishes is important. When it comes to cooking, convenience is everything,” he said.
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