Pro vs. Pro-Style at Home

When Megan was in culinary school I thought a lot about the difference between ambitious home cooking and restaurant cooking, and now that we’re trying to design a kitchen together I have to think a lot about the difference between trendy “pro-style” home kitchen equipment and actual commercial kitchen equipment. And of course the entire design goal of a pro kitchen is different. A home kitchen is the heart of a home, where you hang out with your friends. A pro kitchen is a workplace designed to the needs of the budget and the health inspector. The style and comfort of the actual cook barely figure into the process at all.

People will say “I want a professional kitchen,” but they don’t mean a twelve-and-a-half-foot-long three-basin sink. In a restaurant kitchen, you need three basins to meet code: wash, rinse, sanitize. In my kitchen, I’m going with one basin. And I will wash both my hands and my dishes in that sink instead of having a separate handwash station.

In a restaurant kitchen, you give the cooks as little space as you possibly can, so that you can have a larger dining room. You don’t care if it’s cramped and hot and noisy, as long as the line cooks don’t get heat stroke too often.

And trust me, Sub-Zero almost certainly doesn’t make the stove in your favorite restaurant. If they’re not using hot-plate-style one-pot induction burners they’re using an old beast with pilot lights and dangerously sharp corners that doesn’t fit anywhere near a standard countertop.

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