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Gourmet Kitchen Design Tips & Upgrades (That Won’t Break the Bank)


By Emily Webb
August 25, 2021

What sets professional chefs apart from amateur cooks isn’t just training and skill level—the design of the kitchen also makes a big difference. Professional kitchens are streamlined for efficiency, helping the chef seamlessly move from the fridge to the stove to the sink.

When designing a gourmet kitchen for your own home, it helps to look to professional chef kitchens for inspiration. However, you don’t need to completely remodel your kitchen or purchase professional-grade equipment to create a gourmet kitchen.

In fact, you can introduce chef-worthy functionality to your kitchen with just a few minor, budget-friendly upgrades.

What is a Gourmet Kitchen?

Chef-style gourmet kitchen with professional grade appliances

When you imagine a gourmet kitchen, you might picture a vast, spacious room packed full of top-of-the-line kitchen appliances. While abundant space and fancy equipment are great, they are not necessary for a well-organized, professional kitchen.

The central defining feature of any professional kitchen is ease of access. Counters shouldn’t be cluttered with utensils or other implements, the walkways should be free of obstacles, and everything you might need during the food preparation stage should be within reach.

The Kitchen Work Triangle

The most optimal kitchens adhere to a design principle known as the “kitchen work triangle.” It was developed in the 1920s by the industrial psychologist, engineer, and efficiency expert Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who originally referred to it as “circular routing.”

The kitchen work triangle attempts to maximize the efficiency of a one-cook kitchen by limiting how much an individual moves around a kitchen and how much time it takes to get from one task to another.

gourmet kitchen design that demonstrates kitchen work triangle layout

The three points of the triangle are the food preparation area (sink or cutting board), the food storage area (refrigerator), and the cooktop. A triangular design keeps all of the most pivotal cooking zones within a few steps of each other, so no time is wasted dashing around the kitchen.

As you plan your kitchen’s layout, consider how you can apply the principles of time and motion efficiency to create a workspace that would fit in at any professional establishment.

If your kitchen doesn’t currently follow the kitchen work triangle model—or you feel like the current layout is hindering your cooking experience—it might be worth meeting with a professional interior designer to discuss ways you can remodel and optimize your current kitchen setup.

How to Design a Gourmet Kitchen—4 Tips to Get Started

A brand new kitchen island, designer range hoods, and high-powered ovens would undoubtedly enhance your kitchen’s functionality. However, one of the best ways to start your gourmet kitchen design is to focus on simple upgrades that elevate what’s already in your kitchen (without requiring a major remodel to install).

1. Optimize & Accessorize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Blind corner optimizers make the most of your cabinet space.

Think about your current cabinet setup—do you know where all your ingredients are stored? Are the items you use most (sugar, flour, spices, etc.) within reach and well laid out? Can you always find the appliances you’re looking for?

In a gourmet kitchen, adequate cabinet organization and storage are vital. Because all the counter space is dedicated to food preparation, you won’t want to keep your mixer or spice racks out in the open. Instead, identify ways you can transform your cabinets into the perfect storage solution.

Installations like a Base Cabinet Appliance Lift Shelf can be fitted to your cabinet to both hold your appliances and raise them to counter height when you need to use them.

The empty space between cupboards can be utilized for ingredient or appliance storage through the addition of a pull-out organizer or a blind-corner optimizer. Lazy Susans are also a great way to supplement the shelf space in your cabinets and allow you to quickly grab the right tool.

And, of course, no gourmet kitchen design is complete without a spice rack organizer. Consider installing an in-between cabinet pull-out spice organizer near your oven for optimal storing and ease of access.

An appliance lift shelf safely stores your appliances and frees up counterspace.

In-between cabinet pull-outs cleverly and conveniently utilize unused cabinet space. 

Pull-out waste baskets make it easy to compost food and clear waste.

If you have the budget for it, it might be worth customizing your cabinets to include a warming drawer or microwave drawer. This kind of upgrade is more complicated than the other cabinet optimizations we mentioned, so it may be worth working with a professional interior designer and installer.

2. Upgrade Your Sink

The versatile Franke Culinary Center Sink includes accessories like a walnut cutting board, wire rack, knife set, knife holder, and more.

When it comes to getting the food ready to cook, the two most important features are the countertops and the sink. If your kitchen has enough space for an island or a bar, that can serve as a dedicated workspace in the middle of the action. Many professional chefs even install a separate prep sink in the island, or use a cutting board material for the island surface.

If you want to put together a gourmet kitchen, consider using a sink specially designed to assist chefs in preparing food. Instead of a single basin or two basins of the same size, many professional-level sinks feature a thin side basin or a section for organization utensils or cleaning implements.

With a sink like the Franke Chef Center 28.13" Stainless Steel Single Basin Undermount Kitchen Sink, you can place a cutting board right beside the basin and use the additional compartments to store your knives or hold your food scraps before throwing them in the compost bin.

Another option, the Franke Culinary Center Stainless Steel Double Basin Undermount Kitchen Sink, allows for some versatility. You can either use the right-hand basin for holding dirty dishes or rinsing vegetables, or integrate custom accessories that turn the basin into a drying rack, cutting board storage, or colander.

3. Invest in a Culinary Faucet

Culinary award-winning blanco faucet

The award-winning Blanco Culina Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet is one of the top-recommended faucets for at-home chefs and culinary enthusiasts.

To really take your food prep area to the next level, add a culinary faucet to your sink. These faucets, also known as pre-rinse faucets, are built to withstand heavy use and provide flexibility to the user. They usually combine a traditional faucet and a pressure nozzle in a single, sleek appliance, and can be pulled down or moved to better reach the dishes.

The high arc and coils of the Blanco Culina Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet in Satin Nickel, for example, allow the faucet to hit every corner of the sink. And if you’re worried about potential contamination or just want the most convenient possible option, look into touchless faucets like the Sensate Pull-Down Touchless Kitchen Faucet in Vibrant Stainless with Black Accent.

You can simplify the cooking process further by installing a pot filler near your range. These specialty faucets sit flush against the wall when not in use and swing out when you need to get water ready to boil. Instead of carrying a heavy pot of water from the sink to the stove, save the steps and seconds by filling the pot right on your cooktop.

4. Enhance Your Task Lighting

White kitchen with kitchen pendants, under cabinet lighting, and recessed task lighting

Kitchen pendants, under-cabinet lighting, and other task lighting sources are vital to a gourmet kitchen design.

A bright, well-lit kitchen isn’t just beautiful—it’s also much easier to work in. And there are ways to incorporate additional lighting into your kitchen that will keep you from straining your eyes without overburdening the space.

Under-cabinet lighting adds soft illumination to your kitchen directly over the places where you most need it. Options include strip lighting that runs along the cabinets or individual lights that you can attach as needed.

Pendant lighting over your kitchen island can brighten up the room while adding to your overall aesthetic. Most pendant lighting fits well with a modern interior design, a popular style for gourmet kitchens.

Track pendants are lights attached to a track on the ceiling, allowing you to adjust the lights as needed. Multi-pendant lighting is ideal for large kitchens, and drum lighting lets you pick a material and look that fits into any design scheme.

Take Your Gourmet Kitchen Design to the Next Level

If you have the time and the budget to do it, the next best gourmet kitchen upgrades could include adding a new kitchen island, customizing your cabinets for new appliances, or adjusting the layout so it aligns with the kitchen work triangle.

A professional interior designer can help you make the most out of your gourmet kitchen remodel and ensure you have everything you need for a successful project. They can even help you save money! Contact one of our expert Vevano Home designers today for a free consultation about updating your home kitchen into a workspace worthy of a professional chef.