Re: Kitchen design
From: Douglas G. Larson (
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 06:37:34 -0800 (PST)
I have a few thoughts on your ideas for the Common House kitchen.  

1) While you may be able to find commercial stoves with 8 burners, I
wouldn't necessarily choose one. We have 6 burners on our commercial gas
stove and I actually would opt for fewer with more space between
burners. I suggest two stoves each with 4 burners for flexibility of
cooking with ample room. 

2) A kitchen big enough to comfortably handle 5 cooks will be huge. Keep
in mind that the bigger the kitchen the more you will be walking around
and that adds to fatigue as well as affecting the efficiency of food
prep. You want to minimize the number of steps between where chopping
and dicing takes place the the stove where it is cooked, as well as the
steps to the sink and dishwasher. 

3) I suggest open cupboards and shelves without doors. This is a working
kitchen and you don't want the opening of doors to get utensils to slow
you down. 

4) I would put at lot of thought and planning into designing the meal
program, i.e. how to organize who cooks and cleans, how is food
purchased, what the costs will be, how many meals per week you are
aiming for. I highly recommend that you create a program that has food
buyers and the you generally not allow cooks to do the buying. This will
allow you to take full advantage of bulk and wholesale buying and will
minimize impulse buying. 

5) Talk to an architect about flooring options that minimize fatigue.
Rubber mats might do the trick but talk with a professional. Maybe even
visit some restaurants and ask them about it or find an ergonomic
specialist or professional and ask them. 

6) If you are going to truly have 100 people per meal then a walk-in
refrigerator and/or freezer might be the way to go. When you go this
route the entire building housing them has to be taken into

7)  Keep ease of cleaning and maintenance in mind during your design and
appliance selection. A kitchen big enough to handle 5 cooks and feed 100
people will take a lot of work to maintain. Any step to improve the
efficiency of that will be useful. 

8)  Finally I would be hesitant about allowing the "bigger is better"
belief to take over your planning. You don't want to feel cramped or
that you can't handle the crowds but you may find that smaller may be
more flexible than bigger. 

Douglas G. Larson
Songaia, Cohousing
Bothell, Washington

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar - Helen


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