Open-Minded Kitchen Spaces

These days, home owners are short on leisure time, but while they may be spending less time in their kitchens, there is nothing tentative about the growing interest in cooking. Credit the new gourmet headspace to the myriad cooking shows bombarding us, albeit in a pleasurable way, from our television sets, or just chalk up the "foodie" craze to a breakdown of the cultural barriers between the classes. Whatever way you slice it, people are more serious about cooking than ever before. Along with the obsession for producing really good food comes the desire for a professional kitchen—one that employs the open kitchen concept where guests can cook alongside their hosts.

Knife Skills

Our desire for sharing the pleasure of cooking is about releasing that bit of the show-off that resides in all good cooks. We like the idea that others can see our knife skills and the way we get those cross-hatch markings just right on that grilled tuna steak. All this means that the walls must come down, the kitchen opened up, and the cooking process not hidden behind closed doors.

One nifty aspect of the open kitchen is that it provides the perfect space for team work. If you like to host dinner parties where the guests pitch right in with food preparation, the open kitchen is just the ticket. There is something about teamwork cooking that raises the spirits and warms the atmosphere. Bringing your guests into the kitchen makes them feel at home, while cooking as a team adds to the feeling of shared enterprise and community.

For the owner of the open kitchen, the bonuses are many. Even when you're home alone, the open kitchen prevents that feeling of claustrophobia that hovers near in an enclosed kitchen. There's something cheery about the open kitchen and that's important, since most of us spend more time in our kitchens than in any other room in the house.

Enthusiastic Guests

The open kitchen also creates a feeling of energy. It's impossible for a party to become dull when there's action in an open kitchen nearby. Watching your meticulous vegetable preparation or your élan in plating 18 main courses is bound to result in guests getting caught up in the enthusiasm.

If you delight in using the freshest ingredients and find that cooking is sheer pleasure, you'll feel a thrill as your dinner guests see the beautiful crisp greens you've purchased just that morning from the farmer's market, knowing they understand the care you've taken in procuring the finest ingredients. You'll beam as you watch from the corner of your eyes your guests sniffing the wonderful aromas you produce with your labors.

Exhaust Hood

One important issue must be addressed in the open kitchen and that is the issue of airflow. Make sure to consult an expert about purchasing an exhaust hood. You'll want the hood to be large enough to vent the food odors, heat, and vapor out of the kitchen and not into your dining room. This can create a significant additional investment. Also, unless you have a nice large kitchen, the noise of your exhaust system may become problematic. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system operations must work in tandem and require some attention to provide the proper air balance. This is important because the air being brought in from outside is diffused to a larger open space.