Chef's kitchens are the ultimate in luxury for any budding cook or food enthusiast. Technological advances in kitchen design mean that creating a professional or gourmet kitchen – once reserved for the best restaurants – at home is even easier to achieve than before.
These chef's kitchen ideas are our very favorites – you can save the images you love, then start the hard work: looking at everything, from the best kitchen storage and ergonomically sound designs – to how close your pantry is to your stove or oven (after all, you don’t want to end up walking the length of the room every time you need an ingredient).
Make sure your gourmet kitchen is chef-worthy with these tips and design tricks from the experts.
Chef's kitchens – everything you need to know to create a gourmet kitchen at home
If you’re using a kitchen designer, they will be able to advise on a professional design that looks good and works perfectly, too. But, it always helps to go to them with your own kitchen ideas.
1. Plan for efficiency
Complex cooking requires a kitchen layout focused on the economy of movement, with the ‘chef ’ at the center of the action.
‘My perfect home layout includes banked appliances, at eye-level, an island for entertaining and a well-stocked pantry,' says chef Galton Blackiston, brand ambassador for Tom Howley.
A good kitchen designer will be able to come up with solutions for the trickiest of spaces but if you feel you want to explore the room’s potential further, and are perhaps considering structural work, it is worth consulting an interior designer or architect.
2. Choose a double galley layout
Double galley kitchen ideas and layouts – or a single galley with a long island running parallel – are efficient, requiring only a few steps between prep, sink and cooking.
‘To make the cooking process seamless, every item should have a purpose and a place – you should be able to reach whatever you need almost without thinking about it so that you can focus on guests as well as cooking,’ advises Galton Blackiston.
3. Opt for fuss-free surfaces
‘When planning your kitchen countertop ideas, avoid materials that can scratch or stain easily,’ says Allison Lynch, senior design consultant at Roundhouse, which has made domestic kitchens for several chefs including Yotam Ottolenghi and Peter Gordon.
‘We’d recommend man-made composite stone, like quartz or sintered stone, or stainless steel surfaces that are industrial in style and very hygienic as well as easy to use. This eliminates the stress of staining, and hot pans can go directly on them, too.’
4. Invest in a generous sink
A well-equipped kitchen sink with space either side for draining is useful. ‘Get the largest sink you can fit,’ advises chef and food writer Judi Rose, brand ambassador for Franke.
‘With today’s adds-ons like inset cutting boards, trivets and colanders, you needn’t sacrifice prep space, but a big sink can accommodate huge roasting pans and hide dirty pots when entertaining.’ A double or 1.5 bowl model is more versatile than a single bowl, and an extra sink near the main prep area is useful for rinsing ingredients and washing hands.
The trend for industrial stainless steel countertops and sinks remains popular, particularly amid those seeking a professional cook’s kitchen, as chosen for this chef's kitchen by award-winning designer Rosalind Wilson, founder Rosalind Wilson Design.
5. Go for the best appliances you can afford
Cooking for crowds requires at least two high-capacity ovens. Eye-level designs are easiest to monitor progress, but many chefs prefer the volume and robustness of a range cooker.
‘Cook tops must be flexible and accommodate multiple pans. A combination of gas burners, steel plates and induction hobs will cover all bases, while features such as a teppanyaki and built-in grills are ideal for a dash of pro chef-style culinary theatre,’ says Camille Syren, chef de projects, La Cornue.
When designing a chef's kitchen, Eggersmann Design’s creative director Gary Singer often includes high-tech appliances like built-in steam ovens and vacuum-sealers for sous-vide cooking.
6. Ensure your chef's kitchen is organized
Keeping a well-stocked food store is vital in busy restaurant kitchens and a generous larder cupboard or walk-in pantry is the perfect domestic equivalent.
‘A good chef will organize contents rigidly, making sure everything is easy to see, at a glance, so that ingredients can be gathered quickly,’ says chef and author Peter Sidwell, brand ambassador for Symphony Kitchens.
In the main kitchen, open shelves, wall-mounted knife blocks and ceiling-hung pan racks are similarly efficient in terms of speed and accessibility but do install a decent extractor to keep grease at bay.
7. Modernize with a metal backsplash
If you're looking for metal kitchen backsplash ideas that are hard-wearing, extremely heat-resistant and ultra-hygienic, a stainless-steel backsplash can withstand anything the busiest kitchen can throw at it.
Naturally, these surfaces have antimicrobial properties, which make them a good option for a gourmet or chef's kitchen.
8. Put kitchen lighting at the forefront
Kitchen lighting ideas are an important part of any chef's kitchen, with functional and aesthetic illumination particularly important in a space that is used regularly for cooking and entertaining.
Chef's kitchens will need to include task, mood and feature lighting. Task lighting is the most practical and covers hardworking areas like the prep space, cooking area and the sink; mood lighting creates different atmospheres and feature lighting is eye-catching and can simply introduce a bit of ambiance – perfect for entertaining.
When choosing kitchen lighting close to food prep areas – and kitchen islands – it is vital that you get it right, first time. Getting it just right requires advance planning, especially on islands beyond two metres long. Determining what will happen on the island first will help plan exactly where you need illumination.
9. Maximize kitchen and pantry storage
Clever kitchen storage and pantry organization ideas will maximize space to make the most of your chef's kitchen.
Getting a brilliant storage system in place will also mean that everything is always to hand so that you can access what you need swiftly. Tall, narrow pantries can be easily fitted into most kitchens and they're a good use of floor space. Alternatively, floor-to-ceiling shelving is a brilliant pantry organization tip. As long as you arrange them well, they will serve you well.
10. Provide a place for perching
Galley kitchen ideas are celebrated for their cooking efficiency but they’re usually found in enclosed rooms and therefore not the most sociable of arrangements. If you have sufficient length available, a banquette-style nook is a great way to provide somewhere for people to chat, without interrupting culinary progress. The key is to choose a table that won’t impede access into the heart of the kitchen.
Here, a built-in seat with storage above and below means the dining area doesn’t steal precious cupboard space, and the table and stools can easily be pushed in tight when not required.
What is a chef's kitchen?
The best chef’s kitchen will include kitchen layout ideas that focus on movement. A double galley layout with a long kitchen island running parallel is often the optimum choice for a chef.
Every item in your chef's kitchen should have a purpose to make the cooking and prep process as seamless – and fuss-free – as possible. Keep appliances at eye-level and make sure that you kitchen storage ideas are up to scratch, and the pantry fully-stocked with everything you need to host the perfect party or family dinner.
Sign up to the Homes & Gardens newsletter
Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
5 things people with nice-smelling living rooms never do
Avoid these five common pitfalls for a living room that always smells fresh and fragrant
By Seraphina Di Mizzurati Published
Emily Henderson's DIY Christmas wreath is 'non-traditional' for a modern look – it's so simple to recreate with just ribbons
Interior designer Emily Henderson shares her modern and simple approach to styling a Christmas wreath. Here, we explain how to recreate the look
By Emily Moorman Published