Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'm already planning my menu. Cooking is one of my passions, and, for me, it doesn't get any better than preparing a meal for my closest friends and family. I know that not everyone feels that way -- it's a big job!
That's why some people prefer to leave the cooking to the professionals and have caterers prepare and serve the meal in their home. Of course, many of my clients entertain not only during the holidays, but also year-round, and having a caterer-friendly kitchen is a must.
With all of my projects, I filter my designer lens with both perspectives of a do-it-yourself chef as well as entertaining hostess who defaults to a caterer, so that every kitchen I create is beautiful as well as intuitive and highly functional -- whether you're entertaining a few or a full house!
To get further insight on what kitchen elements make a caterer's job even easier, I talked to Jamie DuMont of New York-based Creative Edge Parties.
Here are some ideas on how you can outfit your kitchen for those occasions when you don't want to be the one doing the cooking.
Space. "In a city kitchen, space is always an issue," Jamie says. "We need counter space, and a big center island is a huge help. And storage: a place for our stuff that's easy to access."
I know from experience: No one will ever say you have too much counter space in your kitchen. One way I make sure a kitchen includes plenty of open, available surfaces is to feature a stunning, and sizable, island in the design, sometimes with no sink or cooktop.
Multiple Ovens: Either double stacked or side-by-side. Ideal if they can fit a full sheet pan.
An espresso machine/extra coffee pot or coffeemaker: No one likes to wait for the pot to brew. For the ultimate in hot beverage preparation (coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc.) I recommend Scanomat's Top Brewer. This absolutely incredible, award-winning machine individually prepares drinks at the touch of your iPad. We recently installed one in our showroom -- so please come by to see this marvel in action and have a coffee with us.
A salamander: No, not a lizard. This open-face broiler with adjustable levels, most commonly seen in commercial kitchens, is wonderful for caramelizing, toasting and achieving the perfect melted cheese. A recent product from La Cornue, the CornuFé 1908, comes equipped with a feature that operates in a similar way to a salamander.
Cookware: Copper cookware is not only the best performing, it makes for great food presentation too, because it glistens and adds a very warm, homey feeling to it all.
The top chefs reach for Atelier du Cuivre cookware first, and it's the line I love to cook with as well. It's simply the best. The cookware, featured in our New York Showroom, is made by France's finest craftsman Jean Pierre Couget, in the same tradition dating back to the 12th century.
Their large sauté pan is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware, and can be used for everything from searing and simmering to roasting and oven-braising.
Power: When caterers descend on a kitchen, they're going to use a tremendous amount of power. All of my designs include plenty of outlets, and the capacity to handle the most demanding culinary crews. An independent portable induction cooker such as this one by Viking is also a great help.
Thanks Jamie. And happy holiday entertaining to everyone!