by Andrew McMillan, FCSI
Managing Director – Cini•Little [G.B.], Ltd.
London Office

Historically “Kitchen Space” suggests the occupation of one or several Architect allocated shells in a building. The following sets out to help clarify this common perception of simplistic isolation.

 The increasing change in complexity of buildings from a single to multi-tenant or use, demands a greater understanding of the integrated process and space occupied within the mixed paths containing food, waste, and linen. The increasing demands placed by food authorities on these paths, requires that the link spaces between a main and satellite kitchen receive more attention by the Foodservice Designer / Design Team. This allows early, superior input to the building design for the initial Architectural submissions, through greater “say” and influence by the Foodservice Consultant, to this zoning work. In design lead projects, this holistic approach aims to maximise the best use of the available footprint. These findings are normally then compiled in the form of a Catering Design Strategy/ Brief.

Catering logistics are interdependent, therefore so too must the environments through which say, a chilled food consignment travels to a satellite show kitchen or banquet kitchen. Those spaces through which the product travels and where the functions take place, has become the larger ‘’kitchen’ since the combined functions are inextricably linked. Thus – from the temperature probe of the Venison assignment at the Dock, to the serving of the same at the Restaurant Pass, this expanded boundary now typically defines the kitchen.

The guest integration within a Restaurant Show Kitchen has continued to evolve over the years beyond through Marche, Chefs Table, to Edutainment, and now external industries – paradoxically Theatre Designers are crossing to the food industry and using Chefs, and Food as their props in an attempt to wow and push (successfully) the boundaries of the dining experience. In more conventional design, visual barriers are constantly being removed by technological/engineering advance that has allowed heavy duty catering equipment to creep in to front of house applications. Already we are seeing conventional steel equipment being replaced by engineered air or glass. Similarly with other schemes, we are designing temperature controlled double skin ceramic glass divisions, between the chef and diner. This prevents facial extremities sticking to the glass, and allows the guest to comfortably view and experience for example, Chinese Wok cooking on a mega 150,000btu/hr single burner. This product and environment, is of course the combination of our subset show kitchen, and our larger ‘Kitchen’. Since the control of food is so vital in achieving guest and investor value, this relationship of space, function, and experience might serve to illustrate the importance of design continuity –from the back to front of house – in Effective Restaurant Design.

Thus as well as being the micro definition of old, our ‘Kitchen’ design should be perceived as a macro component of the Total Building Design. As a part of a Consultants’ Best Practice the reality of this footprint expansion, is also being governed by Industry recognized practices for the movement and handling of food, namely ‘Marche en Avant’ and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP.) With our imploding nature, and the increasing challenge to combine profitably, Sustainability and Aesthetics in our designs, the ‘Kitchen’ shall continue to pursue an integrated course, which successfully addresses the combined needs of the Owner, the Building and the Guest.

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