Open Kitchens: The Right Choice for Your Restaurant?
Global Chefs | Divine Caroline
With the restaurant scene progressing to the point of near over saturation, as a chef, you need not only to provide guests with great food, service, and a creative wine list but peripheral details giving them fond memories and good reason to talk about your restaurant. Their experience needs to go above and beyond the food and beverage. An open kitchen fits the bill very nicely, allowing them the opportunity to see the chef hustle and to watch the cooks work at what is considered “lightning speed.”
However, if you are not ready to go the whole hog and leave you and your kitchen totally exposed to the watchful eye of your guests, opt for a partially open kitchen. Screening off part of the kitchen or the use of frosted glass are options to consider. This still gives your patrons a glimpse of behind-the-scenes but allows you the opportunity to decrease your equipment costs and gives shelter from the guest’s permanent glare.
Seattle-based chef and restaurateur Kerry Sear has never been a big fan of open kitchens. But wishing to incorporate a water feature he had seen in France fifteen or so years ago, he devised a “rain wall” to use in his plan for Cascadia, the restaurant which he opened two years ago. Kerry worked with Seattle-based Girvin Strategic Branding & Design to create a floor to ceiling wall of glass to separate the kitchen from the restaurant. Water flows down the glass offering guests an intriguing visual of the kitchen action. With a desire to encompass all things northwest, Kerry’s suggestion of rain fits well with the concept of life in the northwest, as do the wood and other natural features he has used in his design. Within the wall of glass and water, portholes have been inserted allowing guests an undistorted view of the kitchen team busily working on their customized Garland stoves.
Chef Sear worked with Garland to provide a sixty-two-piece island range. He found the standard finish of the equipment quite satisfactory with no real need for brass or copper extras. True under-counter refrigeration was installed. In place of stainless steel, the kitchen’s tables were topped with black granite. Granite is not only aesthetically pleasing but also solves the problem of light being reflected onto the rain wall from within the kitchen. With a desire to keep the kitchen clean and clutter free for its onlookers, Sear used the services of CMA Restaurant Designs to have the granite customized further with holes cut for garbage cans to sit underneath. Discreet undercounted shelving was additionally installed.