How to make a good kitchen great!


This past Thursday, I had the great pleasure of getting out to the new Coast Wholesale Appliances for a presentation sponsored by Jenn-Air. The speaker with the infamous Ellen Cheever, CMKBD ASID CAPS on Today's Design Challenge: How to make a good kitchen great! Cheever wrote the book on kitchen design, literally! She's is the author of 3 of the NKBA Professional Resource Library books - the most comprehensive design books in the market.

Cheever spoke of a few pieces of home economics that have run away from us designers over the past couple years. She was apt to point out that just because the client asks for it, it doesn't mean it is right because, after all, we are the experts. Cheever also clearly said that in the market of mass production and everything done quickly that we as experts can prevent many costly mistakes to the homeowner.

Cheever took us through a case study of her home where she made some modifications to an existing kitchen - it was great, but it wasn't quite right. As a result, she discovered that a standard kitchen should be customized. Some of the points she hammered home were:

  • Storage capacity - she urged the room of designers to take inventory and plan for that inventory. Kitchens today may be beautiful, and without wall cabinets, but storage capacity is still essential to every kitchen.
  • Anthropomorphic study - something that I'm completely fascinated by, Cheever states that it is absolutely essential to plan a kitchen to the users measurements. Another part of the process that has gone missing.
  • Energy - Looking at how much energy it takes us to lift something 3-inches off the ground versus 48-inches off the ground is 7 times heavier. Who knew?!?
  • Access and reach - Take a look at the user of the kitchen to determine their individual access requirements. Perhaps there is an opportunity to make it easier for the user by dropping or increasing the toe-kick by 1-inch. Similarity, and Cheever was VERY clear on this, wall ovens are wall ovens for a reason - they belong on the wall, not in a base cabinet. They make the baking easier, they are not meant to make it harder.
  • Rethinking the sink - make the sink a larger preparation area with bowls and task centres.
  • The Scullery - there's nothing wrong with separating the dirty functions of a kitchen into a secondary kitchen
So a very informative session, and some great insight into the new breed of Jenn-Air appliances! Thanks to Steve, the local Jenn-Air guru, for giving me a personal tour of the amazing wall oven and it's superbly functioning cooking for dummies.

Goat Cheese, Grape and Pistachio Truffles Recipe

Yields: serves many Prep time: 20 min


1 1/2 pounds pistachio nuts, shelled, chopped rough (about 1 cup) 8 ounces goat cheese, room temperature 24 seedless red grapes, stems removed and wiped clean


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. In blender or food processor, process nuts until finely chopped.

Put one 1/2 tablespoon of the goat cheese in the palm of one hand and in it roll a grape, shaping the mixture around the grape to coat. Repeat process with remaining grapes and chill on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.

Roll the cheese-coated grapes in the nut mixture to cover completely and chill for 30 minutes

Makes 6 to 8 servings.