7 essentials for an entertainer’s kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home and the centre of the party. Here’s how to design a space that’s made for food, friends and fun.

Whether you’re channelling Nigella Lawson or serving a few steaks and sausages off the barbeque, the kitchen is where it all starts and ends. Therefore, it needs to be carefully designed for ease and efficiency. Not sure how to go about creating an entertainer’s kitchen?

We’ve highlighted seven key factors that will help you turn your existing kitchen into a space that’s made for food, friends and fun.

1. Entertainer’s kitchen layout

First up, have a think about what kinds of events you want to host, as they will determine how your kitchen should be laid out. For parties, an open-plan kitchen is ideal, as it allows guests and hosts to mingle, but if you prefer to work alone, a separate prep space may be needed.

Next, establish the basic work zones: prep, cook and clean. Make sure each area has enough space and storage for everyone working there, as well as the right appliances. A triangular configuration that keeps sink, fridge and cooktop within easy reach works best. Position the fridge where guests can grab a drink without getting in the way.

2. Kitchen island paradise

An island bench is the perfect focal point for kitchens designed with entertaining in mind. This popular kitchen feature makes it easier to talk to guests while preparing or serving drinks or food, and also provides extra cooking, serving, storage and seating space. Some hosts like to position their cooktop within the island, and induction cooktops are ideal for this as they are easy to install and aren’t hot to touch. An alternative is to install one or two sinks within the island so hosts can clean up and chat to guests at the same time.

3. Kitchen design tricks

If you don’t have the space or budget for a butler’s pantry, raising the backs of your kitchen benches can hide dirty dishes from view, with host on the inside and guests on outside. You can also add a slim counter to use as a snack bar or drinks station. A conveniently positioned unit for small appliances will also free up much-needed bench space.

4. Smart kitchen space

Being smart with your appliances is key to creating a successful kitchen for entertaining. Consider installing a commercial-style fridge-freezer with plenty of compartments for all the extras you need when cooking for large groups. Or perhaps there’s room for an extra fridge and/or freezer somewhere else in the house?

The best oven for entertaining has loads of room and the functionality for you to move from one task to another within your optimal kitchen layout.

5. Invest in a good dishwasher

Although you may get plenty of offers to help, no one really likes washing dishes after hosting a dinner party, so a good dishwasher is a must in an entertainer’s kitchen. But how do you decide what dishwasher is best for you?

“Dishwashers today offer an endless array of features and options. The first step to deciding what size dishwasher is best for you is to look at your family size, everyday usage of the appliance and available kitchen space,” says Mark Kampmann, Electrolux Category Manager of Fabric Care & Dish Care,

“Families or those who cook a lot of meals from scratch, utilising a lot of pots, pans and plates should opt for a full-size, 60cm-wide, built-in dishwasher.”

“I would recommend an under-bench model, designed to work seamlessly in any space, preferably with a lifting mechanism which gently raises the lower basket of the dishwasher to a comfortable height, making it easy to load and unload the dishes, eliminating the need to bend down during loading and unloading.”

“This allows you to place any number of difficult plates, trays and wine glasses sturdily inside, clearing your sink area by washing a mass number of dishes in a single cycle.”

6. Serving drinks when entertaining

One of the golden rules of entertaining is to make sure everyone has a drink, alcoholic or not. Guests don’t mind waiting for food as long as they have a glass in their hand. To avoid thirsty guests invading the kitchen, it’s a good idea to set up a separate drinks station or trolley so traffic can be diverted. Think about installing a temperature-controlled wine fridge for serious wine drinkers and an extra fridge for beer. Throw in an icemaker for cocktails and your parties will be legendary!

7. Tech-savvy kitchen upgrades

Wifi-controlled appliances are essential items for tech-savvy cooks. Some electric ovens have wifi connectivity that allows the user to adjust the temperature from their smartphone, while some microwaves are equipped with sensor-based cooking that removes the need for fussing with power levels and food weights.

Other timesaving devices for busy entertainers include slow cookers and coffee makers that are controlled via smartphones, sensor-operated rubbish bins that open with a wave of the hand, and electric spiralisers for making veggie noodles.

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