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Design tips for cooking up the perfect chef-centered kitchen

Professional chefs aren't the only ones looking to upgrade their kitchens nowadays. The Food Network and the growing popularity of celebrity chefs has many home cooks seeking the perfect space in which to create their own culinary masterpieces.

“I think so many people can benefit from a chef-centered kitchen,” said Torre Reich Construction interior designer Rhonda Wilson. “The kitchen is definitely the center of the house. Everybody gravitates towards the kitchen.”

“Kitchens are the new living rooms, a gathering place,” added lead designer Ty Segna.

At Torre Reich Construction, Segna said that the process of building a true chef-centered kitchen begins with choosing the right cooktop. While there are gas cooktops and electric cooktops available, general contractor and owner Torre Reich said that electric induction cooktops, which have been growing in popularity, have combined the best elements from both predecessors.

“Induction works very similar to electric, but it’s as quick as gas so you can really control the heat,” said Reich. “Plus, it has concealed burners so any mess is easy to clean up instead of cleaning around a gas burner.”

Once the cooktop of choice is secured, Wilson said that the best way to create the perfect setup is to build the rest of kitchen around that cooktop.

“A lot of people want the cooktop in the island or in a central space where they can be,” said Wilson, “because the cook likes to be in the conversation with people. By surrounding the cooktop with maybe an island and seating, they can still be visiting while they work.”

The next design challenge to tackle for a chef-centered kitchen is countertop material, however, Wilson and Segna both said that the most popular choice is quartz countertops. The reason quartz countertops have grown in popularity over recent years according to Wilson is because it mimics stone countertops, but it is easier to maintain than even granite countertops.

“It doesn’t scratch. It’s durable, but it’s easy to clean,” said Wilson. “But it’s all preference. The finishes are what kind of style the home is and what each person is going to want. That varies because everybody has a different taste and look they want.”

In a chef-centered kitchen, the countertops themselves—in whichever material is selected—should be kept clear of clutter in order to allow for more workspace. A great way to do this is through incorporating pull out drawers in cabinets in lieu of Lazy Susans or blind corners.

“The trend is drawers instead that you can pull out and see right in so there’s no digging in necessary,” said Wilson.

“There are a lot of efficiency secrets that make it easy to access the things you use, but that don’t disrupt the work flow of anything,” added Segna.

When it comes to creating the perfect kitchen, Segna recommended installing a larger, single basin sink in one area of the kitchen and smaller prep sink in an island or other remote area. By doing this, Segna said that a cook eliminates the need to bustle back and forth between the preparation area and the sink when cooking a meal.

“It depends on if you have enough space,” said Segna. “If you want a really nice chef’s kitchen you need to have adequate space to make a chef’s kitchen.”

With cabinets, Segna said that there is a trend towards extending cabinets all the way up into the ceiling so that a cook can utilize as much storage space as possible and avoid a dust shelf up there in the gap. Reich also added that other popular trends in cabinets include under-cabinet lighting, glass door features and implementing the cabinets at different elevations.

“It adds some definition to it by having some of the cabinets higher or lower,” said Reich.

For those who want to get started on the road to making their dream kitchen come to life, the Torre Reich Construction team encouraged customers to be open to discussing their budget, especially in the early stages.

“The sky is the limit, but if you give us a budget, we will know how to guide you,” said Segna.

Torre Reich Construction is located at 219 N. Broadway Ave. in Turlock. For more information, call 668-8721 or visit