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.
Here’s how to make your kitchen the ideal space for entertaining in style.
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 improving your kitchen? We’ve highlighted eight key factors that will make yours a standout.
1 IN THE ZONE
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 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 and food, and also provides extra cooking, serving, storage and seating space. Some hosts like to position their cooktop within an 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.
4 SMART SPACE
Being smart with your appliances is key to creating a successful kitchen for entertaining. Consider installing a commercialstyle 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? Warming drawers are a must for serious entertainers, not only for keeping food warm but also heating up plates. A second dishwasher can also be useful for big gatherings, even if it’s just a single drawer or half-size configuration. Similarly, a standard stove just won’t cut it when you’re cooking for large crowds. Think about installing a double oven and cooktop so you can serve food at the same time and while it’s still hot.
5 TAKE A SEAT
Flimsy outdoor chairs just don’t make the grade if you’re going for an ultra-slick party that lasts well into the night. Cushioned seats are a must, whether they are bar stools around the island bench or outdoor sofas and chairs on a terrace or deck. For large groups, it’s worth hiring sturdy chairs so everyone can sit comfortably.
6 DRINK UP
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 the traffic can be diverted. Think about installing a temperature-controlled wine cooler 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 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. New on the market are smart dishwashers that are energy-efficient with self-operating doors and ultra-low noise levels so they can be switched on while your guests are still savouring their wine. Other timesaving devices for busy entertainers include slow cookers and coffee makers that are controlled via smartphones, sensoroperated rubbish bins that open with a wave of the hand, and electric
spiralisers for making vegie noodles.
8 EASY CLEANING
Make cleaning up after a large gathering easier with an extra dishwasher and/or a large sink big enough for platters and roasting dishes. If you entertain regularly, choose low-maintenance, easy-clean work surfaces and appliances so tidying up isn’t such a chore.
1. Whirlpool 90cm induction cooktop in Black Ceran, $1699, from The Good Guys. 2. Quiet Air 90cm T-Bar rangehood, $1999, from Glem Gas. 3. NeoChef 39L convection oven, $709, from LG. 4. Westinghouse WHG956SA 90cm 5-burner gas cooktop in Stainless Steel, $748, from Harvey Norman. 5. Fisher & Paykel 90cm 5-burner natural gas on glass cooktop in Black, $1179, from Harvey Norman. 6. AEG 14cm warming drawer, $999, from Harvey Norman.
FRESH SCENT A quality rangehood is a must for extracting cooking smells. TIME-SAVER A double oven means less time cooking and more time entertaining. HOT SPOT High stools allow guests to get in on the kitchen action. TUCKED AWAY Under-bench cupboards maximise storage space for extra servingware.
1. Samsung Family Hub 671L French-door Flex fridge, $5299, from Harvey Norman. 2. Fisher & Paykel Active Smart 614L French-door fridge in Stainless Steel, $2795, from Harvey Norman. 3. 668L side-by-side fridge with non-plumbed ice and water dispenser, $2399, from LG.
A multitemperature drinks drawer stores and chills wine perfectly.
1. Everdure 60cm 73L 8-function built-in side-opening electric oven, $749, from Bunnings. 2. Fisher & Paykel 60cm double 7-function oven, $1929, from Harvey Norman. 3. Euromaid 600mm multifunction double oven, $1497, from Harvey Norman.
1. Bosch Series 2 ActiveWater 60cm dishwasher, $644, from Harvey Norman. 2. Smeg 14-place freestanding dishwasher in Black, $999, from Harvey Norman. 3. AEG 60cm ProClean extra tall tub XXL freestanding dishwasher in White, $1199, from Harvey Norman.