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What Is a Chef’s Kitchen? How to Tell What Makes the Cut

Most of us will never face a tarte flambé war against Bobby Flay, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream the dream, right? What we really mean: Even though most of us will never cook with the flair of a five-star chef, it’s fun to get a taste of what that’s like by whipping up dinner not just in any old kitchen, but a chef’s kitchen. So what exactly is a chef’s kitchen?

Features of a chef’s kitchen

A chef’s kitchen is designed and equipped to satisfy the needs of a professional chef—or regular folk who have a hankering to cook at that level. Desired features typically include the following:

  • Space for multiple people to cook and prepare food comfortably at the same time. This is often more easily accomplished with an open floor plan and islands (which explains the rise in the popularity of these amenities, too).
  • A Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. This high-end brand includes features like elite air purification systems and a vacuum seal to keep food fresher longer.
  • A gas cook range that operates with higher-than-usual Btu, or British thermal unit, which allows for larger, hotter flames. While the average range has around 7,000 Btu, Viking’s high-end models burn up to 23,000 Btu—which is great for tasks like boiling water quickly. Many chef’s kitchen ranges also include a grill or griddle.
  • Multiple ovens, including convection or steam models for quicker, more efficient cooking.
  • Warming drawers to keep food hot.
  • More than one sink (and deep ones at that) for washing food and dishes conveniently, as well as a faucet right over the stove to easily fill large pots of water without having to lug the pot from the sink.
  • More than one full-size dishwasher so homeowners can always have clean dishes—no more stacking them in the sink until the other load is finished.
  • Multiple cutlery organizers and pull-out drawers  so all the gadgets and gizmos are easy to find and within reach.


All that said, you should also note that the term “chef’s kitchen” is used loosely, so not all of these features are included in every kitchen given that designation. And a chef’s kitchen may very well include some appliances or amenities that aren’t even listed here.

Chef’s kitchen: How much does it really cost?

While the cost of a chef’s kitchen varies widely, most experts say you can expect to pay around $50,000 to $100,000 to overhaul a kitchen and bring it up to chef’s kitchen quality standards. The appliances alone make up a huge chunk of the cost: Sub-Zero refrigerators and Viking ranges start at $6,000.

Sure, that’s a lot of cash, but some of what you spend will come back to you, and not just because you’ll save money cooking at home rather than eating out. If the day ever comes when you decide to sell your home, a major kitchen remodel will generally reap a return on investment of around 65%.

Why have a chef’s kitchen if you’re not a chef?

Chef’s kitchens became the “it” amenity largely because people are becoming more conscious of the food they eat, and how it’s prepared (the raging popularity of cooking-related reality shows sure doesn’t hurt, either). Plus, kitchens have become the central gathering place in a home for families and friends, so a spacious chef’s kitchen suits those needs to a tee, too.

Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends for MasterBrand Cabinets, says a chef’s kitchen is always worth the money—whether you’re buying a home or renovating one you already  have—no matter how much (or how little) you actually cook in it.

“The appliances and storage components associated with a chef’s kitchen are going to have quality and functionality that would appeal to anyone working in the kitchen,” she says.

(We’d just like to insert a note of caution, though: Don’t over-improve for your market. Check out the homes in your neighborhood, and see whether any of them feature higher-end kitchen amenities.)

Among higher-end homes, David Schneider of Schneider Kennedy Design & Designer Direct Home of St. Louis, says a chef’s kitchen is definitely an asset.

“Having a chef’s kitchen makes a home more sellable and will positively impact both price and days on market,” he says. “Kitchens and baths sell homes, but the chef’s kitchen takes it to a new level.”

So if you’re selling a home with a chef’s kitchen, go ahead and say so! Plus, “inserting names like Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, and others can draw buyers’ attention and interest,” Schneider says.

Bottom line: If you’re craving a chef’s kitchen, go ahead and get cooking—the benefits range far beyond better food.

The post What Is a Chef’s Kitchen? How to Tell What Makes the Cut appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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