6 Things You Need for a Serious Chef’s Kitchen

December 2, 2013 by  
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In recent years, TV cooking shows and food blogs have inspired a nouveau generation of cutting edge chefs. But we’re not talking about the Giadas and Alton Browns of the cooking world, but rather, folks like you and me who are no longer interested in frozen foods, but whipping up 5-star fare in-house for our friends and family. Making restaurant-quality food has never been easier as high-quality appliances that were once reserved only for the best of the best are now within the reach of the everyman and woman. If you’ve been looking to amp up your culinary game, we’ve got some great tips to get you on the road to Top Chef-dom. We’ve rounded up some of the essentials needed for a serious chef’s kitchen. From the forged-steel knives Martha Stewart uses to dice her veggies to a high-tech convection oven that will give way to the flakiest of pie crusts, read on for our top 6 kitchen picks! A Set of Sharp Knives You don’t need to purchase one of those pricey wood blocks packed with random knives to call yourself a serious chef, but there are a few knives that anyone serious about cooking must have: a chef’s knife, a slicer, a utility knife, and a parer. So, what do you use each for? A run-down here: Chef’s knife: The preparation of just about every meal will revolve around your chef’s knife. It is the indispensable multi-tool of the kitchen and is the knife you reach for when it comes to chopping, dicing, mincing, julienning, cutting meat, and disjointing large cuts. Slicer:  A slicing knife is essential for carving meats and poultry, as well as for slicing sandwiches, fruits and vegetables. The knife’s long blade helps to produce thin, uniform slices—much like what you see on plates in 5-star restaurants. Utility Knife:  As implied by its name, a utility knife is ideal for everything from trimming and peeling vegetables and fruits to small chopping and slicing tasks. Every kitchen should have a knife with a 4- to 6-inch blade. Parer:  This small knife features a plain edge blade that’s perfect for peeling and other intricate work like de-veining a shrimp, de-seeding, and cutting small garnishes. Much like a chef’s knife it’s meant to be all-purpose, except smaller. Forged-steel knives are your best bet for slicing, dicing, and chopping away with ease—they are not only sturdier, but resist bending and can be sharpened more easily. The downside, however, is that they can be quite pricey. But if you consider that you will be using these knives for years and years to come, they’re worth every penny. Wüsthofs’ knives  are the top choice of professional chefs the world over —this includes the likes of Martha Stewart, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Emeril Lagasse. Bamboo Cutting Boards Even the hardest of maple will be scarred by a chef’s knife, but bamboo boards are constructed to withstand years of abuse. This is a big reason why bamboo cutting boards have gained in such popularity over the years. Bamboo is often dense enough to resist knife scarring and naturally resists water penetration and the subsequent bacteria that results. Bamboo is also one of the most sustainable materials around. Because of its tolerance to an array of environmental conditions, and its fast-growing nature, bamboo can be easily and affordably grown and harvested with little environmental impact. While bamboo boards are almost maintenance-free and generally resist retaining water, you should never, ever put your cutting board in the dishwasher. Prolonged exposure to heat and water will cause your board to warp and crack, ultimately making it impossible to effectively chop up your food. Cracks are also a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and other microbes. Also note that there are a number of manufacturers that use formaldehyde and glues when processing their bamboo , and these chemicals can leach into your food and gas out over time. Always pay attention to the fine print when purchasing your boards to ensure that only non-toxic treatment methods and organic practices have been used. At Inhabitat we love the gorgeous bamboo cutting boards from Totally Bamboo . A Professional Blender While you might be tempted to reach for the $29.99 model, know that not all blenders are created equal. Investing in a high-end blender can dramatically transform the quality of your food and drink. Smoothies, nut milks, soups, dips, and many other recipes can be prepared with little effort, and pro blenders are built to last through some serious abuse—you don’t have to worry about your investment going kaput even if you’ve got it hacking away at ice and other hard to blend items day after day. Professional blenders also take aesthetics into consideration and often feature sleek, streamlined designs made from the best materials, and never from shoddy plastic. And because your blender is likely to live on your countertop, having it as a complement rather than a clash to your kitchen decor is pretty important. Vitamix’s Professional Series 750 Blender 1825 is consistently rated highly by top chefs for both its design and capabilities. Cookware That’s Made to Last Unless you are obsessive about everything looking alike, don’t purchase a set of pots and pans. Mixing and matching cookware from different makers is the best way to build an inventory of great cookware to match all of your needs. Different kinds of cooking work best in different kinds of pots, and different makers have excelled at developing cookware in various materials that work best with certain techniques and  foods. Another problem with sets is that you’ll often get a bunch of pots or pans that are too small and you’re likely to toss them aside as you trade in for larger pieces bought one off. Our advice is to go to a store and look at the pans first hand. Lift them, handle them, consider the amount of care they need, as well as how they will be used in your kitchen. For example, cast iron pans are fantastic for stir-fried Asian cuisine, while copper pans are great for preparing sauces. So what do the pros love? Prominent chefs have been known to look to Le Creuset for their cast iron cookware, and Calphalon and All-Clad for their more “lightweight” pots and pans in other metals. A Versatile Cooktop Range Serious cooks are multi-taskers, and a high-quality cooktop range that can take on several pots and pans filled with food without causing fluxes in temperature is a must. Seen here is Fisher & Paykel’s 36″ 5-burner range. This gorgeous  gas cooktop lets you create mouth-watering dishes with ease. The design features recessed cooktop grates, which make it easy to move pots and pans between elements. And toss those rough and abrasive scrubbing brushes. These ranges are designed for easy cleaning! A Convection Oven Ovens have come a long way over the last decade, and many chefs have turned to convection ovens to perfect their quiches, roasts, and meringues. Unlike conventional radiant (a.k.a. thermal) ovens, a convection oven uses fans to circulate hot air through the oven cavity. The moving air speeds up the rate of heat transference that naturally occurs when air of two different temperatures converge, and what results is more evenly cooked food at lower temperatures, often with better and faster results (food cooks an estimated 25% faster). Fisher & Paykel’s OB30 built-in oven is as about as high-tech as a convection oven can get. Not only does it boast a cavernous size, but it also features ten cooking modes including self-clean (a busy chef’s best friend!), and their advanced  AeroTech cooking system . Fisher & Paykel  has been designing products since 1934 and has grown into a global company operating in 50 countries and manufacturing in the USA, Mexico, Italy, Thailand and New Zealand. Our design heritage is founded on a pioneering spirit and a culture of curiosity that has challenged conventional appliance design to consistently deliver products tailored to human needs.        

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6 Things You Need for a Serious Chef’s Kitchen

Futuristic Villa Kogelhof Wins Prestigious ARC13 Architecture Award

December 2, 2013 by  
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Dutch firm Paul de Ruiter Architects has triumphed over 110 entries to win the highly-esteemed ARC13 architecture prize with their ecologically-minded Villa Kogelhof. The prestigious award is given to those few projects “wherein the usage and the technology are aligned in an innovative manner, aiming to strengthen sustainability as an integral part of architecture.” Located in Kamperland, Zeeland, Villa Kogelhof is a privately owned, energy efficient home set on 25 hectares of protected land. Read the rest of Futuristic Villa Kogelhof Wins Prestigious ARC13 Architecture Award Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , Arc13 awards , carbon neutral housing , dutch design , Ecological Design , ecological protection , green building in the Netherlands , nature-responsive design , sustainable design , Sustainable Materials , VILLA KOGELHOF        

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Futuristic Villa Kogelhof Wins Prestigious ARC13 Architecture Award

A Green, Eco-friendly Kitchen for your home! – Family?

November 8, 2011 by  
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The first time you consider having a ‘green’ kitchen for your home, what strikes your mind? Generally, the first thing you would think about is kitchen appliances that can possibly make your kitchen green. Almost everyday we have new appliances being introduced into the market that consume less energy, less water and also emit less or no noise, as compared to the older ones. If these appliances produce lesser amount of wastage of natural resources, they would be considered ‘green’.

Many people today mull over the idea of making their surroundings green, particularly the kitchen. Using green and eco-friendly appliances in the kitchen can also save on the utility bills in the later period. Though the purchase or installation of such appliances may cost you a little high initially, the ultimate savings you reap would be much higher in the long run and you can easily make up for your expenditure in your first year of your savings.

So if you are planning to make a few changes to your kitchen with energy efficient and eco-friendly appliances, you are absolutely on the right track. To support it further, even major appliance manufacturers have been constantly innovating and designing new methods to introduce kitchen appliances appealing to green-conscious consumers.

Most of the large appliances in your home are in the kitchen, and hence, to make these low energy-consuming changes, starting off with the kitchen first would be a wise idea. This will not only fetch you an eco-friendly environment at your home, but also, a better operating remodelled kitchen to beautify your home. Besides, you will also feel good to be contributing towards the energy conservation and environment protection while you cut on energy costs for yourself.

Some of the major kitchen appliances that can be substituted for energy-efficient and eco-friendly ones should include the refrigerator, the Microwave and the dishwasher. An eco-friendly refrigerator can help you save about 40% energy than before. Microwaves, as they are not environment-friendly, should be replaced for energy-efficient models so that it can help in energy saving. Buying a new eco-friendly dishwasher will not only lead to more energy savings, but also lesser water consumption.

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