"Overbuilding [in the kitchen] seems to be a thing of the past," says Jody Pennette, president, CB5 Restaurant Group, a kitchen design firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, which helped create the kitchen at Moda, an Italian restaurant in the Flatotel, New York.
The latest kitchen trend serves to maximize space by allocating stations for each cooking function: grilling, sautéing, baking and prep work.Pennette
says this ensures more efficient operations."There are so many modular units that you can pick and choose to design your own kitchen using only equipment that you really need," he
Since the kitchen was designed to serve Moda
says all other menus follow that of Moda
With only 500 sq. ft. (46.5 sq. m) to work with, Pennette
says the design team began to think in terms of building up instead of out.First, they determined the equipment that could be included in the kitchen based on the size of the exhaust hood.Since the menu didn't require any specialized equipment, only the basics were installed: a convection oven, warming drawers, microwaves, etc.The result allowed Pennette
to keep costs at a minimum with the price of US$150,000.
The little room for storage forces the staff to use fresh items."The biggest aspect of this kitchen is that everything is made fresh," Pennette
says."Freezers don't really exist anymore.All of your prep work is laid out for chefs to simply turn around and use."
The kitchen was laid out in a large square so each cook has access to the center counter."The chef is very hands-on," Pennette
says."That forces the staff to be efficient and work well with one another."Pennette
adds that the close quarters and limited space also force staff to re-evaluate the volume of product ordered and prepared."You cannot just buy two cases of something and store it in the kitchen," he
Due to the small size of the kitchen, Pennette
team decided against opening the entire kitchen to the restaurant.Instead, they installed a piece of etched glass for guests to get a glimpse of the cooks at work."Because the kitchen is small and tight, the counters can get a little busy," he
says."This is a real, functional kitchen.It would have seemed hectic to the general public."
The solution ensures that guests don't question the cleanliness of the kitchen, and the staff can work without distractions.Since it is a "peek-a-boo" kitchen, as dubbed by Pennette
, subtle design enhancements were made to tie it in with the rest of the restaurant, including tiles and walls that match the restaurant's colors.