New cooking technologies and big, multifunctional sinks are among the coming trends in kitchen design, according to Kevin Briggs, a designer for Markraft Cabinets of Wilmington.
One of the hottest of those trends is the “Galley” sink, which is much wider than the conventional basin. Galley sinks can be three, four, even five feet wide, Kevin noted, providing lots more working space for the cook.
“It’s really more of a work station than a sink,” permitting multiple tasks to be handled at the same time, he added.
And when the work is done, it can also become a serving space for hors d’oeuvres or snacks.
The secret to the Galley sink is its accessory set. Anything from cutting boards to colanders, cooling racks to cookie sheets – even a water basin that can double as a stylish ice bucket – all fit on double ledges inside the sink itself. Those two tiers make it easy to fit the accessories down low or up high, depending on the job.
Pieces move back and forth and, with a simple 90-degree turn, an accessory can be shifted from flush with the countertop to inset deeper in the sink. For example, once pasta has been drained in a colander nestled in the lower tier, rotating its platform lets it be moved to the upper tier for serving.
Optional pieces, such as condiment trays and drink coolers, can be installed alongside the sink to complete a practical buffet space.
Similar out-of-the-box thinking characterizes some of the newer kitchen appliances. For example, Kevin said induction cooking surfaces – which use a magnetic field to heat metal pots and pans, while the cooktop itself remains cool – are becoming increasingly popular. If a magnet will stick to a pot, it can be used for induction cooking.
Advantages include quicker cooking (no waiting for a conventional burner to heat up) and less wasted heat. So, cooking can be a cooler process, too. Safety is also a benefit; heating stops the instant a pan is removed from the induction surface. An element left on by mistake won’t generate any heat unless a pan is on it.
Induction ranges typically use conventional heating elements in their ovens. But new technology is changing that, too.
One option is a convection steam oven that originated in Europe and is now getting attention from savvy American cooks. It can work like a regular convection oven or as a steamer.
“The oven contains the steam,” Kevin said, which cooks a wide range of foods without losing color or texture.
The combination of steam and convection technology also allows you to cook different dishes at different temperatures on different levels. Think saunas, which hold the hottest temperatures in a sauna around the top bench.
This can allow for healthier cooking, because it requires fewer fats and oils. Steam can put new life back in leftovers, too. Kevin said a steam oven “is great for reheating food because the food comes out tasting so much better than if you used the microwave.”
Of course, microwaves aren’t a thing of the past. The newest wrinkle on that technology is a “speed oven,” which combines a microwave with a conventional oven for high-speed cooking.
A roast, for example, needs regular convection heat to crisp and brown the meat. Traditional microwaves can’t do that. But a speed oven offers the best of both worlds. While the oven is browning the roast, turkey or casserole, it occasionally pumps bursts of microwaves to speed the cooking process.
Many of these new technologies use space differently from traditional appliances. A Galley sink, for example, is wider. Speed ovens are typically smaller than a standard oven. A kitchen design pro can help ensure that such innovative cooking aids fit perfectly in an efficient, attractive layout.
For more about Galley sinks, see the website at thegalley.com.
Want to see examples of both new and time-tested kitchen ideas? Visit Markraft’s Design Center. The professional designers consult by appointment but visitors are welcome to browse the showroom. The Design Center is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road.