I am currently working on the design of an exciting new Asian Fusion restaurant which is going to have an open kitchen, so I thought I would workshop this one out loud a bit. With all the saturation of cooking “reality shows” on TV, and so many wanna be star chefs, it generates an interest in the process and theatre of how one’s meal is created, dining out. I am exploring some precedents here, where the kitchen drama is exposed to enhance the dining ambiance. How can this richness of the process of meal creation be expressed visually without the clinicality of a stainless commercial kitchen or artificiality of cooking related stage props that just gather dust and grease?
Of course it’s easy enough to extend the dining room aesthetic into the lining of the kitchen walls with washable surfaces, but its the implements the chefs use to cook with and serve on, storage containers of dry goods, creative display of fresh produce, the meticulous procedure of food prep, drama and hiss of flames and feature pieces of equipment that create anticipation of a special meal. Or just a subliminal background enhancement of the culinary experience. There are some pretty well known successful examples above – Jamie’s Italian, Nobu, Rockpool, Pony, Mr Wong’s and Chiswick all create authentically, theatrical kitchens.
One restaurant I designed a few years back, the award winnin Conservatory at Crown, had an intrinsic part of the brief, which required the theatrical show kitchen to reveal multiple international cuisine styles on offer. We worked closely with brilliant kitchen consultant, Chris Love Design to feature hero pieces of equipment and open up the kitchen on two sides to expose a maximum of activity and theatre. Being an upmarket buffet, all hot food was served directly from the show kitchen counters, with many items cooked to request, to move away from the stigma of heated dishes sitting in chaffing dishes
The internal “Belle Epoque Conservatory” architectural style was continued to the island display counters, which became follies in the space, integrating and celebrating the cold food presentation. The simple white, travertine and oak highly decorative interior also allowed the colour of the food to feature dramatically. Decorative glass spice tubes, suspended over, play off the food colours and relay to age of ship travel when spices were a desirable symbol of opulence and status.
Images from Pinterest and previous post
Check out The Conservatory