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The ultimate kitchen


Dream away about a sanctuary for cooking comfort, just in time for winter

One of the best things about the fall and winter months is the food. As the weather turns, we cozy up to our interiors and spend our free time creating comfort for our family and friends. To this end, our kitchens become a focal point for gathering and entertaining. So what better room to start with as we consider our fall home improvement plans?

Paint, floor coverings and countertops are all just fine when we consider a cosmetic overhaul of our cooking space, but we have an opportunity here to imagine, dream and maybe even to realize a high-end kitchen worthy of the finest and wealthiest of noblemen. We have an opportunity to create the ultimate kitchen, a galley that becomes an arena for the most talented of chefs — and that’s you, if you dare to dream, or at least read on to discover what your kitchen could be, allowing money is no object.

Our crack team of researchers has assembled the most decadent, elegant and high-functioning kitchen equipment, which will create your own culinary Xanadu (that’s right), where breads, pastas, filets and magnificent entrees, finished with beurre blancs, all manner of ‘aises (Holland, Bearn, Mayonn) and rich demi-glaces will make the winter months and the holidays a magical kingdom of astronomical gastronomy.

So, sit back, imagine you’ve won the lottery, and plan your ultimate kitchen.

Arrange for a new oven

We’re going to build the kitchen around the range and oven combination. It will have to be natural gas fueled and you’ll want versatility: multiple range burners, a flat top for grilling, sautéing and searing, as well as two ovens — one for cooking and the other for holding. And it should have an elegant-yet-commercial appearance. We think Italian is best. We found the Bertazzoni professional. The website explains, “This Bertazzoni 48-inch natural gas range is a triumph among the cooking industry. With 4 cubic feet of oven space and a stainless steel finish, this modern marvel makes a desired addition to any professional kitchen.”

Yes. We chose a professional oven. Why? Because we’re going ultimate here, and a proper commercial oven allows for everything: a flat top for griddle cooking, gas burners for total heat control, and a proper oven with a fan to push the heat evenly. And, of course, the holding oven, so you can finish the proteins and starches and keep them at temperature until the guests are ready to sit down. This may seem excessive, but you’ll be glad you spent the $6,499 for this high-end kitchen must.

Naturally, you simply cannot install a Bertazzoni range without a vent hood that compliments the appliance. Luckily, Bertazzoni makes a line of companion hoods. We chose the K30HERX model, a lovely trapezoid hood that mounts to the wall and complements your Italian oven the way the swooping lines complemented Italian tanks in the early days of the Africa campaign in World War II. This is pure Italian style, and it only costs $1,739. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Food for processing

(or thought)

Now that you have your range in place, you’re probably wondering, “Well, what to do about our food processing needs?” And that’s a great question, and one that deserves an answer. A food processor is essential, not just for smoothies, but for proper emulsions, effective minces and of course hummus. You could get a consumer-level processor, but that would run counter to the opulence we’re aiming for here. We found a quality food processor for a little over $1,300. The Berkel Continuous Feed Food Processor will process up to four pounds of food per minute and the feeder takes one quart at a time, with a bowl that holds three quarts. The variable blades will slice, dice, julienne, grate and chop. Of course, the standard blade is essential for sauces and proper emulsions. The Berkel runs at 500 RPM and weighs 23 pounds.

Of course, no opulent kitchen is complete without a stand mixer. It is important here to understand that a real mixer does not have two spinning blades but one blade that spins while rotating. Kitchen Aid is the leader in consumer level high-end mixers, and we could have showed you the $250 model, but we’re going to instead show you the $899 professional, six-quart bowl lift stand mixer. This fine mixer comes with an 11-wire whip, a burnished spiral dough hook and an embossed trim band satin nickel hub cover pouring shield. Also, it has a flat copper finish, surely a conversation starter for your guests. But the real value of a proper mixer is in your ability to make doughs, breads, desserts (mousses, meringues, cookies, cakes), everything essential for real culinary expression. And this one’s $900, so it’s in line with your dreams.

French door fridge

Finally, and before we get into how to finish your ultimate kitchen with counter tops, storage and lighting, we’ll need a proper refrigerator. We found one with French doors. After all, the French invented mayonnaise after a major battle in the Seven Years War, so we should honor them with an LG Electronics 30.5 cubic foot French Door Refrigerator in stainless steel with door-in-door design. This will be the flagship of your ultimate kitchen, and you can be sure that each time you or a guest open the French Doors (or not; there’s a door in the door) to get a beverage, snack or ingredient, you’ll feel honored and even excited. This LG appliance will cost you $3,499 at The Home Depot.

So far, your ultimate kitchen, before the paint scheme, counter tops, lighting and storage, has cost $12,197. This is a small sum for such a fine and ultimate kitchen, and especially for a person who’s won the lottery. Now to build the form around the function.

Consider a maple butcher block counter top, one that’s two-and-a-quarter inches thick, four feet long by two feet wide. This will run about $800. Of course you’ll want a hanging rack for your pots and pans, probably $100 for one of those, as well as hanging pendant lights, probably four at $135 each from The Home Depot, and allow probably an extra $800 to paint your walls and add an elegant Marmoleum floor.

Whew — you have overhauled your kitchen and transformed it into a bastion of culinary creativity and good taste for a little over $14,000. Of course, barring your actual winning the lottery, there are other ways to optimize your kitchen. What you’ve just read can be considered a sort of “fashion show,” giving you ideas you can realize for a price that may be closer to the attainable cost of your dreams.