Ideal/Dream Kitchen Design

4
10
Joined Feb 3, 2016
Hey Everybody, hope this is the most appropriate board for this post...

I have been cooking privately for the last few years, and one of my clients has asked me to design a kitchen for her ranch, where I cook for a few weekends a year. Cooking consists of breakfast, lunch, apps, and dinner, four days at a time, ususally for about 30-50 people, so not a crazy volume, but ability to handle larger parties up to 100 would be ideal. The new space will be 200 sq ft, and being built from scratch, so I have free reign on how this works out. Budget is not really a concern either, which somehow makes this a little more difficult, as the options are endless when not worrying about price...

I have worked with fairly wide range of commercial appliances in my restaurant years, but most of the "home commercial" style ranges Ive used in clients homes have been underwhelming. They are usually Viking/Wolf models, so may not be a surprise there. My initial thought was to put a true commercial range to have adequate power, and its what I am used to. Have read a lot about BlueStar ranges lately though, and they seem like a nice alternative to true commercial... But I have never used one.

I came one here mostly to ask about ranges, but figured Id see what yall thought about the rest of it as well. Anyway, I am wondering what some of you may do with this scenario?

Opinions on what you would do with your dream kitchen?

Basic rundown and equipment list for anyone who wants to play along...

-200 sq ft. (22' x 9' interior dimensions)
-Liquid Propane and Electric hookups
-chest freezer or undercounter/worktop freezer (8-12 CF)
-sink (one basin, with a drainboard or without)
-range (48" or 60", double oven, all burner top)(commercial or "home-commercial")
-prep tables, storage

The kitchen is being built onto an existing barn, so leaning towards a commercial style, but with basic farm/ranch/country home aesthetics.

Appreciative of any advice/opinions, as well as anything else you would maybe add if you were in this scenario.

Thanks!
 
1,342
865
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Well, there is no law that I am aware of that says you cannot have a commercial stove in a private residence. I have one in my kitchen. So, that ends that dilemma.

Without knowing or seeing the exact set up of the barn, especially any proximity it may have to livestock or other things unique to farms and ranches, there is no way anyone can give any specific advice about the design of the kitchen.

It sounds as though this kitchen will be used as part of a business operation. As such, there is no way to get around the codes and requirements of your local and state health departments. That means the kitchen will have to be designed and constructed in accordance with your local and state codes. It does not matter if the operation is part of a "private" residence closed to the public 364 days a year and used for a few hours just one day. If the kitchen is going to be used in any manner to prepare, serve, cook, reheat or store food as part of that operation even for just one day, it has to be inspected and certified. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but, there's really no way around it. You could go "underground" and hope no one gets sick or complains. But, that's just asking for a whole snoot full of very expensive legal trouble.

Anyway, assuming you are going to go the commercial route, which includes all the health department hoops to jump through, there are a few items on your list of appliances that are of some concern.

1. The chest freezer or "under counter" worktop/freezer will likely not pass any inspection. Health inspectors do not like it when freezers, especially chest freezers, are a) stored under work surfaces; and/or b) used as a work surface. You're just asking for a gig.

2. You need more than 1 sink. Period. This rule is one of few health code rules that are common in all 50 states. You need one sink just for hand washing alone that is separate and apart from any sink used for food prep or any kind of cleaning, including the dishes etc. You are not going to skate on having just one sink. That means additional water lines for both hot and cold for whatever minimum number of sinks you must have need to be factored into your design.

3. You must have adequate storage for dry goods, frozen goods and cold storage (non-frozen). For instance, your dry goods will probably have to be stored on shelving that is a specified minimum distance off the floor. Your cooler will have to be able to reach and sustain a minimum temperature as will your freezer.

4. You must have a separate storage for your cleaning products that can't be within so many feet of where you store and/or prepare/serve food.

These are just the highlights. I would strongly encourage you to contact your local health department for detailed information about the necessary requirements. I would also strongly encourage you to seek proper information about how your state and local laws characterize the nature of this operation i.e. commercial, residential etc. Based on your description, I am fairly certain it will be classified as a commercial operation. You are also going to need to know what zoning restrictions, if any apply. Generally, in order to move forward with something like this i.e. a commercial operation, you need to be zoned commercial. Agricultural zoning in some states allow for certain commercial operations without the need to change the zoning. You need to look into that or the lady you work for does.

You don't want to be taking a crash course in local and state zoning laws when the construction permits are applied for. Hint: they deny permits if the plans of the kitchen are not up to code or zoning regs.

Again, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings here, but, designing and building a kitchen, especially for a commercial operation, is not a simple process.

Good luck. :)
 
Last edited:
814
297
Joined May 25, 2015
Well, there is no law that I am aware of that says you cannot have a commercial stove in a private residence. I have one in my kitchen. So, that ends that dilemma.
Well, yeah there is. Unfortunately most codes will not allow it and insurance companies will not insure you once they become aware of it. And believe me, I'm A BIG proponent of using commercial ranges in residential kitchens. If you are going to try, you are going to have to go with the full exhaust hood with fire suppression and makeup air. You are going to have to use fire resistant construction just like a commercial kitchen. That means no cutsey wood cabinets or any of that residential kitchen stuff. Stainless steel all the way.

I also agree with sgsvirgil sgsvirgil in that if you are going to serve ANY food to the public you are going to have to abide by HD regulations. A single sink just won't do. Going to need a hand wash, prep and dish washing (3 compartment) sink, commercial refrigeration and storage. Something tells me now that that 9x22 is going to get mighty cramped.

Get a commercial kitchen design firm to design it for you.
 
Last edited:
285
143
Joined Dec 30, 2015
When I read the post, I had the impression that tom holle tom holle was designing a kitchen for residential entertaining rather than for commercial use. Which is it?
 
814
297
Joined May 25, 2015
I understood that he is a private chef and his client owns a ranch. His client would like him to design a new kitchen and prepare four meals a day for up to 100 people four days at a time. This is very much the same as a "supper club" which is illegal in most places because the food is prepared in a facility that is not certified by the HD and served to the public. I guess one could argue that these people are invited guests but IMO what difference does that make? 100 people and 4 day stays is a bit much for residential entertaining and smacks of a commercial operation.
 
Last edited:
4
10
Joined Feb 3, 2016
When I read the post, I had the impression that tom holle tom holle was designing a kitchen for residential entertaining rather than for commercial use. Which is it?


This is the case. I was asked to give my personal input on equipment and layout, as I would be the person using it most. That is all. It is a private, residential "ranch", that sees minimal use, with a couple short weekends a year where friends and family gather, and I just cook for them. Some of you may deem this commercial, but for the purposes of this thread, lets consider it family cooking. I have been cooking for these weekends out of a small cabin kitchen, and the owner decided to look into building a new kitchen for these purposes, as using the cabin all day invades the space of her family and guests...

I appreciate the input about building codes, health department issues, etc., but I am fully aware of this process and it will be handled through the proper channels. I do not have the final say on anything. Strictly recommendations of equipment. I have worked in restaurants for more than 10 years, and am familiar with proper food storage/handling, need for hand washing/dish sinks, refrigeration needs, not putting food on the floor, etc.. There will be an adequate hood for the range selected.. by a professional. Electricity, propane hookups, construction, plumbing... all done by professionals under code.

i understand what 200 sq ft means. I have worked in smaller kitchens. Those kitchens still decided on equipment. The connecting "barn" is equipped with a lot of equipment that will be repurposed to the new kitchen. Sinks, refrigerators, ice makers, etc.

I was mostly interested in range recommendations, especially opinions on experiences with different "home-commercial" styles, but figured Id throw the situation out there to get some feedback on what people would do if they could pick their ideal equipment for a kitchen designed to their specs.. I just mentioned some of the main items that need to be purchased.. I understand this is a broad, hypothetical scenario, but I have gone down the rabbit hole looking at options and was interested in other opinions... in equipment.

For example... Prep tables will be needed, ideally with maple tops, in varying lengths. John Boos or Advance Tabco? Evertyhing doesnt have to be the top end, just mentioning that the budget is open for quality if its worth it.

Commercial ranges are obviously cheaper than the "home-style" counterparts, but there are other factors. Ranges like BlueStar allow for extreme customization, which my client might like to toy with...

Have an opinion on any specific equipment items that you feel strongly about?

Good or bad reviews?

Things you would put in a kitchen given the opportunity to build it yourself?

Would love to hear it.
 
4
10
Joined Feb 3, 2016
Well, there is no law that I am aware of that says you cannot have a commercial stove in a private residence. I have one in my kitchen. So, that ends that dilemma.

Without knowing or seeing the exact set up of the barn, especially any proximity it may have to livestock or other things unique to farms and ranches, there is no way anyone can give any specific advice about the design of the kitchen.

It sounds as though this kitchen will be used as part of a business operation. As such, there is no way to get around the codes and requirements of your local and state health departments. That means the kitchen will have to be designed and constructed in accordance with your local and state codes. It does not matter if the operation is part of a "private" residence closed to the public 364 days a year and used for a few hours just one day. If the kitchen is going to be used in any manner to prepare, serve, cook, reheat or store food as part of that operation even for just one day, it has to be inspected and certified. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but, there's really no way around it. You could go "underground" and hope no one gets sick or complains. But, that's just asking for a whole snoot full of very expensive legal trouble.

Anyway, assuming you are going to go the commercial route, which includes all the health department hoops to jump through, there are a few items on your list of appliances that are of some concern.

1. The chest freezer or "under counter" worktop/freezer will likely not pass any inspection. Health inspectors do not like it when freezers, especially chest freezers, are a) stored under work surfaces; and/or b) used as a work surface. You're just asking for a gig.

2. You need more than 1 sink. Period. This rule is one of few health code rules that are common in all 50 states. You need one sink just for hand washing alone that is separate and apart from any sink used for food prep or any kind of cleaning, including the dishes etc. You are not going to skate on having just one sink. That means additional water lines for both hot and cold for whatever minimum number of sinks you must have need to be factored into your design.

3. You must have adequate storage for dry goods, frozen goods and cold storage (non-frozen). For instance, your dry goods will probably have to be stored on shelving that is a specified minimum distance off the floor. Your cooler will have to be able to reach and sustain a minimum temperature as will your freezer.

4. You must have a separate storage for your cleaning products that can't be within so many feet of where you store and/or prepare/serve food.

These are just the highlights. I would strongly encourage you to contact your local health department for detailed information about the necessary requirements. I would also strongly encourage you to seek proper information about how your state and local laws characterize the nature of this operation i.e. commercial, residential etc. Based on your description, I am fairly certain it will be classified as a commercial operation. You are also going to need to know what zoning restrictions, if any apply. Generally, in order to move forward with something like this i.e. a commercial operation, you need to be zoned commercial. Agricultural zoning in some states allow for certain commercial operations without the need to change the zoning. You need to look into that or the lady you work for does.

You don't want to be taking a crash course in local and state zoning laws when the construction permits are applied for. Hint: they deny permits if the plans of the kitchen are not up to code or zoning regs.

Again, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings here, but, designing and building a kitchen, especially for a commercial operation, is not a simple process.

Good luck. :)


I appreciate your detailed input. And I am very aware that it is not a simple process. part of the reason I was asking for input. I was simply asked to give advice on things I would be using. I probably could have done a better job explaining this whole thing, but rushed it before work. The "ranch" is just a country property. No livestock. No agriculture. Private. Never used for public entertaining, parties, weddings, events, etc. Engineers, Contractors, health dept... all will be involved.
 
285
143
Joined Dec 30, 2015
I understood that he is a private chef and his client owns a ranch. His client would like him to design a new kitchen and prepare four meals a day for up to 100 people four days at a time. This is very much the same as a "supper club" which is illegal in most places because the food is prepared in a facility that is not certified by the HD and served to the public. I guess one could argue that these people are invited guests but IMO what difference does that make? 100 people and 4 day stays is a bit much for residential entertaining and smacks of a commercial operation.

halb halb I am not in the business and certainly don't understand operations, what commercial entails, etc. I get what you say about the 100 people and 4 days, but I was under the impression that if you invite friends and family and don't charge, that you are not commercial. No???
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
My SIL converted a "tractor" barn (metal pole type with concrete floor) awhile back for entertaining.
Huge undertaking but was so worth it .
Lots of good times are had by all.
Family weddings, baseball/football watch parties, NYE blowouts... you name it lol.
She started off with (IDK...some sort of high end wood) topped prep tables but after a year or so the upkeep became a PITA so we replaced with regular SS.
The old top was put to good use … repurposed into cutting boards of a few different sizes.
Just an FYI.

Luck... mimi
 
814
297
Joined May 25, 2015
halb halb I am not in the business and certainly don't understand operations, what commercial entails, etc. I get what you say about the 100 people and 4 days, but I was under the impression that if you invite friends and family and don't charge, that you are not commercial. No???
I think you are going to have to leave it up to the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) and the health department to make that call. But if you have the funds as you say, why not "do it up" anyway? Hell, if zoning permits set up a catering company. That way nobody can complain about a commercial range or who comes to eat.

Getting back to equipment. As far as what I like to call "prosumer" ranges, I've talked about them many times here. My take is that they are overpriced showpieces for high end kitchens that rarely get used. But if I had no choice but to purchase one I'm partial to the BlueStar Platinum series for being most like a commercial range.
 
1,342
865
Joined Mar 1, 2017
I appreciate your detailed input. And I am very aware that it is not a simple process. part of the reason I was asking for input. I was simply asked to give advice on things I would be using. I probably could have done a better job explaining this whole thing, but rushed it before work. The "ranch" is just a country property. No livestock. No agriculture. Private. Never used for public entertaining, parties, weddings, events, etc. Engineers, Contractors, health dept... all will be involved.

I'm rather confused. In your OP, you stated that you were asked to "design" a kitchen that would be used mostly by you to prepare food for 30-50 guests for 4 days at a time. Now, you have back peddled a bit and have characterized your involvement as simply "giving advice." There is a marked difference between "designing" something and being asked for your opinion about the make and model of appliances.

The 30-50 guests that will be served breakfast, lunch, apps and dinner over a 4 day period sounds a lot like the sort of thing that would require a properly built and licensed kitchen. Just because something is "private" does not mean its exempt from the health codes. I don't think that fact can be overstated.

Look, I wish you the best of luck in whatever it is that you are doing. Frankly, I think you mean well and you are coming from a place of good intentions and want to do a good job for your rancher friend. But, I think you might be in over your head here.

Good luck. :)
 
Top Bottom