The ideal kitchen for happy cooking

Connections for appliances:

Inform yourself about all the connections you need for your appliances. Don’t expect your architect or contractor to know what is required. I had to battle for the connections for my dishwasher: Most of the times the contractor and the architect are absent from a building site and you have to deal with unskilled workers. The following list provides basic knowledge. If you choose fancy appliances, you might need additional connections.

 

Appliance

Connections

Gas cooking range with auto ignition

Power plug, gas connection

Vent hood

2 power plugs: one under the hood, and one next to the exit hole (10 centimeter diameter) in the wall

Electric oven or cooking range

Power plug

Dishwasher

Power plug, water inlet, water outlet at least 50 centimeters high

Washing machine

Power plug, water inlet with adequate water pressure, water outlet

Dryer

Power plug, steam outlet (can be a window close by or a hole in the wall)

Reverse-osmosis-water filter

Electric plug, water inlet, water outlet

 
 

Kitchen cabinets:

The cabinets greatly influence the look of your kitchen. What you choose depends largely on your budget. Keep in mind that the surfaces should be easy to clean and water resistant. If you want to choose wood for making cabinets, you have to be careful to purchase seasoned wood. If wood is too fresh – which is unfortunately the norm nowadays - it will change shape while drying. Kitchen cabinets made from wood normally don’t close well after some time.

Wood should undergo at least one year of seasoning before it can be used. Unfortunately this rule has largely been forgotten by carpenters in India. They will happily use fresh wood and tell you “no problem” with a smile. Remember that “no problem” always means: “No problem for me”, never “no problem for you”. The best advice our architect gave us was the following: “When somebody tells you no problem, usually the trouble starts”.

If you can afford it, absolutely go for cabinets and overhead cupboards with doors. Choose the best hinges you can get your hands on. For drawers insist on metal runners. Avoid open shelving as much as possible: Dust will settle everywhere. Ants and cockroaches love to scuttle around open shelves, not to mention the omnipresent rats.

Working surface:

As with fridge space, you can never have too much working surface in your kitchen. There are many options for countertops, from polished cement to marble, depending largely on your budget again. In India stone is quite affordable, black kadappa being the cheapest, but not the best. This black stone stains easily, is rather soft and keeps on oozing black dust. For a little more money you can get one of the beautiful granites of India, which last a lifetime and endure any kind of rough treatment. Although marble is beautiful, I would not use it as countertop. Marble stains easily, can crack when exposed to heat and is difficult to keep clean. Polished cement probably is the cheapest solution, but it never lasts really long.

The height of the counter top should be chosen according to your body height. The standard in India is 72 centimeters. For me this is much too low. My counter tops are 92 centimeters high, as I like cutting vegetables and cooking while standing. I must confess though that my cleaning ladies suffer greatly from this height. They are a lot shorter and have trouble cleaning dishes in the sink. However I rather enjoy my high counter tops when I am cooking and I don’t have to crouch to do my things. After all I own a dishwasher and there are not many dishes to be cleaned by hand.

Kitchen sink:

In India basically you can choose between stainless steel sinks and custom made stone or cement sinks. If you want to build a sink, make sure you have some skilled workers at your disposal. If they get the angle of the slope wrong, you have to live with water puddles in your sink. I proudly own 2 jumbo sized stainless steel sinks with anti-scratch surface. Although they cost more than double than a normal stainless steel sink, the investment is well worth it. The anti-scratch surface is a lot more resistant and a lot easier to clean than your common smooth stainless steel surface.

Kitchen Island:

If you have a big kitchen, you might want to fit it with a kitchen island. Again, the options are endless. An island can be everything from a simple dining table to an extra cook station fitted with a sink and a hood. At this point I cannot go into details. If you want a kitchen island, inform yourself and get a very good kitchen planner.

Remember the following guidelines: The work aisle between an island and the opposing counter should be at least 1,06 meters (42 inches) wide. If there are 2 cooks, the distance should be at least 1,22 meters (48 inches). If you want to use your island for eating meals as well, plan a seating area which has 61 centimeters (24 inches) for each person.

Although your kitchen might leave much to be desired, don’t despair: Great food can be prepared in the humblest of conditions. You are the cook; you infuse your dishes with your energy, your spirit and your personality. Whatever the surroundings, if you cook with love, it makes a great difference. May I wish you happy cooking, always!

Both my cook books 'Kornelia's Kitchen' & 'Kornelia's Kitchen 2'
have won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for India.

'Kornelia's Kitchen'

Kornelia's Kitchen 2

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