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Tips For Designing A Culinary School Kitchen

Organization inside a culinary school kitchen is everything. Why? Because along with learning the proper way to slice and dice, culinary students are also in the process of discovering how organization results in kitchen efficiency. These basic guidelines will help you to design an efficient culinary school kitchen and all without sacrificing aesthetics.


Before getting down to details, conduct a specific design process to facilitate instructor lectures and assessments based on the way your faculty teaches. Be aware of where instructors need to stand to be seen clearly by students, and where and how specific equipment needs to be positioned to make teaching as efficient and visible as possible. The initial design plan notes you make during this initial assessment should be based on both faculty needs as well as culinary school industry best practices.


A CAD (Computer-Assisted Design) program can help you to visualize what your culinary teaching space will look like before you even lift a power tool. You can use such a program to lay out work stations, taking into account the full array of tools, appliances, and cookware each will need to be fitted with. As an example, an efficiently designed 2400-square-foot space should accommodate eight to ten four-person work stations. Being able to actually see what this would look like for your particular space will serve to save you time and energy once the build begins.


You’ll want to consider the psychological dynamics that your color palette will have on your hard-working students. You may notice that most restaurant kitchens display similar color schemes; namely that of white, black, and red tiles with backsplashes and trim. There’s a reason for this: psychologically, this color palette is known to boost energy levels, which your restaurant staff will need, unlike the soothing earth-tones that are often seen in the dining areas of restaurants that encourage patrons to feel relaxed as they eat.


The last thing you want is a kitchen full of harried students who have to reach and stumble to find or retrieve the appliances and tools they’ll need. A lack of efficient design can slow down productivity, and hinder your culinary environment from giving off the air of professionalism your students aspire to achieve.

Work Stations. For each work station, consider storage and accessible ways for equipment to be stored. This guarantees easy retrieval of these items by your students and as well allows for individual accountability and assessment based on the students' ability to care for their workspace.

Appliance Bridges. Be resourceful by installing appliance bridges between pairs of workstations. Design spaces to allow for the right equipment counts to be supplied based on usage, some items are needed for each student, some for two or four and so one. This is a critical design process in order to manage budgets and lesson work flow.

Satellite Fixtures. Consider adding butcher-block satellites specifically built for food preparation so that the students handling this task are not in the way of other students doing different duties, such as cooking and cleaning.

Mirrrors. Mount large mirrors above each work station to allow students to view teacher demonstrations without obstruction.

Stain-treated Fabrics. Be sure to use stain-treated fabric for any upholstered bar stools in your kitchen. You can choose colors that match floor, wall and cabinet patterns for an aesthetically coordinated look.

Lockers. Install lockers at each kitchen unit to provide a convenient place for students to stow personal items and oft-needed supplies, such as aprons and hairnets. For a pleasing look, choose wood for the cabinet doors that blend well with your locker design.

It is critical to evaluate the way the kitchens will be used on a day to day basis, how students interact in the space with each other and the instructor. What lessons will be taught and most of all, what industry best practices will be demonstrated through example in the space. It is important to remember that these spaces teach many things, each detail is noticed and learned by those using the space. Students learn how to move in a kitchen and work in the space as well as how to cook. Instructors must be able to teach effectively and assess easily, all these factors are what makes a teaching kitchen great and results in holistic lessons learned.


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