KBB - November/December 2013 - (Page 62)
How to Design a Truly Kosher
Kitchen - Tips from the Designer,
Contractor and Homeowner
The Fretzin kosher kitchen, which is part of a
newly built home features two individual islands
and opens onto the family and dining rooms.
extensive amount of cabinetry is needed. In most modern kosher kitchens, the cabinets extend to the ceiling to provide the space.
For countertops, quartz or granite are considered ideal. Quartz is
exceptionally strong and durable. Granite is beautiful, but it requires
maintenance and must be cleaned and treated with a water-based
sealant on a regular basis. Wood countertops are acceptable but must
have a smooth surface and no cracks or seams.
Stainless steel is the material of choice for sinks. The steel surface
is easily cleaned and tolerates heavy use. If there is no space for two
sinks, a single sink divided into two separate parts is acceptable. A potfiller faucet above the stove is a convenient option for soups, rice and
pastas. For appliances, many manufacturers offer a Sabbath mode that
allows the homeowners to turn off the appliance from Friday sundown
to Saturday night, eliminating power usage during the Sabbath when
such activity is not allowed.
The design of a kosher kitchen involves a unique combination of science,
art and tradition. Jewish dietary laws, dating back several centuries, have
a defined set of rules for keeping food and food preparation equipment
kosher, or pure, for consumption. Ritual Jewish law and practice requires
the separation of meat and dairy, and the kosher kitchen is equipped
and organized to follow these laws and requirements.
When planning a new or remodeled kosher kitchen, be certain to
carefully design the layout. While most modern kitchens are designed
using the classic "work triangle" method of one sink, one refrigerator and
one stove installed in a specific pattern, a kosher kitchen has two overlapping triangles and double sinks, refrigerators and stoves. Kosher kitchens can be expensive, so it is imperative to do as much preplanning as
possible before construction begins.
Material and Appliance Considerations
Cabinets are one of the most visual and functional elements of any
kitchen. In a kosher kitchen, there are duplicates of almost everything,
including dishes, bowls, pots and pans, silverware and glassware. Obviously, significant storage will be needed for all of these items, so an
David Wytmar, AIA, an architect and partner in Groundwork, Ltd. of
Buffalo Grove, Ill., has extensive experience in designing kosher kitchens.
"There are some kitchens that are designed to look impressive but are
used sparingly," said Wytmar. "However, when a kosher kitchen is required,
it will surely see a lot of use. Kosher kitchens serve both a large family and
an extended family. The kitchen's design must be tailored to how it is used
and how the family functions, and that means fully understanding the
How do family dynamics figure into the kitchen's design?
"From a functional standpoint, the non-cooking activity must be kept
clear of the cooking activity," he continued. "Does the 'chief cook' want
other people in the kitchen or not? This determines if there is a seating
area in the kitchen for people who are not cooking and how close they
should be to the action. Then a finer distinction must be made. Within the
cooking area, does the primary cook prefer to work alone or share the
tasks with others? For example, an island can serve as a buffer between
the cook and everyone else. In simple terms, form follows kitchen."
As a mother of five school-age children, Robbie Fretzin spends much of
her time cooking in her kitchen. She recommends that a kosher kitchen be
designed with the most commonly used workstations within easy reach.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - November/December 2013
KBB - November/December 2013
Show Director’s Note
Celebrity Design with...Martha Stewart
Product Innovator Awards
KBIS Countdown to Design & Construction Week
KBB - November/December 2013