DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture Is Fun

Posted in Architecture Is Fun on July 28, 2014 2:56 pm EDT

What’s Cooking?

... a well-equipped commercial kitchen can help a ministry of any size become self-sustaining, as well as reinforcing concepts of community.


 

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TAGS: blog, chefskitchen, community kitchen, cooking, microenterprise, sacredspaces,

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By Peter Exley, FAIA, and Sharon Exley, MAAE, ASID

We just returned from four days of camaraderie and cooking at the GE Monogram Experience Center (MEC) in Louisville, Ky. It was a trip filled full of appliance understanding and ending with new friends—fellow architects, kitchen designers, interior designers, and dealers, too. Sure, we’ve been treated to the “experience” so we can all learn more about their high-end of appliances, but seeing manufacturing being brought back home was truly inspiring; Made in America does have meaning. One could hardly imagine so many hands fitting together your new refrigerator as it comes to life on the factory floor.

"The kitchen a church builds depends more on ministry than money. Food can be a big deal."

—Jack Berry,Architectural Manager, Midwest Church Construction

But really, GE wants you cooking—using that refrigerator with its chamfered edges and stainless finish, testing the induction stovetop and warming those griddle-made pancakes in the hybrid convection-microwave oven. By experiencing in hands-on ways and through our constant chit-chat our group successfully navigates through a plethora of choices to equip the perfect kitchen. The teaching kitchen at the MEC with its six learning centers comes equipped with real mentors: Chef Joe Castro and Chef Brian Logsdon who broadcast their experience, training and transmitting that it’s “all in good food.” Although to be honest, we’re not all Bobby Flay or Gordon Ramsey. We learn in a classroom setting, too, and tour restricted design and prototype departments to see what the future has in store.

Mostly, we pondered the many “perfect” kitchens. As architects and designers, we understand their complexities, even residential kitchens are requiring more electrical power than ever before, not to mention the exhaust challenges. We want quality food faster, hotter, and more precisely. And we want the kitchen to be a center—it’s the hearth, the warmth, the flow, the command center. It needs to function well, be efficient, be easy to clean and care for, be sustainable, and serve well. It should be beautiful in its form. There is a significant investment made to equip that dream kitchen—and the best design presents an equally large return on investment (ROI).

In the eyes of a municipality, serving at a day school, feeding the homeless, and selling food are just some activities that turn a warming kitchen into “commercial” enterprise—subject to health codes and inspections, requiring venting for those hoods, extra sinks, walk-in freezers, and more. Yet, a well-equipped commercial kitchen can help a ministry of any size become self-sustaining, as well as reinforcing concepts of community. Construction and maintenance costs can be offset by discovering revenue potential. Recently, our colleague Jack Berry of Perrysburg, Ohio-based Midwest Church Construction observed that in his experience “the kitchen a church builds depends more on ministry than money. Food can be a big deal.” We think that the ROI can be a qualitative as well as a quantitative opportunity.  continued >>

 

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