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Kitchen Task Centers 101 – Part 2

In the proximity kitchensystem philosophy, there are seven Task Centers:

1.    Supply
2.    Storage Before
3.    Wet Prep
4.    Hot Prep
5.    Service
6.    Scullery (clean-up)
7.    Storage After 

I’m writing about each of the Task Centers in a separate post, the aggregate of which will become an e-book. These will be available soon on the proximity kitchensystem website at www.proximitykitchen.com. (click on Supply to read the first task center)

Second of the seven Task Centers is Storage Before (“Before” means “before Prep”).  When we talk about Storage, we describe the arrangement of equipment and material in ways which allow both to be stored effectively and ensure ease of access to them.

The list above shows the sequence in which Task Centers are best utilized in the vast majority of homes.  Within a given kitchen, the Task Centers are, therefore, ideally laid out on a plan in the same sequence as shown in the list.

In the design process, as we consider the sequence of tasks as they occur in cookery, “Storage Before” takes on an interesting scope of influence, involving:

•    the location of the fridge and pantry, relative to each other
•    the entry to the home
•    the next Task Center in the sequence (in this case Wet Prep)
•    the rest of the kitchen
•    movement from Storage Before to Wet Prep for which we need:
•    a landing area for foodstuff as it arrives,
•    enough room on the landing area to allow staging for Wet Prep
•    access to the actual storage system, including
•    consideration of door swing (right or left, relative to the place you’re going to move the food) and opening size of fridge (please, no “French door” or “side-by-sides”) and pantry
•    depth of pantry shelving (it can very easily be too deep)
•    whether we’re storing perishable food (fridge), non-perishable food (pantry), or equipment

The access to Task Centers, as well as the organization of the elements within them, is prioritized according to the maxim “most often used, closest to hand.”  This applies to both equipment (your favorite knives, small appliances, skillet, etc. where they’re most often used), and food or ingredients (distributed as appropriate; spices, condiments and so on between Wet- and Hot Prep, for example).

The overall point is that you’re going to bring foodstuff into your home (material), and then you are going to process (cook, prepare, whatever) it, making perhaps a “tasty burger” or a holiday meal for an “arsenal gourmet gastronomic delight,” or maybe a quick salad.

. . . in order to keep the process as efficient and enjoyable as possible, you want the right tools and equipment.  Equally important, you want them arranged so they reflect, and, therefore, enhance a sequential work-flow, as opposed to impeding it.

Have a look at the diagram below, showing an ideal layout of the various functions which will be described after it.

As an example of how NOT to do things see the image below. 

SONY DSC

The vast majority of apartment fridges are installed as they come out of the box:  hinged at the right.  In at least half the apartments in any complex, these fridges are installed at at the end of a counter on the left, with the door opening not only the wrong way (hinge at right, swinging toward the counter on the right, directly obstructing access to the landing area ahead of Wet Prep) in the plan, but against a wall as well.  The simple expedient of reversing the door swing on virtually every fridge sold globally takes about 45 minutes.  Given the ability to follow simple instructions and operate a Phillips head screwdriver:  it’s EASY

In the example above, with the single door, left-hinge fridge at the left end of a run of cabinetry, the landing surface should be directly to the right of the fridge, assuming the most commonly useful arrangement for overall kitchen planning:  a left-to-right flow of tasks (you may prefer a right-to-left arrangement, if so, simply reverse the Task Center sequence and follow the principles). 

In general, the pantry can be located further from Wet Prep than the fridge, since items stored there are generally accessed once or twice during the creation of a given meal, as opposed to items in the fridge which are accessed almost continuously:  it can be located on the same wall as the fridge and on the other side of it, across an aisle from the fridge, or in a mud-room or utility room closer to the Supply Entry. 

Neither the fridge nor the pantry need be on the same wall as Wet Prep. In fact, if possible, it is good to place them across an aisle from, and perpendicular to two long runs of cabinetry, one with both Wet Prep and Hot Prep together in a contiguous arrangement, and the other containing Scullery.  Place Service at the other end of the two counters, and you’ve got a classic proximity layout.  More on all that in future posts.

Join us next time when we talk about Wet Prep – how to get there, what it is for, how it relates to Storage Before and Hot Prep.

Thanks for reading, I hope it proves helpful.


proximity_story_pete_walker-150x150.jpgMr. Walker is a nationally recognized professional and has created functional and aesthetic modern living environments for more than 400 clients, in addition to having designed over 3000 kitchens in 33 years of professional practice.

He continues to develop the proximity | kitchensystem. Pete is happy to take questions, comments and critique. You can reach Pete through his email address: pete@proximitykitchen.com, or visit the website at www.proximitykitchen.com

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