01 February 2009

There are three main functions in a kitchen are storage, preparation, and cooking (kitchen work triangle), and the places for these functions should be arranged in the kitchen in such a way that work at one place does not interfere with work at another place, the distance between these places is not unnecessarily large, and no obstacles are in the way. A natural arrangement is a triangle, with the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove at a vertex each.There are few common kitchen forms, commonly characterized by the arrangement of the kitchen cabinets and sink, stove, and refrigerator :

A single-file kitchen (or one-way galley)
  • Has all of these along one wall
  • The work triangle degenerates to a line.
  • This is not optimal, but often the only solution if space is restricted.
  • This may be common in an attic space that is being converted into a living space, or a studio apartment.
The double-file kitchen (or two-way galley)
  • Has two rows of cabinets at opposite walls, one containing the stove and the sink, the other the refrigerator.
  • This is the classical work kitchen.
In the L-kitchen
  • The cabinets occupy two adjacent walls.
  • The work triangle is preserved, and there may even be space for an additional table at a third wall, provided it doesn't intersect the triangle.
A U-kitchen
  • Has cabinets along three walls, typically with the sink at the base of the "U".
  • This is a typical work kitchen, too, unless the two other cabinet rows are short enough to place a table at the fourth wall.
The block kitchen (or island)
  • Found in open kitchens.
  • The stove or both the stove and the sink are placed where an L or U kitchen would have a table, in a freestanding "island", separated from the other cabinets.
  • In a closed room, this doesn't make much sense, but in an open kitchen, it makes the stove accessible from all sides such that two persons can cook together, and allows for contact with guests or the rest of the family, since the cook doesn't face the wall anymore.
Restaurant and canteen kitchens
  • found in hotels, hospitals, army barracks, and similar establishments are generally (in developed countries) subject to public health laws.
  • They are inspected periodically by public-health officials, and forced to close if they don't meet hygienic requirements mandated by law.
  • Canteen kitchens (and castle kitchens) were often the places where new technology was used first.
Today's western restaurant kitchens typically have tiled walls and floors and use stainless steel for other surfaces (workbench, but also door and drawer fronts) because these materials are durable and easy to clean. Professional kitchens are often equipped with gas stoves, as these allow cooks to regulate the heat quicker and more finely than electrical stoves.

Galleys
  • kitchens aboard ships or aircraft
  • On yachts, galleys are often cramped, with one or two gas burners fuelled by a gas bottle, but kitchens on cruise ships or large warships are comparable in every respect with restaurants or canteen kitchens.
  • On passenger airplanes, the kitchen is reduced to a mere pantry, the only function reminiscent of a kitchen is the heating of in-flight meals delivered by a catering company.

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