Kitchen Zones

Popularized by the modular kitchen, the concept of zoning the kitchen is based on the idea of setting up the work area to accomodate the function performed there. While we may or may not actually buy kitchen modules, I think knowing the design principles will still help us when we model our own kitchens.

Image courtesy of Dynamic Space by Blum

There are 5 common distinct work areas identified for a kitchen: Cooking/Hot Zone, Prep Zone, Cleaning/Wet Zone, Non-Consumables Zone, and Consumables Zone.

Cooking/Hot Zone
This is the heart of a kitchen. The cooking/hot zone includes the hob, a heat proofed area to put hot utensils, and supplies used around the hob such as pots, pans, lids, spatula, pot holders, and etc. Appliances such as the microwave and oven should also ideally be kept in this zone.

It would not be advisable to put the hod right next to, or against a wall. The heat from the burners will scorch the wall. If the hod is in an island or peninsula, make sure the rear of the hod is protected either by a raised block or by 20cm of counter space.

Preparation Zone
This is the main workarea of a kitchen where most of the food preparation takes place. It should be organized with easy access to knives, utensils, mixing bowls, small appliances, as well as frequently used supplies such as oil, salt, spices/seasoning, sauces, and etc.

It should be well lit and of a sufficient size. Following the kitchen work triangle, the Preparation Zone should be nearby to both the Cooking/Hot Zone and the Cleaning Zone.

Cleaning/Wet Zone
The Cleaning/Wet Zone is where the preparation, washing up and general cleaning takes place. It includes the sink, a place to stack dirty dishes, a place for the dish-drainer, and household cleaners and cleaning utensils. A place for waste separation/storage is essential. If you are using a dishwasher, it should be here too.

Non-Consumable Zone
This area is used to store non-foodstuffs like crockery, dinnerware and seldom used appliances. Proximity to the Cleaning/Wet Zone would be good to minimize the distance travelled when putting away the dishes after washing.

Consumables Zone
This area is used to store consumables including chilled and unchilled foodstuffs. The fridge is a fixed part of this zone. Opened packages should be kepted in the Preparation Zone.

It used to be a no-no to have the fridge next to the hob (for those who subscribe to feng-shui, it still is). But these days most fridges are better insulated. As long as the manufacturer's recommended clearance space is observed, I think it should not be a problem.
Tip: Have the fridge vendor make it such that the door swings "away" from the hob. This will make it easier to reach into the fridge when you are attending to the hob.

Does your ID, especially those to claim to specialize in kitchen designs, look into these zones when designing your kitchen?

2 comments:

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