We're doing a new kitchen and before final design is completed wanted to get others' opinions on their uses and perceived value of warming drawers.
I have had one for about 15 years and am losing it in my current remodel. I didn't use it all that much, maybe once a week (I am not one for keeping leftovers in it or warming plates). Still, I did love to have it and wish I had space. I primarily used it for entertaining/ big family meals and for proofing bread. It was great at holding appetizers and side dishes at the right temperature. I will be getting a Wolf convection/steam oven, which will also has a "keep warm" setting, but I won't be able to put half sheet pans of appetizers in it like I could with my GE Profile warming drawer. Also, I expect the oven will be full with things still cooking.
If I had the room I would have gotten another warming drawer. I am losing a foot by switching my 36" fridge for a 48"(Sub-Zero Pro 48 glass!). I am removing GE Profile 30" wall oven, counter microwave and the warming drawer and replacing with the 24" Wolf steam combi and micro drawer. If I had gone with the 30" steam combi I would have definitely put a warming drawer beneath. Yet it wasn't worth the extra 6" to me.
Storing cookie sheets.
How useful a warming drawer is depends on what you cook and where the warming drawer is. The bottom of a stack of ovens isn't the most useful position. :)
If you do a lot of small batch cooking on the stove, and have a top drawer warming drawer, or even second drawer under a utensil drawer, next to the stove, it's very convenient for accumulating pancakes, waffles and crepes, stir fry and other wok made foods, deep fried foods, etc. It's also convenient to have if you have people who regularly arrive late to dinner. You can hold your food in the pots, hold your serving pieces, or make up plates and hold them.
If you do food delivery on crazy nights, which tend to lose their heat almost immediately, you can put it all into a warmed up warming drawer, and it kind of remembers to be warm, without the kind of nasty, rewarmed taste it can get in the oven at a somewhat higher temperature. And the temperature is low enough to just put it in in the packaging it came in.
If you're having company and don't have enough stove/oven space, you can start a dish, and let it finish melding in the warming drawer. I did that recently with a tsimmis. Lots of cut up root vegetables with macerated dried fruit. Combined them on the stove, put the pot (enamelled cast iron, which holds heat well) in an oven for as long as I could to get it good and hot (about 1.5 hrs.), then put it in the warming drawer on a higher setting than I'd usually use for vegetables for another hour or two. Came out perfectly.
And then there's plate warming. I don't like those "careful--it's hot!" plates in restaurants, but I also hate it when food gets to the table cold from being put in cold dishes. I made sure to get a warming drawer that had a low enough low setting to get the plates warm to the touch but not burny.
There are other useful locations besides right by the stove. Mine is under a shallow drawer below counter level, under the Advantium. It's about five or six steps from the stove, so not inconvenient for accumulating, but I don't cook like that often. It's also in a direct path to the dining room, while being in the kitchen proper and across from the island. That's very useful to me for serving and plating, and running platters into the dining room.
There are other good locations too, depending on how you cook and live. And when people put them at the bottom of a drawer stack, not because of poor planning in a large kitchen, but because it's literally the only option in a smaller one, they've sometimes been apprehensive, and found that it's not so bad there after all. Low isn't great, just because of the bending, but as long as the warming drawer is in a useful part of the kitchen, not off to the side as many wall ovens rightfully are, they're still used and useful, and the owners are happy to have them.
One thing to remember, also, is that if you paid for it, you're more likely to take the time to use a warming drawer, than if it just came with the house and isn't optimally convenient. :)
OrchidSlayer and plllog:
thanks for info. Very helpful and appreciated.