Dwell suggested 8" counter space in front of cooktop for plating?

scrappy25March 27, 2013

I was at the dentists' office and picked up Dwell magazine, didn't note it issue, the cover said "Interiors". Anyhow, they featured a chef and his kitchen by poggenpohl. It said that he deliberately had his induction cooktop placed with 8" of counter in front of it so that he could plate as rapidly as he could at this restaurant. It had a picture of him in front of his cooktop with empty plates on the counter between him and the skillet he was cooking in.

This is a completely new idea for me, as anyone worked in a restaurant kitchen with this setup and comment on the ergonomics of it? For a home setup I would imagine that 30" counters deep counters would be sufficient for a 7.5 inch deep counter in front if the cooktop was mounted in the usual position.

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You would be leaning over to reach the pots and check the contents and watch out for the hood on your way. You can plate as easily with counter space to the left or right. I would keep this to just 4-5 inches as needs be.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Is Chef Whatsit about 6'6" tall? Can you imagine leaning over that far to brown the ground beef, stir the spaghetti sauce, or stir fry the dinner? I can't imagine professional chefs have any less need to reach the food without killing their backs and dipping their fronts into awaiting plates.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:39PM
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My back and arms would be killing me after a day of cooking with the front edge of a cooktop 8" away from me. The center of the pan where the food is actually located on said cooktop would be even farther away than that. I don't routinely serve a hoard the size of a restaurant in my own home though, but when I do I take the pan of the food to the empty plates. With all the restaurant kitchen's I've been in (granted these aren't Michelin-starred establishments), not one has had this set-up. I'd much rather have empty counter space adjacent to my cooktop for plating than in front of my cooking surface.

And is 8" enough to room to plate a typically sized American homeowner's dinner plate? Most have much larger plates.

Try a search of the forum also. This was discussed sometime back, probably when the mag issue was released.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I'm 5'4" and I would hate this. I'm no chef though. I cook for 2, and have no need for rapid plating.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:48PM
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What they all said, At 5'3", I have to reach for the pots in the back as it is. I do sometimes plate right on the cooktop. You can put a plate on any space that isn't currently occupied, and I don't often use more than two hobs at once. It's like extra counter space.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:00PM
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I think it's best to ask your chef and see what he prefers.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:12PM
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For me? Really a dumb idea.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:16PM
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thanks everyone. My cooktop happens to be in a peninsula with 12" counter behind it (not ideal but we bought it like that) so I stood on the other side and definitely could not adequately reach the front burners (the ones further away from the back side). Perhaps that chef is really tall.

I don't really understand the plating issue with induction anyhow, can't you use the cooktop as a countertop after you are done cooking/

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Perhaps the chef that wanted this was used to working at the much-lower typical cooktop surface that is common in food service. If that's the case the ergonomics might not be so awful. With a 36"-high counter, reaching accross that plating shelf would make my everyday cooking a real pain.

Also restaurant ranges are often more free standing (because of heat considerations) than residential ranges or cooktops placed in counter runs. We're more likely to have convenient adjacent counters suitable for plating. In restaurants the work surfaces might be across an aisle.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:41PM
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I am guessing that the chef had it all figured out. How long does plating take? And s he can move in or move the pot off the hob to stir or fold or tip!
Artistry in motion, moving things and moving self. If the chef or owner has an induction cooktop, then we know that thinking outside the box took place.

Perhaps that particular kitchen area was used mostly for finishing ?
Perhaps the raw space favored creating space from front to back rather than to the side? QPerhaps the chef spent more time arranging the plate rather than working the food? I vote for giving the designer/chef/owner credit for meeting specific needs.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:14PM
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I looked up "commercial kitchen" images on Google and the ones that showed chefs plating food had them working on a small counter next to or between the ranges.

Cooking over a fence like that would be annoying.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:30PM
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