What to consider in a two-cook kitchen

…well, at least in the example we’re going to discuss today.

A few of you out there expressed some interest for multi-cook kitchens, and it’s a good time to cover it. Many singles, couples, and families are still curtailing their nights out and staying at home. Yes, singles too. They may bring in 1-8 people in for a “night out.”

I’m currently working on a multi-cook kitchen as we speak. He’s the cook (as in culinary school), and she’s the baker. As soon as I saw the layout, I asked, “So who does the most yelling for the other to get of the way?” (They both do.) 

Let’s take a look (I’m modifying this from the actual plan and clients have been altered to protect the innocent. Apologies for the slight blurring):


image Before


At first glance, it looks like a kitchen anyone could want – lots of counter and storage space, an island, and room for multiple appliances.

Closer inspection reveals that:

  • The previous clients added an after-market island which should never have been in the kitchen in the first place. With only 27” on one side and 31” on the other, it is too oversized for the room. Opening the dishwasher is a delicate process and forget about bending down to get a pot from a cabinet. Both clients bump into it all the time, but admit it’s valuable counterspace.
  • Really?  The island shouldn’t be there. 140” of width with cabinets on both walls is too small. We’d need a minimum of 150” to even squeak in, and that’s considering older rules with 36” of walkway space.
  • The baker has good access to the sink and oven but would like the deeper island surface to work on cookies, bread, etc.
  • They both get into each other’s way whenever they work together and use the sink.
  • The baker is 5’3”; the cook is 6’2”. The counters are too high for her and fine for him.
  • Is that table tight within the nook space. Yes. (Easy way to tell – check the walls and casings for ding marks.)


The order of priority:

  • We need to get both parties out from underneath each other. In this one design, I’ve created a “his” and “hers” split. This isn’t to say that they can’t use each others areas, but for the majority of their work, they’ll be efficient.
  • Eliminate island in favor of new dropped baking peninsula for the baker. Also still in the works, since they don’t use a microwave much, do we add a combo. 2nd oven or eliminate it completely. Note that wall cabinets on baking center will extend down to counter and possibly grow deeper for lift mixer and other small appliances.


image After


  • Keep the refrigerator in an area where no one crosses into another’s path to get to it. We need to prevent collision hazards from the cook heading to the ovens and the baker heading towards the refrigerator. The refrigerator, which is used almost more than any other appliance, is relocated so both can use it without getting in each other’s way.
  • Avoiding sink collision. A new prep sink for the cook which is close to the nook and could act as also bar area. (Why on the left? Because a right-handed cook will usually prep left to right – chop veggies, toss on range. If he was left-handed, we’d discuss placing it to the right of the range.
  • The cook gets his own range with his cooktop; the baker gets double-ovens. We have a bit of a struggle on where to put the them – they might be better in the pantry by the range, but as the formal dining room doesn’t have a lot of through-traffic, they currently fit to the left of the sink. We’re still pondering this one.
  • The entry doors both swing into the room – more walking around obstacles. Both will strike the counter and built-in refrigerator without doorstops. I’m thinking pocket doors would lessen the clutter.
  • Also, back off the cabinets and appliances from the entryways. Always think of doors open and people standing. Encroaching into a walkway is an excellent way to bruise one’s hip coming around the corner.
  • Dishwasher relocated to the left of the sink. Although right is better, the open door would be in the way of the baker. This is one of those points that boil down to lifestyle choices.
  • Could we steal a bit more space for the dropped baking peninsula? Sure, another 6” of length wouldn’t hurt. If it was a family with 4 or more, I’d say “no”.

Is it perfect? Not yet. But it’s coming along.  My only contention is the oven placements.

I’ve always been taught to mentally cook my favorite dish in a new design to see where I’d end up fetching items. If it seems intuitive and easy, then the design is working.

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