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What Kitchen Items are an Absolute Must?

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SecondAct

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Aside from the normal major appliances, what other variations on appliances or additional appliances do you really rely on or wish you had? For example, need a 6-burner stove with a griddle? Need or would like to have a warming drawer? Convection oven? Wine cooler? Freezer in the garage? Two refrigerators? What size coffeemaker? If I had an opportunity to redo the kitchen, I'm just wondering what things you feel are essential and really make life easier. Or, what things did you really think you needed and found out they were not as important as you thought?
 

swirt

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This is a hard one because it all depends on size of the B&B. As a 3 room (max occ of 6) we are very happy with a 4 burner dual fuel stove. The stove top is gas and the oven is electric with convection. THis makes it so we have the benefit of baking with electric (finer control without all the extra water for propane) and the ability to cook with better control on top. This is especially handy when the electric goes out.
 

Morticia

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A warming drawer would be great, but we've made do with a toaster oven. We have a regular 4 burner gas stove and a smaller apt-sized fridge (due to space constraints) but we do have a freezer in the basement.
The extras are:
  • 2 electric griddles
  • 1 waffle maker
  • 1 toaster (4 slice) and a second one would be handy
  • 1 microwave (really only used to warm syrup, so not a big deal)
  • 1 toaster oven
  • Bunn commercial coffee maker with 2 warming elements.
  • Bunn carafe warmer with 2 warmers (keeps guests away from the coffee maker)
 

gillumhouse

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Friday - go to bed @ midnight
Up Saturday to cook breakfast for guests at 5am
On go all day with getting materials for new bathroom
9:45PM - I need pudding
Midnight go to Chapel home at 1AM and in bed 1:15
Up at 5 to make breakfast
Take daughter's friend site-seeing - totally enjoyable but tiring as we got home at 8:30PM
9PM- I need pudding
What I need in my kitchen right now is a cleaver and garbage bags - and my daughter told me I have forgotten cement - ALWAYS need cement.
 

YellowSocks

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Eventually we'll have a second fridge... it will really alleviate the crowding. We already have a chest freezer which is generally full.
Microwave... although not used a lot at breakfast beyond melting butter.
What I have (and would max out if I had even more) is a BIG cabinet (floor to ceiling) completely full of dishes for fruit cups... footed bowls, banana boats, tall parfait glasses. It's actually around the corner from the kitchen. I could use two more of them for plates and glasses.
I have a nice sized pantry, and it's usually stuffed to the gills... I recently cleaned it out and it had developed strata...
STORAGE!!
=)
Kk.
 

gillumhouse

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All kidding aside, I would have a big freezer and more storage area. Nuker would be nice for warm-ups. And there is no space in the house for any of this. I do not think there IS such thing as enough storage space.
 

scrambled_eggs

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I would like to have two ovens. I bake so much in the morning that my single kenmore electric oven is overloaded and both racks are usually full. Sometimes I am baking items that require different temperatures...for example...the scones might need to be at 400 degrees and something else is at 350 so having two ovens would alleviate this and also provide more room. I would also like to have a cook stop instead of the range set up I have now. Hardly ever use the microwave. Always use the Kitchen Aid mixer for cookie dough, use a blender for smoothies sometimes, 1 waring waffle maker, 1 BUNN coffee maker, 1 coffee grinder, extra freezer in the garage. Oh and I love my dishwasher.
 

muirford

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We did redo our kitchen our second year here, and put in a lot of things that make it more user-friendly. We took out the overhead cabinets and put up shelves and a floor to ceiling open storage unit, which supplement another we already had. We have a stainless table for the coffeemakers with storage underneath. Another shelving units holds one microwave and more supplies. DH built the tall unit and the microwave one, so they fit in the space perfectly. We added a stove with a warming drawer and a microwave hood that is convection, a new butcher block top for the island, a sanitizing dishwasher and a fridge with a bottom freezer. We have a spare small fridge and full size freezer in the basement. We also have a walk-through butler's pantry between the two dining rooms for 'nice-dishware' and glass storage.
After using it for six years, there are a few things I still pine for. A dual-fuel stove would be nice, and two extra burners would be nicer. I've never cooked with propane, only natural gas, which we don't have access to here. A small sink in my island would be great as that is where I do most of my prep and it would be nice to have water right there. DH refuses to go to the crawl space underneath the kitchen to run my pipes, though. I haven't found as much use for the convection oven as I'd like although it's very handy as a second warming drawer - better for egg dishes, really. And I wish I was more organized with the space I have!
 

Proud Texan

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We did redo our kitchen our second year here, and put in a lot of things that make it more user-friendly. We took out the overhead cabinets and put up shelves and a floor to ceiling open storage unit, which supplement another we already had. We have a stainless table for the coffeemakers with storage underneath. Another shelving units holds one microwave and more supplies. DH built the tall unit and the microwave one, so they fit in the space perfectly. We added a stove with a warming drawer and a microwave hood that is convection, a new butcher block top for the island, a sanitizing dishwasher and a fridge with a bottom freezer. We have a spare small fridge and full size freezer in the basement. We also have a walk-through butler's pantry between the two dining rooms for 'nice-dishware' and glass storage.
After using it for six years, there are a few things I still pine for. A dual-fuel stove would be nice, and two extra burners would be nicer. I've never cooked with propane, only natural gas, which we don't have access to here. A small sink in my island would be great as that is where I do most of my prep and it would be nice to have water right there. DH refuses to go to the crawl space underneath the kitchen to run my pipes, though. I haven't found as much use for the convection oven as I'd like although it's very handy as a second warming drawer - better for egg dishes, really. And I wish I was more organized with the space I have!.
We're even smaller that SWIRT, maximum of 4. However, were already talking about expanding! Our kitchen is relatively new, so we have most of the requisite appliances. However, we have rapidly outgrown our freezer space! We have a small out building that was going to be my woodworking shop, but it looks like it might become our 2nd refrigerator, freezer and laundry room. We're making do with what we have right now.
 

Don Draper

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We have 9 rooms and operate out of what I feel is the world's tiniest kitchen...it is literally 8 x 8...so more space would be my first priority...before we got our new side-by-side fridge, you couldn't have the oven door and the fridge open at the same time...very fun choreography while you're serving breakfast! Now the fridge door (on the right side) can be open while someone is standing in front of the stove/oven.
The thing I am happiest to have in my arsenal is a stand-up freezer in the garage...the chest freezers are just too hard for me to keep organized and you have to pull everything out to get at what's in the bottom. Our stand-up is the size of a "normal" fridge and has shelves like a fridge, so it's very easy to keep things organized and see what you have on hand. We buy bulk fresh sausage, link sausage and bacon from a local farmer, so it's nice to be able to process this into usable 1-pound freezer bags and keep them stacked in the freezer. We buy shredded cheese in bulk at Costco and do the same thing...also bags of frozen blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.
I wish we had another oven, period...so I could start baking while DH is still serving breakfast...I'm thinking a large toaster oven would do the trick for us, we're looking into it. Otherwise, we do fine with a regular 4-burner stove. It is electric though, I wish it was gas.
We have a three-burner Bunn coffee maker and three airpot servers which do a great job (you have to heat them up with hot water before putting the coffee in them, and they will hold temperature for 6 hours easily).
 

SecondAct

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We have 9 rooms and operate out of what I feel is the world's tiniest kitchen...it is literally 8 x 8...so more space would be my first priority...before we got our new side-by-side fridge, you couldn't have the oven door and the fridge open at the same time...very fun choreography while you're serving breakfast! Now the fridge door (on the right side) can be open while someone is standing in front of the stove/oven.
The thing I am happiest to have in my arsenal is a stand-up freezer in the garage...the chest freezers are just too hard for me to keep organized and you have to pull everything out to get at what's in the bottom. Our stand-up is the size of a "normal" fridge and has shelves like a fridge, so it's very easy to keep things organized and see what you have on hand. We buy bulk fresh sausage, link sausage and bacon from a local farmer, so it's nice to be able to process this into usable 1-pound freezer bags and keep them stacked in the freezer. We buy shredded cheese in bulk at Costco and do the same thing...also bags of frozen blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.
I wish we had another oven, period...so I could start baking while DH is still serving breakfast...I'm thinking a large toaster oven would do the trick for us, we're looking into it. Otherwise, we do fine with a regular 4-burner stove. It is electric though, I wish it was gas.
We have a three-burner Bunn coffee maker and three airpot servers which do a great job (you have to heat them up with hot water before putting the coffee in them, and they will hold temperature for 6 hours easily)..
Great info from everybody. I've had a convection oven before and honestly could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I used it, but I think that's mainly due to lack of knowledge on using it. We had propane cooking in the past as well, for both stove and oven. I prefer it for the stove but the oven takes a little getting used to. I totally agree on having 2 ovens. Have had that before too and it comes in handy a lot. Sink on the island, that's a good one too. I will have to remember that. Storage, storage and more storage - definitely!
 

Morticia

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I would like to have two ovens. I bake so much in the morning that my single kenmore electric oven is overloaded and both racks are usually full. Sometimes I am baking items that require different temperatures...for example...the scones might need to be at 400 degrees and something else is at 350 so having two ovens would alleviate this and also provide more room. I would also like to have a cook stop instead of the range set up I have now. Hardly ever use the microwave. Always use the Kitchen Aid mixer for cookie dough, use a blender for smoothies sometimes, 1 waring waffle maker, 1 BUNN coffee maker, 1 coffee grinder, extra freezer in the garage. Oh and I love my dishwasher..
Yes! A second oven would be helpful. I could use my oven and transport thru the house but then I still need to keep that item warm once it hits the inn kitchen. So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
 

muirford

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I would like to have two ovens. I bake so much in the morning that my single kenmore electric oven is overloaded and both racks are usually full. Sometimes I am baking items that require different temperatures...for example...the scones might need to be at 400 degrees and something else is at 350 so having two ovens would alleviate this and also provide more room. I would also like to have a cook stop instead of the range set up I have now. Hardly ever use the microwave. Always use the Kitchen Aid mixer for cookie dough, use a blender for smoothies sometimes, 1 waring waffle maker, 1 BUNN coffee maker, 1 coffee grinder, extra freezer in the garage. Oh and I love my dishwasher..
Yes! A second oven would be helpful. I could use my oven and transport thru the house but then I still need to keep that item warm once it hits the inn kitchen. So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
.
Bree said:
So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
We manage our menu the same way. That's why I can't do short order cooking. If it's a sausage day (at least 50% of the time), two burners are in use for browning the meat. If I have hot apple soup, that takes a big burner to keep warm. Can't have two pans of French toast and a pan of apple-rhubarb compote and a pan of sausage links in the oven (we cook them in the oven, then brown before serving) at the same time. One order for scrambled eggs gums up the whole works.
 

happyjacks

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I have two full size fridges and I can't imagine getting by with just one, especially when I'm doing dinners, too. I don't have a separate freezer, just the freezer compartment of each fridge. I don't have a space to put a stand-up freezer and the chest style simply doesn't work for me (a chest freezer is like a black hole: things go in but they don't come out).
My stove is an old Garland commercial beast and I love it. Runs on propane (no natural gas lines here) which is great for the 4 burners and side griddle. The oven is nice and wide so I can bake/roast a lot at once, but it's propane also. The best part of the stove is there's not an electrical component to it so when the power is out, it still works. I've had to cook more than one breakfast in a power outage!
I sometimes use a toaster oven for baking if I have just something small to do (ie 2 scones). I also use it for my chocolate souffles since my main oven doesn't have a window in the door.
I love my blender, of all things. It's got a 1hp motor so it can handle just about anything.
I have 2 waffle irons, 2 coffee makers, electric kettle, microwave (rarely used for guests), electric griddle for pancakes, food processors (2 sizes), KitchenAid stand mixer, and a bread machine that I use for making my dough but not baking.
One of my favourite tools is a digital kitchen scale. Much more accurate, plus quicker and less messy than volume measures. I've actually weighed the main ingredients for many of my go-to recipes so I can whip them together faster.
I'm a kitchen junkie, though. Even before buying the B&B, I had most of these toys tools except for the griddle, bread machine and extra coffee maker.
 

EmptyNest

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I have two full size fridges and I can't imagine getting by with just one, especially when I'm doing dinners, too. I don't have a separate freezer, just the freezer compartment of each fridge. I don't have a space to put a stand-up freezer and the chest style simply doesn't work for me (a chest freezer is like a black hole: things go in but they don't come out).
My stove is an old Garland commercial beast and I love it. Runs on propane (no natural gas lines here) which is great for the 4 burners and side griddle. The oven is nice and wide so I can bake/roast a lot at once, but it's propane also. The best part of the stove is there's not an electrical component to it so when the power is out, it still works. I've had to cook more than one breakfast in a power outage!
I sometimes use a toaster oven for baking if I have just something small to do (ie 2 scones). I also use it for my chocolate souffles since my main oven doesn't have a window in the door.
I love my blender, of all things. It's got a 1hp motor so it can handle just about anything.
I have 2 waffle irons, 2 coffee makers, electric kettle, microwave (rarely used for guests), electric griddle for pancakes, food processors (2 sizes), KitchenAid stand mixer, and a bread machine that I use for making my dough but not baking.
One of my favourite tools is a digital kitchen scale. Much more accurate, plus quicker and less messy than volume measures. I've actually weighed the main ingredients for many of my go-to recipes so I can whip them together faster.
I'm a kitchen junkie, though. Even before buying the B&B, I had most of these toys tools except for the griddle, bread machine and extra coffee maker..
See I am a kitchen junkie as well. Being a home economist...I always went to our conferences and got great deals on every new small appliance out there!! NOw...I am trying to get rid of most of it. My niece's new apartment kitchen was filled entirely by the cast offs I no longer needed when we closed the B & B. And I still have tons of stuff I need to get rid of. I unloaded (donated:) about 200 cookbooks at the library last week and still have shelves more to go!!!
 

SweetiePie

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I'm surprised that everyone wants another oven, yet no one uses their convection oven. I love mine, it's a Hamilton Beach and very simple to use. I replaced the microwave with it and now use that to heat my hot towels.
 

JBloggs

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From my kitchen to yours - here is how weI operate - my must haves and have nots:
  • My waffle makers rarely make an appearance. Why? I will be honest, cleaning them. Making waffles one at a time and keeping them warm and crisp and then cleaning them. Doesn't work for me.
  • My geo foreman grill - knock out the fat - is used nearly every single day until I wear it out and have to go buy a new one (which I have done already). I cook all sausage in it, ham, you can even make french toast in it.
  • I had a second fridge, it was of little use in comparison to a second freezer. I brought the freezer in from our shop and gave away the second fridge - it was old and not energy conscious anyway. I have a small guest fridge for sodas, and guest use like for medicines, leftovers and their food.
  • I use our double oven every day as well. They are convection but I forget to use them that way.
  • I also have a griddle I use for pancakes and it works great, easy to clean and pack away in the cabinet. It heats up fast and cooks fast, I am not cooking over fire or additional heat in the spring and summer months.
  • Two percolators - larger size (you can make less if you want to). One is being used and the other is ready to go. This morning we had two seatings for 13 guests and used both of them twice - a houseful of coffee drinkers. Fast and efficient coffee grinder with diff settings for finer grounds vs coarse.
  • Carafes - decent carafes that keep the coffee HOT - preheat with hot water before use. I don't like plastic carafes, coffee in the am's is a special time of the day here, I want the presentation to be nice. Not over the top, not a 30 piece set, just relaxing, and nice. Carafes if someone wants to take it to their room or out on the property.
  • A microwave is essential. I use it often. This morning I used it to boil some water - the electric kettle in in the dining room, and needed the water for my sausage gravy. The cooktops were all being used, the oven had biscuits cooking.
  • I only use my toaster for the innkeepers, I don't serve toast. In 6 years I have served it once or maybe twice.
  • A dishwasher which s/b quiet.
  • Cookie sheets of all sizes.
 

JBloggs

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I have everything I need except one thing...The other thing we have tha is very useful I forgot to mention is an island that is moveable - it has cabinets and is my prep-cutting station and also layout area for plates. I can move it near the stove top or anywhere.
What I DO NOT HAVE and have lived without but would never live without if I had a choice is an EXHAUST VENT to the outside. Now these are completely illegal in most places to have a blower that blows the grease around the room or onto the kitchen ceiling - firefighters love these things!
The reason we do not have one as of yet is that the stovetop is in front of an old chimney so there is no way to vent one reasonably without redoing the entire layout of the kitchen. We could add one with a turn in it, which is not advisable and probably illegal also, it would be more of a grease trap/fire hazard. We also have an entire counter top section below the microwave that is an indoor grilling station which we never use - see "no exhaust vent above " to understand why. It has two electric burners also. We stick to the propane cook top.
 

JBloggs

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I would like to have two ovens. I bake so much in the morning that my single kenmore electric oven is overloaded and both racks are usually full. Sometimes I am baking items that require different temperatures...for example...the scones might need to be at 400 degrees and something else is at 350 so having two ovens would alleviate this and also provide more room. I would also like to have a cook stop instead of the range set up I have now. Hardly ever use the microwave. Always use the Kitchen Aid mixer for cookie dough, use a blender for smoothies sometimes, 1 waring waffle maker, 1 BUNN coffee maker, 1 coffee grinder, extra freezer in the garage. Oh and I love my dishwasher..
Yes! A second oven would be helpful. I could use my oven and transport thru the house but then I still need to keep that item warm once it hits the inn kitchen. So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
.
Bree said:
So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
We manage our menu the same way. That's why I can't do short order cooking. If it's a sausage day (at least 50% of the time), two burners are in use for browning the meat. If I have hot apple soup, that takes a big burner to keep warm. Can't have two pans of French toast and a pan of apple-rhubarb compote and a pan of sausage links in the oven (we cook them in the oven, then brown before serving) at the same time. One order for scrambled eggs gums up the whole works.
.
muirford said:
Bree said:
So we've decided that if there is an 'oven' entree there cannot be an 'oven' starter on the same day.
We manage our menu the same way. That's why I can't do short order cooking. If it's a sausage day (at least 50% of the time), two burners are in use for browning the meat. If I have hot apple soup, that takes a big burner to keep warm. Can't have two pans of French toast and a pan of apple-rhubarb compote and a pan of sausage links in the oven (we cook them in the oven, then brown before serving) at the same time. One order for scrambled eggs gums up the whole works.
geo foreman grill can also hold the meat on warm for you - it is an extension of our cooktop.
 

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