If your island (and budget) is big enough to handle one, a cooktop allows the chef to survey the room rather than face a wall. Pros recommend a minimum of 12 inches on the sides and 9 inches behind the top. For electric units, you'll need
a pro to install a dedicated 240-volt circuit; for gas models, a plumber can install the supply line. If you want the benefits of gas—quick adjustments, high power—with the simplicity of an electric hookup, go with an induction cooktop. Whichever type of top you choose, pair it with a vent to handle smoke, steam, and odors. Choose either the more effective overhead canopy, which vents up through the ceiling, or the less obtrusive downdraft vent, which sends smoke through the floor. Both options must move at least 150 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for each linear foot of cooktop. Also, make sure there's a way to run the ductwork outside with few bends and within the maximum distance specified by the manufacturer.