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Kitchen Inspiration from an Iron Chef

Iron Chef Michael Symon gives This Old House host Kevin O’Connor a tour of his commercial and home kitchens, and shares his insights on kitchen layout and design.


  1. Some restaurants have a chef’s table positioned very close to an open-plan kitchen. It allows patrons to interact with the chefs and is similar to an island in a home kitchen.
  2. Kitchens should be designed to eliminate wasted movement. All key components—stove, refrigerator, sink, prep counter—must be in close proximity to one another.
  3. Compact coolers or refrigerated drawers provide a convenient place to keep cooking ingredients.
  4. Pots and pans should be within easy reach of the stove.
  5. If necessary, remove walls to open up your kitchen to the adjoining dining room.
  6. Mock up base cabinets and island to get a sense of the workspace and traffic flow.
  7. If possible, include space for a 60-inch range with French-top cooking surface.
  8. Install refrigerated drawers in the island for keeping precut and prepped cooking ingredients.
  9. Hang pots and pans on a nearby slat wall.
  10. Choose kitchen cabinets that reflect the architectural style of your home.
  11. Carrara marble is a traditional countertop material found in European kitchens.
  12. If you’re considering marble counters, be aware that marble is relatively soft and stains easily. Be sure to treat it with a penetrating sealer.