After belly flopping into the Chicago apartment classifieds the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a disturbing undercurrent: the “chef’s kitchen.” While this sounds very posh and all, it inevitably means two things. See if you can guess.
Is it the thoughtfully laid out floor plan, making everything easily accessible with minimum effort? Or a sink that easily accommodates all the dishes that predictably accompany cooking? Or a dedicated pantry space to properly store food staples? Or how about a space that makes the chef in question feel wanted instead of exiled to a hole?
Nope. A “chef’s kitchen” simply means granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Preferably new.
Now, I’m not arguing that the above kitchens aren’t nice looking. A couple of them are actually quite beautiful. And I really wouldn’t complain about cooking in them. What troubles me, however, is the way serious cooking is equated with granite and stainless, preferably new. As if good food couldn’t come from an outdated Formica topped kitchen with mismatched appliances.
I suppose it’s a side effect of the “foodie” movement. (And don’t even get me started on the word “foodie.” Or “chef” for that matter.) Food as an idea has become trendy. In many ways that’s a positive development. People who used to fill their grocery carts with boxes and cans are now filling it with vegetables. Or even forgoing the cart altogether in favor of a market basket. the people responsible for bringing us food deserve a little of the lime light. Food is beautiful, necessary, photogenic, and decidedly sensual.
It’s also just dinner. Good food doesn’t have a thing to do with granite and stainless. New or not. Any kitchen can be a chef’s kitchen. The only requirement is someone cooking in it.