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Great Kitchens: At Home with America's Top Chefs Paperback – October 1, 2001


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Great Kitchens: At Home with America's Top Chefs + Kitchen Ideas that Work: Creative Design Solutions for Your Home (Taunton's Ideas That Work) + House Beautiful Kitchens: Creating a Beautiful Kitchen of Your Own
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561585343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561585342
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 9.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If envy is an issue with which you struggle daily, you may want to avoid Great Kitchens, a lavishly illustrated walk-through of 26 fabulous kitchens in the homes of some of America's best chefs. This is a Taunton Press publication--the same people who bring us Fine Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, and Wooden Boat, among others--so rest assured the production values are high enough to raise the stakes for everyone else in the business.

The one thing all of these kitchens have in common is that they didn't start out this way. There are kitchens put into Victorian houses, 1920s farm houses, swim schools (no kidding: Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill in Los Angeles, and her architect husband, Josh Schweitzer, bought a small swim school and put home and kitchen where locker rooms and showers could once be found), old bars, upscale apartments, ancient stone houses. These are kitchens, then, that have been thought about by people who work with food, and know what they want at home.

Built-in wood-burning ovens and hearths seem to be a big deal. So, too, are custom wok stoves. Seattle chef Tom Douglas put his enormous prep island on industrial casters. He also put his herbs and spices into cans that attach to bar magnets on what would be wasted wall space. He chose the domestic version of an industrial stove because it is better insulated and doesn't heat up the kitchen. And like several chefs in the book, he swears by his commercial Hobart dishwasher with its 90-second cycle.

Great Kitchens is a multifunction book. You can leave it open on a coffee table as a piece of publishing art. You can use it to launch your daydreams. But most of all, you can use it to learn from the mistakes and successes of others, and gain insight from a lot of very practical information.

Most over-the-top built-in appliance? Terrance Brennan's bread-warming drawer. But in this book, it makes perfect sense. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Foodies will enjoy a voyeuristic thrill seeing, in this cookbook/home design hybrid, the kitchen of Cecilia Chang (founder of San Francisco's Mandarin restaurant as well as others) with its built-in wok, or the cooking oasis of Lidia Bastianich (Felidia, Becco and Frico Bar in New York City) with its etched-glass d?cor. The authors (food -aficionado Whitaker; architect Mahoney; and Jordan, editor of Professional Remodeler magazine) highlight 26 kitchens and include discussions with their owners on what they love about their homes and about cooking in general. The chef profiles tend to be predictable (it's no surprise, for example, that Alice Waters has a commitment to organic farming); the most interesting parts focus on what the chefs did to their kitchens and how they did itAand often what they wish they had done differently. When Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison (of Bacchanalia in Atlanta) moved from a tiny apartment in Manhattan to Atlanta, Ga., they reveled in the additional space and designed a 24-by-24-foot kitchen with a 22-foot ceiling, but they still regret not adding a second sink. On the other hand, the chefs' recipes, such as Crispy Vegetable Stir-Fry from Ken Hom and Smoked Chile Salsa from Mary Sue Milliken, feel tacked onAtheir contributors certainly expended more energy on their envy-inducing kitchens than on these recipes. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It has great ideas.
Karen L. Vandusen
I learned so many things from it about picking materials, lighting, fixtures, sinks, layouts, etc. that my remodeled kitchen will be better because of it.
Annette Walker
After reading this book, I realized that part of me wanted a kitchen that would impress others.
T. Wagner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book thinking that it would be just a sort of celebrity tour of the home kitchens of some well-known chefs, a great idea in itself, but more style than substance. Boy was I wrong. There's more meat to this book than in Julia Child's beef bourguignon. My wife and I have been planning to completely overhaul our kitchen for years now, and we've gone through dozens of kitchen books without finding much really useful design information. Well here it is. On our first sitting with Great Kitchens, we identified at least five great kitchen design ideas we will definitely incorporate into our new kitchen. I'm sure there are more, but I just can't seem to get the book out of my wife's hands.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Malloy on October 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally a book with some "meat and potatoes" content that is enhanced with beautiful photography and actual floorplans! Not just a book of pretty pictures that have little to do with actual cooking. These kitchens combine the best of design, performance and above all, personality. The written background is also fascinating and really gets into these chef's heads about their approaches to their own, personal kitchens. When's Book TWO?!!!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Karen L. Vandusen on February 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because we're planning to remodel the kitchen, I've looked at many kitchen design books. This is the best one! It has great ideas. It has floor plans. The featured chefs even talk about the mistakes they think they made when they designed their kitchens. These are grand kitchens. Even if you want to do something more modest, you'll appreciate the ideas in this book. We've all cooked in kitchens that are just plain badly designed. These kitchens were planned by people who really cook. If you don't have a kitchen remodel in your future, put this book on your coffee table. Everyone will enjoy looking at it.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I recently purchased this book. Having been interested in Kitchen Design for a number of years, I thought I would maybe find a nice cabinet style for my ideas file. I was wrong. I couldn't put this book down when I opened it. As other reviewers have mentioned, it features floorplans and beautiful pictures. I came away with plenty of new ideas to further develop the plan of my perfect kitchen.
From the grand workhorse kitchens of Perrier, Miller and Folse (my favorites) to the open living kitchens of McCarty and Dale, there are a vast array of kitchen styles and functions covered in this book. There are kitchens that use the Magic Triangle method, and those who use a restaurant-style function (Wet/Dry/Hot/Cold) layout, which I find more practical and was thrilled to see.
I would highly recommend this book to all people planning a kitchen, whatever the size. You are bound to get at least a dozen ideas to make your kitchen more space efficient, organized or just more beautiful!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Annette Walker on December 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is hands-down the best kitchen planning and design book I have seen. I learned so many things from it about picking materials, lighting, fixtures, sinks, layouts, etc. that my remodeled kitchen will be better because of it. I paged through endless books and magazines filled with lovely photos, but that lacked information or substance. This book stands out because it discusses pros and cons, budget tradeoffs made, the good decisions and "if-I-had-it-to-do-over-again" mistakes. These are kitchens put together by demanding professionals who won't tolerate (bad)or lightweight materials that are hard to clean. I learned many lessons about flooring, countertops, backsplashes and so on that were never touched upon by other books. Sure there are appliances to drool over, but there are also chefs who ran out of money during the remodel, or bought factory seconds tile to save money. Real-life issues and lessons.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Catherine on January 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I both love to cook and we're looking at remodeling our kitchen. This book has great inspiration on how to think about your kitchen space and how you use it. It's got some great ideas on how to think about your kitchen arrangement and storage options from people who KNOW what can get irritating very quickly. The downside of this book is that these kitchens were obviously done on budgets that most of us would never dream of -- we're not going to be installing professional/commercial grade appliances, and we're not going to have granite countertops or custom-made cabinetry. However, just to read how professional chefs planned out their own kitchens to make their lives easier, and their ideas on storage and display make this book well worth while.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By i4abuy on August 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book about kitchen design. It shows the kitchens of 26 famous and near-famous (or once-famous) chefs. Its three authors adopted a template for their interviews so that, after a few, they all start to sound alike. The formula: (1) the design challenge and how the chef solved it; (2) the space and the appliances; (3) what the chef would have done differently; (4) the chef's culinary background and influences; (5) the chef's restaurant(s). I am trying to design a kitchen and found (1)-(3), particularly (1), to be helpful. I skipped (4) and (5) and my hypothesis is that they are only in the book so the authors could grab some comp meals at some very expensive restaurants. Oddly, there is also a mish-mash collection of each chef's "favorite home recipe." Granola, anyone?

Strengths - Three things stand out:

1. The design process. These chefs are inventive people with great attention to detail. There is much value in reading about their visions and how they turned them into kitchen designs. This may be the hardest step, and it is helpful to see how creative people take it.
2. Floor plans. Too few kitchen design books provide them. They are helpful both to see the working space layout and to understand how the photos interrelate.
3. What to do differently. Sometimes you can only learn from mistakes and kitchen design mistakes are costly. Unfortunately some of these are very idiosyncratic: "I am a tall man and I should have placed the stove hood higher."

Annoyances

1. Impractical. Most of these kitchens were constructed without a budget. The chefs are affluent people who use their kitchens for classes and television productions, so they are financed by taxpayers in the form of deductions.
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