The kitchen is the hub of the home and according to singer/songwriter MIKA it is a place where memories are made. Speaking on the BBC’s One Show recently, MIKA reminisced with top chef Michele Roux Jr about happy times in the kitchen with his family.
Most of us can recall pivotal moments in our lives that happened in our family kitchens - as young children home baking and making a huge mess, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, Sunday lunches and family gatherings.
Some controversy surrounded this charming BBC 2 documentary series about how one British family were taken on a time travelling adventure to discover how the way we eat and live has changed since the 1950’s. The controversy, mainly on Twitter, surrounded how hard it was for the lady of the house to use a manual tin opener, obviously a first time experience for her and her family - frankly I thought it was hilarious and I believe that anyone taken back 60 years and given the basic tools they had to use then would have found it a challenge.
‘The Kitchen’ - the new TV series on Monday nights on BBC 2 is nothing to do with kitchen interiors, the latest style of appliances, how to design your dream kitchen or how big your new open plan kitchen living area could be - but more about how families live and come together in the kitchen and the importance of this central room within family life and culture.
It has been described by the Radio Times as ‘Gogglebox’ with cutlery that shows the British class system in miniature. While the Independent calls it ‘a delightful slice of British life.’
It gives us a view of the different attitudes to food, how and when and where we eat it. Plus it gives us all a fly on the wall view of their kitchens - newly fitted, older traditional kitchens, Shaker style and purely practical spaces for the families to come together to cook, eat, discuss and sometimes argue. The family with six children named after plants have a Shaker style kitchen complete with central island with basket storage underneath. While the Harrar family from Staffordshire have a very traditional kitchen with a beamed ceiling and a family from Cardiff seem to favour the more contemporary look. A Cheltenham couple have a light, bright painted kitchen where their young family meet with all their various pets.
The series clearly shows just how important the kitchen is in each home - the very heart of the home and sometimes the only place where all the family will gather at one time. It makes for fascinating viewing and is well worth watching.
The days when extractor fans were a necessity to be hidden away are long gone. Now they are functional appliances that have become the new striking feature of the kitchen, with their almost sculptural form either suspended from the centre of the ceiling above an independent island, or creating an eye-catching feature angled on a wall in black or white glass.
We have installed some stunning extractors onto recent projects including a Franke Active ‘swing’ hood into one of our Rotpunkt contemporary German kitchens that really enhances the look of the whole kitchen as it is neatly angled above one of our Mercury ranges.
The ever rising cost of our utility bills means we are all looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy we use. Selecting the very best, energy-efficient appliances for customers is high on the list of Beau-Port’s priorities. Mark Johnson and his team are continually looking for the best latest technologies to incorporate into their kitchen designs.
After extensive research across the appliance market, Mark recognised that the intelligent technologies incorporated into the new Siemens studioLine range, would give Beau-Port clients the largest range of energy efficient benefits. The studioLine hobs include the innovative full surface induction technology, which allows pans to be positioned anywhere on the hob. This state of the art automatic pan recognition means that only the area of the hob in contact with the pan is heated - perfect for all those odd-shaped, long and rectangular shaped pots and pans to benefit from even heating and saving on energy costs.
The Siemens studioLine hobs displays the exact position, size and shape of each pan immediately upon contact with the hob on the colour TFT touch screen. The temperature of each pan is controlled separately, giving total and precise control over the hob.
Siemens have thought of everything, including how easy the hob is to keep clean, right down to the magnetic disc controls that are easy to remove for cleaning.
Beau-Port now sells and installs a range of Siemens studioLine products including these intelligent hobs and also the very latest oven technologies featuring 3D hotAir, temperature probes and more - look out for our follow-up blog on these amazing ovens or come and visit the showroom to see the latest cooking innovations!
I am a self-confessed cookery programme addict. Yes I’ve said it now and have to confess all of my addictions, with James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen on the top of my list. It is my Saturday morning pleasure – to sit and watch so many of his top chef guests making a right mess during the Omelette Challenge, producing variations of scrambled eggs in the show’s gorgeous white new kitchen.
As someone who works for a kitchens an interiors business I have also become obsessed with the kitchens that have been installed on the sets of these TV programmes, down to actually being able to identify one of the kitchen locations, in a beautiful country house, used in the filming of the Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry Master Class series – see my previous blog posted on April 11th.
The ultra-smooth Mr Martin has excellent taste and has had a beautiful contemporary, mainly white kitchen installed on the Saturday Kitchen set that is similar to one that we have in our Beau-Port showroom, that is proving to be very popular. Mark commented that so many people are now looking to have white contemporary styled kitchens installed and I wonder if this has been partly influenced by the choice of kitchens used in the many cookery programmes.
Paul Hollywood’s latest show ‘Pies and Puds’, is also filmed in a white kitchen – a more contemporary style to the ‘Shaker’ style of the kitchens in the hugely popular ‘Great British Bake Off’.
So do any of you out there reading these blogs have a favoured cookery programme kitchen? We’d love to hear about the ones you like the most – so do leave a comment.
There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh baking to make us feel all warm and nurtured. It fills the house not only with its delightful aroma but it also fills our minds and hearts with great thoughts and feelings of nostalgia - times gone past of special things baked by our mothers with their never to be forgotten flavours, helping us to relive some of the best times of our lives.
So we must thank The Great British Bake Off for helping to encourage us back into our kitchens and start baking again. The days of picking up a ready-made cake may be numbered. Some people may consider cakes to be unhealthy – it all depends on how many you eat! But some of the most wonderful health giving benefits of baking can include the meditative effect of mixing ingredients together, focusing on the creativity of decorating, the joys of sharing your baking and of course eating your freshly baked cakes, breads and biscuits and knowing exactly what has gone into them.
No doubt Mr Hollywood’s deliciously Paul Newman like eyes have had something to do with the success of the series, as has the extraordinary experience, wisdom and talent of the lovely Mary Berry – but the people who really shine in this popular series are the contestants - just a bunch of ordinary people who have a passion for baking and sharing their food with friends and family. It has encouraged us to get out our baking bowls and stand in our kitchens creating something special to perhaps take into work or school, invite friends around or take as a gift to cheer someone up.
Baking makes you realise just how important your kitchen is and how enjoyable it is to spend time there just creating something that everyone will appreciate and enjoy. Our kitchens have become culinary centres of excellence with the produce comforting and nurturing all those we love.
We have a number of full-scale, fully operational kitchens here at Beau-Port including our new AGA showroom kitchen with the latest Total Control AGA and I can’t wait to try out my blueberry muffin recipe in that and fill the whole place with that lovely aroma of fresh baking!