We all love to see how great cooks work at home, and Stuff has featured several of these over the years. This week we bring you some of the most appealing chef kitchens, and we have included one kitchen from a small cooking school, which has plenty of inspirational features.
There’s also a kitchen inspired by the kitchen of one of New Zealand’s leading chefs, Josh Emett. It is owned by a couple who are both serious cooks, and “not short of a gadget or ten”.
MasterChef NZ judge Michael P Dearth whips up a storm
Michael P. Dearth doesn’t call himself a chef, but he owns two of Auckland’s best restaurants, The Grove and Baduzzi. He’s a whizz in the kitchen, and he does a mean barbecue.
His kitchen in the family’s former state house in Point Chevalier, Auckland is within an addition designed by architect Matt Wilson.
“The kitchen is perfect,” Dearth says. “The marble island benchtop was a great find – it took a while, but we finally found the slab at Italian Stone. It literally called us, and it’s been hammered.
“I do love cooking for the family and friends. My mother and father are both amazing cooks – we were a big family who sat around the table laughing, and we always had great, great food.”
While the extra-large island is the hero of the kitchen, Dearth has a large pantry, where pride of place goes to his Berkel meat slicer. “It’s great to slice ribbons of pork loin, and to make beef carpaccio.”
Corporate chef Hercules Noble at home
At just 27, Aucklander Hercules Noble is New Zealand’s answer to a young Jamie Oliver. He’s carving out a career catering for corporate clients and private dinner parties, working from an 1899 terraced house in Parnell owned by his parents.
The kitchen is distinguished by its bold yellow cabinetry, blue-green walls and yellow chandelier. Noble’s food prep happens on a table, which he has transformed into an island by adding elevated boards to make it the perfect height.
He describes the kitchen as “ideal”, now that he has it how he wants it. All his cooking is done on a traditional black Aga range with multiple ovens.
Noble cooks an average of two to three dinner parties a week. He says an average job is 10 people and three courses, “which I can do by myself very comfortably”, or 50 people with canapés.
MasterChef NZ judge and My Food Bag co-founder Nadia Lim in her farmhouse kitchen
Nadia Lim and husband Carlos Bagrie moved into a rundown old farmhouse, and are busy re-establishing Royalburn Station in Central Otago. Their latest TV series Nadia’s Farm screened last October.
The couple have renovated the house, which they estimate was built in the 1890s.
“There were rats nests in the floor and missing windows,” Bagrie says. “It was so bad, Nadia hadn’t even been to see it before we bought it.”
“I think he was a bit scared to show me,” Lim admits. “He probably thought I might have curtailed the whole thing, but I wouldn’t have done that.”
The large farm kitchen was first introduced to viewers in Nadia’s Comfort Kitchen TV series, filmed by Bagrie during lockdown. There we got to see how convenient it is for an expert chef with a young family.
It takes the form of an extra-large U-shape with a large chopping block-style table in the centre. But most of the food prep takes place on the peninsula where Lim is invariably joined by one of her childen – Bodhi, River and baby Arlo who arrived earlier this year. It is not unusual to see lambs in the kitchen in spring.
Lim cooks on a freestanding oven and keeps her small appliances on the benchtop right at hand. Open shelving also allows her to keep frequently used items within easy reach.
There was no stopping these orphaned lambs who set out to explore Nadia’s kitchen.
None of the materials removed from the house was wasted – all the old iron was beaten and flattened and has been used in the couple’s Royalburn Farm Store in Arrowtown. And the original kitchen door is now the door to the farm shop.
Garry Hull of Waimatuku near Riverton, former owner of Paddock 186, has ‘front and back’ kitchens
Garry Hull had the opportunity to design the perfect kitchen when his original home burned to the ground in a disastrous fire. NKBA kitchen designer Margaret Young said the new build was like the phoenix rising from the ashes. “The budget was high, and he was able to get the house and the kitchen exactly as he wanted it, so it would work for his catering business.”
Hull opted for two kitchens – a sleek, contemporary front kitchen that would not look out of place in a city penthouse, and a full commercial kitchen behind.
Out front, white-lacquered cabinets with two-toned black and white granite tops appear to float above the floor, thanks to deeply recessed toekicks and LED lighting, while a decorative slumped glass splashback can be illuminated in any colour.
Two identical Gaggenau ovens bookend the splashback, with door handles positioned symmetrically for ease of use.
In the rear kitchen there are long steel benchtops and commercial-grade appliances. The large fridge-freezer is positioned between the two kitchens, so it can be reached easily from both spaces.
Two Raw Sisters – another double act
This new kitchen was designed for Two Raw Sisters, a local cooking school run by Rosa and Margo Flanagan, who have created the first plant-based cooking school in the Southern Hemisphere.
They had a clear brief for their new kitchen, which is all about educating, influencing and inspiring clients about the importance of plant-based cooking.
Multi award-winning designer Davinia Sutton of Christchurch says the kitchen needed to be uncluttered and chic, with an urban edge. “And it had to incorporate hardy, bold materials. They also requested flexible demonstration zones, as well as an area that was separate from the main body of the culinary experience kitchen – a place where they could “make lots of mess” for demonstration purposes.”
Based on the concept of a “front and rear kitchen”, it is created around a central working island, with a separate demonstration island, and a prep-and-wash zone to the side.
The front zone serves the day-to-day needs of a functional demonstration kitchen. This island, boasts a prep area, fresh-and-dry pantry and a cooking zone that allows interaction and connection with the clientele.
The wash zone is placed along the mid-section wall (side on), allowing clean-up and prep to be slightly removed from focus. The large central island provides clients with their own culinary kitchen work top, with additional prep zones, appliances and storage.
Two home chefs inspired by Josh Emett’s kitchen
Lisa and Paul Courtney moved into their Mt Eden villa the night before the first lockdown in 2020, so they had plenty of time to work out how they would like their new kitchen to look and function.
And it was celebrity chef Josh Emett and his wife Helen’s kitchen that turned the couple’s heads, and got them thinking about high-end kitchen company Matisse.
“We spotted Josh and Helen’s stunning kitchen in Viva and were immediately drawn to it,” Lisa Courtney says. “I think seeing it fully completed really helped…samples aren’t my friend. It was the natural warm tones, the simple clean lines and functional family friendliness that appealed.”
Their kitchen from the Arrital range (by Italian architect Franco Druisso) was designed by the Matisse Kitchen design team in consultation with Yvette Collins.
“It was still well over our original budget but well worth it – I joke it’s the baby cousin of Josh’s kitchen,” says Lisa Courtney.
In terms of design, the family needed a place for everything without cluttered drawers or cupboards (except for the “must-have junk drawer”). “We’re a family that loves to cook and bake, so we’re not short of a gadget or ten,” Courtney says. “The kitchen needed to be seamless, integrated and well-thought-out – from the appliances to the tapware.”
To achieve this, there is an on-bench cupboard to house all the high-use appliances, such as the toaster and coffee machine. “Installing a beautiful bronzed mirror backsplash makes that little nook sing. Everything is accessible but hidden.”
Other special features include a 30mm Napoleon Perlato marble benchtop and a bar zone with the same marble.
Take a look at the best New Zealand kitchens and bathrooms for 2022 – these are the inspiring award winners.
- After many twists over 25 years, a furniture store owner in the west metro decides to close
- Antique furniture is new again: Stylish, green and available | Home & Garden
- Home furnishings and furniture stores decline in tough month for retail
- Family-Owned Furniture Store Gives Customers a Chance to Golf With SYNLawn Putting Green
- Save hundreds on patio & outdoor