To Marissa Hardie, it was as clear as a mason jar: You don't launch a private cooking class business in a cramped 1980s kitchen. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and an early line cook at the lengendary Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, Hardie knew her Chappaqua kitchen just wouldn't inspire groups of foodies eager to learn techniques for the perfect brioche.
She called Annmarie McCarthy—principal, with husband Mark LePage, of Fivecat Studio Architecture in nearby Pleasantville—and handed them an inventory of her kitchen equipment. "It was pages and pages," recalls McCarthy, whose firm specializes in residential design.
The clincher? It all had to fit into 320 square feet.
What makes this a cook's kitchen? The equipment, which includes a 72-inch, 6-burner BlueStar range with grill and griddle, two dishwashers (Bosch and Fisher & Paykel), a Sub-Zero double refrigerator, a Liebherr beverage cooler, a Miele microwave-convection speed oven, a Miele built-in coffee-maker, and a Thermador warming drawer.
The unusual countertop appliance garages are replaced by cabinets sporting mechanisms that rise to the occasion when Hardie is in need of heavy or bulky appliances like her Cuisinart or KitchenAid stand mixer. Shelves mounted on special hardware pull up and out of the island cabinetry and lock into place at counter height.
Rather than have a lot of canisters taking up valuable counter space, Hardie asked the designers to create drawers precisely measured to fit commercial stainless steel containers (available from restaurant supply stores) for her many flours, rices, grains, and other dry goods. When she's done, she just slips them back into place on a sectioned rack and slides the drawer shut.
"Every square inch of space was designed for Hardie and the way she cooks," says McCarthy. Since the chef wanted the clipboards and laminated recipe cards she uses in her classes close at hand, a shallow space between the refrigerator and wall became an open cabinet with racks for hanging them from simple S-hooks.