In this final installment in our series on the Future of Kitchens, eieihome.com is focusing on functionality and food. We’re thinking about how kitchens will perform, how we will prepare food, and what types of food we will likely eat. For a deeper understanding on this subject matter, we’ve enlisted the help of experts from Kohler Canada, Breville, and our own resident food and nutrition expert —Andy DeSantis, RD MPH.
The Future of Kitchen Functionality
Convenience showed up as a common thread in our previous installments on The Future of Kitchens, where we focused on Kitchen Technology and Kitchen Design. This is no different when it comes to the topic of Kitchen Functionality. Convenience and accessibility will undoubtedly remain the two most important requirements in any future kitchen, large or small.
“Kitchens will continue to be a hub for eating, socializing and entertaining and we anticipate that open-concept design will be a prominent trend for years to come,” says Donna Church, Marketing and Communications Manager of Kohler Canada.
With this continuing trend of the open concept kitchen, the need for kitchens to perform multiple functions will remain a priority. This means equipping them with fixtures and conveniences that empower homeowners to make better use of the space.
The experts at Kohler expect that the same tools found in professional settings will be popular amongst homeowners to help increase overall functionality and efficiency in the kitchen. They are also committed to designing products that prioritize accessibility for all.
“[…] We have spent time understanding how our customers use their living spaces over the years,” Church explains. “As a result, Kohler has developed a range of universal products that integrate seamlessly into the home, providing sophisticated design and functionality.”
Products like Kohler’s Tournant® semi-professional kitchen sink faucet allows at-home chefs to speed through a range of tasks – from prep to cleanup, while their Sensate® touchless kitchen faucet with 15-1/2″ pull-down spout helps eliminate a potentially frustrating situation for someone with limited hand movement or arthritis.
The Future of Cooking and Eating
While it might not be immediately evident that a change in dietary preferences or cooking habits will have an impact on kitchen design and functionality, they most certainly will. The combination of shrinking kitchen sizes, busier schedules and a desire for healthier, homemade meals means that innovation is essential for the efficient completion of prep, cooking and cleanup tasks.
Alternative Cooking Methods
When home cooking meets smaller kitchens and busier schedule, the need for improved efficiency increases. Therefore, we’ve noticed a rise in alternative cooking methods and technologies. For example, a home chef who enjoys preparing meals from scratch for the family, might not do so on a daily basis. Rather, they may subscribe to the “batch and freeze” cooking trend.
Batch and freeze cooking in done in a day or over a weekend. Several meals are prepared at once and then packaged for freezing. When it’s time to eat, these meals are either finished or completely reheated via oven or slow cooker. In households that cook in this manor, ample prep space, a larger freezer and efficient cleaning capabilities are a high priority.
Multi-function, high-performance countertop appliances are also becoming essential tools for the busy, space-starved home chef. Through talking with the Canadian experts at Breville we were introduced to appliances like the Fast Slow Pro™ —a combination slow cooker/pressure cooker, as well as their Smart Oven™ line of countertop ovens that can make toast, bake cookies and roast a 14lb turkey. These appliances provide advanced functionality with a reduced countertop footprint.
As countertop ovens, electric skillets, woks, and induction hotplates become increasingly advanced, it could mean that some future kitchens may shun full-size ranges altogether.
The returning interest in daily, home cooking isn’t the only trend taking Canadian kitchens by storm. Food arts, such as baking, canning, and home brewing are also making a big comeback. A conversation with Breville revealed an increase in things like home canning and craft coffee making, while our resident dietician, Andy DeSantis noted a definite return to home baking … but with a twist.
“There is a growing body of recipe bloggers out there who are re-creating classic recipes using healthier ingredients,” says DeSantis. “[Creating] healthier versions of classic recipes is one of the top nutrition trends out there!”
In addition to making these foods at home, Canadians are also going a step further and milling their own grains, or making nut butters at home, due in part to dietary restrictions or simply out of an effort to be more hands-on in all aspects of the foods they are feeding their families.
The trend of eating local, farm-to-table will not be going anywhere in the near future. In fact, it’s become increasingly popular among Canadian households. Not only are we embracing locally-sourced produce, but fish and meats as well. Families are embracing community-shared agriculture, and purchasing baskets of produce or meat shares from their local farms. That is, if they’re eating meat at all.
“Coming from the nutrition perspective, one of the biggest dietary trends that I’ve observed is the increased use of plant-based protein sources in the kitchen,” DeSantis tells us. “There is a great appreciation growing for all the different things that people can do with tofu and legumes such as tofu scrambles and lentil burgers.”
With people consuming more beans and legumes, it further increases the need for high-performance countertop appliances, such as pressure cookers and slow cookers. These appliances remove the need to babysit a pot that needs to boil on a stove for several hours, thereby allowing the home cook to take on other tasks or leave the house altogether. Healthier eating made easier. It’s a trend that everyone can feel good about embracing.
While the Canadian kitchen of the next five years may be shrinking in newer homes, it is also poised to become more efficient. Advancing technologies and a continuing commitment to accessibility will ensure that everyone can cook or enjoy a meal at home, whether home is a 250-square foot tiny home, a 2500+ square foot suburban abode, or anything else.
eieihome.com is Canada’s most reliable, up-to-date resource for home renovation, interior décor, and home maintenance. Be sure to browse our extensive library of articles or connect with a local home improvement professional through our listing.