Gourmet-Style Kitchens and Informal Dining Designs Seen
What and how American homeowners eat will change significantly over
the next 50 years, and some of that change has already begun.
That’s the view of at least two cooking experts who also predict
that changing eating habits, in turn, will affect how kitchens and
kitchen products are ultimately designed, manufactured and
“Many home cooks will achieve chef-level proficiency,” predicts
Art Siemering, managing director of the International Food
Futurists, and publisher of The Food Channel Trendwire newsletter.
“Pro-Am competitions, with major cash or merchandise prizes, will
become prime entertainment,” Siemering notes. “Renowned chefs will
regularly make virtual guest appearances in the demonstration
kitchens of specialty food stores.”
Kitchen and bath retail showrooms will be a natural venue for
this type of guest chef, Siemering and others suggest, noting that
we’ve already seen signs that this may be coming to pass. One of
the highest-rated shows on cable’s Food Network, for example, is
The Iron Chef, a cooking competition that can only be described as
“Emeril meets Monday Night Football.” A similar type of cooking
competition, with local celebrity judges, would probably make an
excellent traffic-builder for a showroom.
The trend toward chef-level proficiency among a growing number
of homeowners will also mean that gourmet touches in design will
become even more popular than they are now with demand rising for
double sinks, restaurant-style ranges, potfiller faucets, and
cooktops with special oversized burners to power pasta pots or
woks. Built-in grills, deep-fryers, steamers and similar products
would also no doubt gain in popularity if the trend continues.
Siemering also sees a change in dining habits, which he feels
will impact kitchen design. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner
differences will tend to fade,” he observes. “Many of us will eat
our biggest meal at the beginning of the day. Individual mealtimes
will be infinitely flexible.”
This suggests that more formal dining areas of the home might be
out, while more informal eating areas, like counters and nooks,
will gain in popularity. In addition, the use of two dishwashers
may become more common. Some of the consumers already requesting
this feature use one unit for clean dish storage and the other for
dirtied dishes. When the “dirty” dishwasher is full, the consumer
starts it up and the two appliances reverse roles.
Another food futurist, Brian J. Ford, suggests that as consumers
become more aware of the amount of bacteria that is on their food,
they will increasingly ask kitchen designers for a separate sink
basin just for hand-washing, and a faucet dispensing a weak bleach
solution to fill it.
Ford also suggests that, in the future, consumers will be able
to “instruct” a kitchen to heat food, run the bath, or start an
appliance by mobile phone or palm-sized data device.
However, he warns that kitchens may disappear from some homes
altogether in the future, as some consumers will have no desire to
cook at all.
“Many modern homes already have nowhere to eat, for residents
usually snack in front of the television,” Ford comments.