MasterChef Australia is regularly topping the ratings, The Great Australian Bake Off is dishing up huge serves of Maggie Beer. And chef Gordon Ramsay is shouting at everyone from jail inmates to rubbish restaurateurs.
Suddenly it seems as though Australia is obsessed with cooking.
“We really are,” Degabriele Kitchens’ Sydney showroom manager and kitchen designer Jacqui Carroll says. “I think it’s got a lot to do with the reality-TV cooking shows, but it’s also to do with all the beautiful ingredients you can buy now and the incredible range of wonderful appliances available.”
It’s certainly little wonder that kitchens are so often paramount when it comes to selling property.
A survey by the Real Estate Buyers Association of Australia about buyers’ wish-lists found the main item was open-plan living areas so people could chat while cooking, and second was walk-in and butlers’ pantries.
EPS Property Search’s Patrick Bright says a kitchen can often be the make-or-break factor when deciding to buy. “There’s no question how important the kitchen is,” Bright says.
“If a kitchen is in the wrong location in the house, that can be expensive and sometimes impossible to change. It needs to have connectivity with the living areas and preferably a view of the backyard.”
Its importance still seems to be growing. Market researchers McCrindle surveyed 1005 Australian grocery shoppers to report that we’re cooking more often ourselves, too, with 74 per cent of Australians preparing five or more of their seven weekly dinners at home.
We also value creating meals from scratch, with 61 per cent of weeknight meals created with raw ingredients.
Ten years ago, developers in Sydney were talking about creating apartments with kitchenettes or abandoning kitchens as people were more into the cafe culture. “But then everything changed,” principal Mark McCrindle says.
“Affordability became a challenge; people wanted to eat more healthily … there was more availability of items to assemble to cook, such as through HelloFresh, more grocery shops and supermarkets around, and popular culture with the cooking shows.
Also, social media created more kudos around people making meals.”
Kids are cooking more and “sharing food is a good opportunity to get together to connect more and teach children emotional literacy”, Sydney Child Psychology Centre psychologist Kim Shortridge says.
Kitchen design is all about openness, flow and balance, Carroll says. Storage areas have to be close to where it will be prepared and cooked, with enough space to plate up.
“As for appliances, induction cooktops are very popular, as are combination ovens, which can be an oven and a microwave, or an oven and a steam oven, and integrated appliances behind panels that are the same as the rest of the kitchen.”
Kitchen spotlight: Birchgrove serves up the goods
Gazing out at the water while you wash the dishes … could any kitchen be more perfect than the one at 106 Louisa Road, Birchgrove?
After a complete, no-expense-spared renovation, the north-facing three-level home on the waterfront has sweeping views and is so close to the water “that you could just throw a fishing line in from the verandah,” Cobden & Hayson agent Matthew Hayson says.
That view would make washing up bearable on weeknights. Photo: Supplied
But it’s the kitchen that’s a real stunner. ”It has… a full double oven, with both induction and gas and a steamer; the Gaggenau appliances are all high end and there’s a double-size Leibherr fridge.”
Hayson has given the property a $6.3 million price guide and is selling by private treaty.