LWK London were recently very fortunate in spending time with the ‘Nation’s Favourite French chef’, Jean-Christophe Novelli. As a professional chef Jean-Christophe knows the necessity of a kitchen design that will meet all of a user’s needs and facilitate the cooking experience. But this is just as important within a domestic kitchen, so during his visit we were keen to ask Jean-Christophe what aspects of kitchen design he considers most valuable:
LWK: Jean-Christophe Novelli, you’re a chef by profession, but outside of work who does most of the cooking for yourself and your family? Is it still you?
Yes I do Jen. Obviously it is very, very important as a professional chef that I can also look after the people I love, and have a way to try to socialise and have a good time.
LWK: Jean-Christophe, if you were planning a kitchen for your own home what would be the most important features or design elements for you to include within it?
I think what would be the most important part or the most important feature for me if I had to design a kitchen again will be for sure the space and the lighting. And also a good top.
Well I can’t work with wood, or plastic, or Formica. I like old granite or marble. I think this is so important for me. I’m very fortunate because in my cookery school, and also in my home, I’ve got an amazing range of marble & granite which is from Chiltern marble which I have worked very well with for years and years. They supply me something which is very hygienic, things I can work on; I can make my caramel and my chocolates on it. The fact that the marble and granite are actually a little bit colder than the room temperature means I can do a lot of things.
Also the most important thing is to clean. I’ve got a beautiful amazing black worktop which is so important to be clean and look good with my stove, which is a very yellow colour of sunshine. Therefore when you walk into the place this is all an amazing impact.
For me, even so, when I started 45 years ago, I don’t need too much equipment. I mean it’s nice to see the improvement and the sophistication of the equipment, technology and so on, but I am quite happy with less, if I have to. If I have got more, that’s fantastic.
LWK: Well there’s less cleaning and more storage space that way?
That’s right but I would much prefer to compromise on the quality of equipment. If I have to I would choose these of course, but not compromise on the space and the lighting, and also on the marble or granite top. It’s very important because I like to work fast and I like doing a lot of things. I enjoy cooking but I don’t spend hours and hours and hours. That’s why I can cook everyday for my family cause it’s quick for us, you know, us chefs …I see what we’ve got in the fridge and then I just knock up something different from the day before whilst trying to keep together the 5 vegetable & fruits portions.
LWK: We understand you’re a strong advocate of healthy cooking and eating?
Yes, and I try not to use salt at all. I try to reduce saturated fats, and of course not use too much sugar. Therefore when you look back it’s not that much, if you actually keep this in moderation. There’s a lot going on. You can buy good produce and this will deliver everything you want, all the nutrition, the vitamins and so on. Before basically, it is Bing Bang Boom, job done, just before they need to sit down and it’s just great; it’s just fantastic. Then clean everything up and that’s it.
LWK: Do you have a favourite gadget, appliance or feature of your kitchen that you just wouldn’t be able to work without?
Yes of course but I get bored quick. As long as something lets me do a job but it doesn’t have to be something I would sleep with. You know, I don’t sleep with my knives, or my rolling pins or my saucepans.
(LWK: Glad to hear it!)
What I’m saying is I don’t get fanatical or materialistic. I like things very consistent, very practical. And also I don’t care necessarily if they look good; I don’t care about that. But I intend to have good knives always, which I have. They are nice and sharp, and clean; very important. They don’t have anything on the handle too. It’s just a nice and neat design. And I have some amazing saucepans from Gastrolux which I use at the cookery school. Mainly all my chefs do. And they’re quick, hygienic; they can take the heat, and so on. And also they allow me not to use too much oil in my cooking, and so help if I can change my ways and try to be as healthy as possible.
LWK: We know they are increasingly popular but when you were last here you said the Induction hob wasn’t your preferred choice of hob to cook on….
LWK: ….Yes, so when you’re cooking now is that still the case?…. I wanted to know if your opinion has changed?
I think you’ve got me now! Yes. How many years ago was this?
LWK: It was September 2010 when we last saw you.
That’s gone fast. Yes, I think since that time I have actually managed to fly over the time and realise, yes, effectively it is good, efficient and also an advantage to have induction for the reasons such as I’ve got kids, you know?… It’s less dangerous. You turn your back and they’re there, they touch things, I mean they’re under 5 years old therefore clearly… But It’s not just that. I think having induction is good, and a benefit of the use of the induction is if you’ve got the wide pans, and now I’ve got the pans for that. This is very true.
I was brought up cooking on gas and I have got my connection with the gas for the timing, you know, how you get your rate, how you anticipate your movements and so on. But induction is a completely different step in the situation. Now, and I know you have that here, (Jean-Christophe is referring to induction hobs on display in LWK London showroom) You’ve got a situation where you can cook, you can remove your pan, and put it back, the heat is still there & will do everything for you. Therefore things move on and yes, I’ve got to give you that it’s great, it’s fantastic. It’s a lot more efficient an it’s also very much economic and I think that’s great. It’s less dangerous too, I mean you don’t have a problem of a gas leak. I think it’s great, I’ve no objection.
Jean-Christophe Novelli’s Kitchen Advice Summary
LWK London very much appreciate Jean-Christophe Novelli taking the time to talk to us about what he considers important within kitchen design and why. His advice is extremely useful for anyone planning a new kitchen design, and key points to remember and include when planning are:-
- Ensure enough space to work within the kitchen
- Ensuring suitable lighting for working within the kitchen and plan your kitchen so it benefits from as much natural lighting as possible.
- Choose a suitable worktop material that is durable, easy to work on, easy to clean, and hygienic. Lifestyle may also factor in worktop choice such as a colder material like Granite for someone who is passionate about baking.
- Good utensils such as knives and saucepans will increase ease of use and produce better cooking results
- Appliances should be good and reliable but using gas vs. induction as an example choice may fall to personal preference or lifestyle, eg induction cooking is much more popular with families because it is safer and more energy efficient.
For further advice or if you have any questions about kitchen planning please get in touch.