Mark Bittman’s Manhattan kitchen is even smaller – 7 feet by 6 feet. Yet he manages to test all the recipes for his cookbooks and newspaper articles. In today’s New York Times, he writes that most chefs, food writers and cooks that learned their skill pre-world war II agree that size does not matter. Fancy equipment does not make a better cook; skill, practice and taste do.
Working in restaurants, I learned to contain my work to the area that’s just as big as my cutting board, plus about a 6 inches perimeter. Other cooks would encroach on my space from either side. I learned to work efficiently and neatly. Cooking at home, I’ve become a bit sloppy, but I can only go so far because my kitchen is still small.
My saving grace is the mini speed-rack I had custom built. The shelves hold 9 half-sheet pans. It’s a standard counter height with a wood block on top to match the size and shape of the other counters. I use the sheet-pans for cooking and as shelves. When things come out of the oven they slide right onto the speed rack until they’re cool. I can also store prep on the shelves until ready to be used. It’s an incredibly efficient space-saving piece of furniture/equipment.