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Your church kitchen project: Why, What, and Where

Planning a new church kitchen can be an overwhelming task. Luckily, our church kitchens expert Ian Badis is on hand to help. Here are his top tips.

It’s a major undertaking to create a kitchen to serve your church’s needs now and in the future. The size of the investment means that future-proofing is essential, and the time invested in planning pays dividends for the experience of your volunteers and congregation.

Making the right decisions early on in the project is crucial, but it can be difficult to know where to start – and avoid feeling overwhelmed as the project progresses.

Luckily, our church kitchen expert Ian Badis is on hand to help. He’s guided church committees like yours all over the UK, as they’ve planned, installed and completed their kitchen projects (you can take a look at some examples here.

Here, he shares his tips on how you can maximise the potential of your kitchen by understanding what your project truly needs (and what it doesn’t).

Why: Understanding your kitchen’s purpose from the get-go

If you know that you need a new kitchen, you should know why you need it. Perhaps it’s too small. Perhaps it’s old and at risk of becoming unhygienic or unsafe. Perhaps it’s not equipped for everything you want to use it for.

Knowing your own reasons to renovate, you might neglect to find out why others in your team want to. There could be aspects of the project and the day-to-day function of the kitchen that aren’t as obvious to some as to others.

By consulting a ‘committee’ of kitchen users, you build a full picture of what works, what doesn’t, what’s lacking, and what’s not needed, drawn from first-hand experience. Once you understand the collective ambition for the kitchen, you’ll begin to see the scope of the project take shape.

Ian’s top tip: Start a kitchen committee of key stakeholders to make sure you agree on a shared purpose for your kitchen.

What: Finding the features you need (and the ones you don’t)

Funding a project is often the most daunting aspect, and it can lead you to compromise on your vision for fear of disappointment.

Since you now have a very clear picture of what you want and need, it’s much better to ‘think big’ and design a kitchen that’s welcoming, durable, well equipped, and that offers room to grow.

It’s far better for the health of the project that you aim for the kitchen you really want, rather than cutting corners or trying to keep costs too low. There’s no escaping that a kitchen is a big project. Embracing that fact early on injects more confidence in the process, and helps you arrive at a design that ticks all the boxes.

After obtaining quotes for the project, you’ll soon find out if the funds are truly unobtainable, and at that point you can consider scaling back your ambitions. But your first step shouldn’t be compromise.

Be conscious also of what your quotes are for. For a church, a semi-commercial kitchen is the best choice; it offers the equipment, durability, and hygiene of kitchen that serves and accommodates many people. At the same time, it remains welcoming, unlike a commercial kitchen, which is too intimidating and complex for anyone but professional chefs.

The semi-commercial specification also allows you to bring personality into your design. The kitchen aesthetic will be another thing to agree upon as a team. Opinions and tastes may differ, but arriving at a design in keeping with the culture of the church will make the kitchen all the more appealing to the congregation and guests.

There can be a temptation towards design excess on an exciting new project, so be sure to temper any flamboyant instincts by reflecting on the need for a broader community appeal.

Ian’s top tip: Start with a comprehensive specification. Better to scale back a thorough plan (if necessary) than to start with a weaker concept.

Where: Thinking about kitchen (re)location

Since there’s probably a kitchen in your church already, you may not have asked yourself where the new one should go, assuming it would be in the same place.

Ambitious as it may sound, moving the kitchen will sometimes be the best approach. Of course it’s more radical than renovating an existing space, but if it serves your purposes, then it’s worth tackling.

A better location for the kitchen can make delivering food to patrons considerably easier, and if there’s a commercial element to your catering, repositioning the kitchen can make its offering more obvious and more inviting.

If moving is not possible or necessary, maybe the question is where else the kitchen should go. Consider whether there’s scope to expand the facilities.

If you intend to widen your catering activities, you may well need more surfaces, more equipment, and room for more people.

If expansion is not possible, then the focus of the renovation will need to be efficiency, and how to fit what you need into the same space.

Ian’s top tip: You’re embarking on a major project – don’t be afraid of making bold choices if they take you closer to you goals.

Let your plans for the church inform your plan for the kitchen, and you’ll start to see the vision come together.

If you’re planning to renovate, replace, or install a church kitchen, get in touch with Ian for bespoke guidance and expert advice. He’s always happy to help churches to get the best out of their kitchen build or renovation. You can call on 0844 809 9186 or email [email protected].

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