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Fueled in part by the explosion of TV cooking shows that make it all look easy, cooking has regained popularity with an emphasis on good food and having fun with family and friends.

"People are spending more time in the kitchen," says designer Linda Eberle at Dream Kitchens in Madison, WI. "They're entertaining more, they're cooking more and they are requiring kitchens that perform at a professional level."

Manufacturers have responded to the demand for professional-style kitchens with efficiency previously only available to professional restaurateurs.

While each home cook's needs are slightly different, the best professional-style consumer kitchens include many of the following features.

Built to last

For kitchen sinks, refrigerators, and ranges, stainless steel is the first choice of many professionals. It resists nicks and scratches and is easy to maintain. Consumers also love the clean look of stainless steel, although they are careful not to take the high-tech style to extremes.

Different materials and textures can warm up the look of a stainless steel kitchen, says Eberle. Wood cabinets provide complementary contrast and add a warm, organic element, and cast iron sinks can add rich color without sacrificing durability. Granite and quartz work well for countertops, especially for pastry chefs seeking an expansive workspace and a cool surface for rolling out dough.

See all Stainless Steel Sinks

People are spending more time in the kitchen ... and they are requiring kitchens that perform at a professional level.

Sinks in.

Gourmet chefs and home cooks alike often have at least three tasks going at once as they prepare a complicated meal. And more home cooks are inviting friends and family members to pitch in, making cooking a truly social experience. Sinks in more than one location make these culinary collaborations more convenient—and productive—for everyone.

Consider adding a prep sink—also known as a bar sinks—for dedicated tasks such as rinsing glasses and icing bottles or hors d'oeuvres. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and work great for entertaining.

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Easy does it

Look for a sink that offers plenty of accessories to complement your cooking and cleanup style. The Prolific™ stainless steel sink has an ergonomic shape with multiple levels that let you place each of the included accessories—a cutting board, two multipurpose grated racks, a colander and a wash bin—at the height you need while working. And the accessories stack neatly off to the side when you’re done. The chef-inspired Stages™ sinks go a step beyond, featuring accessories tailored to each stage of the cooking process.

For home cooks looking to zoom through prep and cooking while keeping their workspace neat and hygienic, the Sensate touchless faucet helps keep messes and germs from spreading around the kitchen. And pot fillers – a real chef-worthy amenity -- serve as extendible faucets, and can be installed next to your stovetop or prep sink for easy water access.

See all Prolific Sinks

See all Stages Sinks

Clean up with ease

After a great meal, you want cleanup to be quick so you can get out of the kitchen and back to your guests. High-arching spouts and pull-down spray faucets let you get close to your work by targeting the spray exactly where you need it. Smart Divide® sinks lower the divider between sink bowls, and make it easier to clean large, bulky items. And faucets with Sweep Spray™ feature specially angled nozzles that form a wide, powerful blade of water to sweep your dishes and sink clean.

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