the restaurant scene progressing to the point of near over
saturation. As a chef you need not only to provide guests
with great food, service and a creative wine list but peripheral
details giving them fond memories and good reason to talk
about your restaurant. Their experience needs to go above
and beyond the food and beverage. An open kitchen fits the
bill very nicely allowing them the opportunity to see the
chef hustle and to watch the cooks work at what is considered
How ever if you are not ready to go the whole hog and leave
you and your kitchen totally exposed to the watchful eye of
your guests, opt for a partially open kitchen. Screening off
part of the kitchen or the use of frosted glass are options
to consider. This still gives your patrons a glimpse of behind
the scenes but allows you the opportunity to decrease your
equipment costs and gives shelter from the guest’s permanent
Seattle based chef and restaurateur Kerry Sear has never
been a big fan
of open kitchens. But wishing to incorporate a water feature
he had seen in France fifteen or so years ago he devised a
"rain wall" to use in his plan for Cascadia, the restaurant
which he opened two years ago. Kerry worked with Seattle-based
Girvin Strategic Branding & Design to create a floor to ceiling
wall of glass to separate the kitchen from the restaurant.
Water flows down the glass offering guests an intriguing visual
of the kitchen action. With a desire to encompass all things
Northwest, Kerry’s suggestion of rain fits well with the concept
of life in the northwest, as do the wood and other natural
features he has used in his design. Within the wall of glass
and water, portholes have been inserted allowing guests an
undistorted view of the kitchen team busily working on their
customized Garland stoves.
Sear worked with Garland to provide a sixty-two-piece island
range. He found the standard finish of the equipment quite
satisfactory with no real need for brass or copper extras.
True under-counter refrigeration was installed. In place of
stainless steal, the kitchen’s tables were topped with black
granite. Granite is not only aesthetically pleasing but also
solves the problem of light being reflected on to the rain
wall from within the kitchen. With a desire to keep the kitchen
clean and clutter free for its on lookers, Sear using the
services of CMA Restaurant Designs had the granite customized
further with holes cut for garbage cans to sit underneath;
discreet undercounted shelving was additionally installed.
Other visual touches include the kitchen’s yellow tiled walls
as opposed to a plastic wall covering. The greater expense
for the walls was made possible as a less expensive one was
used on the floor and wall base. Silcal a floor covering that
is simply painted on to the floor was used. Non-slip grit
is incorporated in the paint and therefore this flooring option
proves to be a very slip resistant one.
In addition to the restaurant’s portholes, one larger window
is available for diners to stop and view the action, or from
the kitchen’s perspective - to be "on TV", the code word used
to inform co-workers that there is an on-looker. As a final
supplementary touch for the gastronomic action lover, the
pastry kitchen was designed free of any form of glass separation.
With interaction in mind Cascadia’s pastry team and sweet-toothed
customers can chat and even ask for at tip or two.
"The beauty of the rain wall," Kerry explains "is that you
gain the effect of an open kitchen without guests having to
battle against the noise, smell and smoke that it generates.
It is certainly an aspect of Cascadia that drives business.
People come to the restaurant because they have heard about
the wall and it is a point of discussion when they leave".
by Jeremy Emmerson