So many listings proudly proclaim the property has a ‘gourmet kitchen’ when in fact there may be nothing more that stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Of course the look of a kitchen goes a long way to give an impression that the catering space is of a great standard, but there is far more to it than just the surface impression.
Your ‘foodie’ guests want to feel at home in the kitchen, cook to the same standard as they do at home and not have to make-do or improvise because they are missing a piece of equipment that is vital to their culinary creations.
Here are 10 must-haves for your kitchen
1. Sharp Knives:
The bluntness of knives is a common complaint from vacation rental guests and if you do not stay in your place and experience the frustration of trying to cut a tomato with a blunt knife, you need to imagine it. Buy at least one excellent knife – these are the ones you find in the kitchen stores in the glass cabinets, not the multi-pack variety from Wal*Mart. At the very least, provide a good knife sharpener or steel.
This has many purposes from Margarita making to pancake batters and smoothies, so ensure you buy a good quality, durable model that is going to stand the test of a variety of uses. Check that you can purchase replacement glass jugs if necessary. A good tip for both blenders and food processors is to buy a model with a good warranty (5 years) rather than the cheaper models with much shorter warranties (usually 90 days).
3. Food processor:
There are many things that a blender will do that a food processor will not and vice versa, so avoid the thinking that you can get away with either one or the other. Bakers will absolutely want a food processor for mixing ingredients and given they usually come with a variety of blades for slicing and shredding, this versatile machine will be welcomed at your property. You can also add a small grinding machine for nuts, seeds etc.
4. Baking sheets:
Chefs usually buy their baking dishes from a restaurant supplies store and there is probably one in your town. You can buy great quality baking sheets and dishes from there at a similar price to the lesser quality products in the big box stores. They will be far more durable and easier to maintain.
5. Large baking dishes:
Ensure you have kitchen equipment commensurate with the number of people your place accommodates. If you may have a group of 10 people, there should be dishes, pots and pans to cook in larger quantities. This is particularly important for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other times when guests may want to produce a celebratory meal.
6. Rolling pin:
For a foodie, a rolling pin can be used in many ways, for example to crush garlic, pound chicken breasts into escalopes, and of course to roll out pastry. It’s an inexpensive piece of equipment that will be well-used.
7. Cheese and zest graters:
Vacation rentals in the old days were always home to the rusty cheese grater that did more damage to knuckles than to cheese in many cases. The old-fashioned grater is still the better option than gimmicky alternatives – just make sure to replace at the first sign of rust. Also provide a mandolin and a zest grater.
8. Weighing machine, measuring cups and spoons:
There’s not much to be said about measuring cups and spoons, and they are cheap to buy. Just make sure you have both. A digital weighing machine is essential for cooks who want precise measurements to calculate cooking times.
9. Meat thermometer:
Although many chefs will cook according to weight and time, having an accurate meat thermometer takes a way a lot of the guess work, particularly on larger roasts and poultry. Help them along by providing a digital thermometer.
10. Cutting boards:
Finally, lets go back to the restaurant supplies place and get a pack of 10 cutting boards. Then you can replace them through the season giving your kitchen a more hygienic experience and a better look than the usual stained and battered variety found in most rental homes. Of course there are other bells and whistles you could provide to give your guests the ultimate in gourmet kitchen experience. Additional small appliances will always be welcomed but ensure they are ones that are easy to use and easy to clean.
As long as you can put yourself in the shoes of the designated vacation chef and make their job easier, you have done yours in style.