I remodeled my kitchen about 6 years ago. It is neither large nor small and galley shaped. (meaning it is long and narrow). I like that because during parties it keeps people from gathering in the kitchen. Er. Mostly. There are times when I have to say, ‘get out or grab a dish towel.’ That usually has the desired effect. Here’s the stuff I have.
GE Monogram Cooktop and GE Profile ovens and warming drawer. I decided on GE because it had the best combination of features and price. I don’t use the warming drawer often, but it sure comes in handy at parties.
KitchenAide Side By Side full Size Refrigerator. This thing is big and it wasn’t cheap. I like it because the internal lighting is great and the ice maker is in the freezer door leaving room for actual food in the freezer.
Two KitchenAide dishwashers. I entertain… a lot. Having two dishwashers is a huge help. These are quiet and reasonably fast.
A great big walk-in Pantry. I get lost in there all the time. Have to give credit for this one to my architect. Note the very full spice racks on the door.
Lots of granite countertop space high up where I like it. Our countertops have a 4 inch high nose. That’s because there is a three inch high spacer under them to get the counters up high enough to make them easier on my back (38″). If you’re in the kitchen all day (and there are days when I am) then this makes a HUGE difference.
Pots and Pans. I have a hodge podge set of pots and pans that I’ve accumulated over the years. They are all heavy and well conductive. I don’t own any All Clad. I don’t think my cooking suffers for lack of the additional cost. I also have a large Calphalon wok/saucier and several large skillets including two Lodge iron skillets. Lastly, I have a 7 gallon stock pot that only comes out for the halloween chili.
Special stuff. I own two Le Creuset Dutch Ovens. Whenever I braise I use these. They are wonderful and will last a lifetime. I also like my Fagor pressure cooker. Not every cook needs one and I certainly wouldn’t suggest one to someone just starting out, but for someone who’s been cooking for a while this is a very handy tool.
Serving platters. I have a ton. All shapes and sizes. What your food looks like in what it’s being served on matters. I never leave a cooking stuff store without checking the sale racks for serving bowls or platters.
Knives. Mine are Henckles Twin Cuisine. They are very sharp all the time. I use a steel every time I use them to keep the blades true. I like the ergo shape of the handle. When you go to buy knives buy a knife that feels very good in your hand. There is not much performance difference for a well kept knife, but there can be big differences in comfort.
Cutting Boards. There is no such thing as too many. For most of the cutting you do you will want one, large, thick, heavy, wood cutting board. Wood is great because it has natural antibacterial properties. I have one that measures 14X24 and it is one inch thick. Avoid the “Butcher Block” style boards with the vertical wood on the cutting surface. Buy a board with the long grain going the long direction of the board. If you can, buy one with a “drip channel” on one side and a plain cutting surface on the other side. I use this board for 90% of my cutting. In addition I have the plastic board mentioned elsewhere that I only use for Chicken (this is the only thing I use a plastic cutting board for ever. They are slow, hard to cut on and they dull your knives) and several other bamboo wood boards that I use when there are guest cooks in the kitchen.
Garbage cans are behind cabinet faces but are large and very convenient to the cutting surfaces. This saves lots of time.
In addition to these things I have a large collection of stuff from OXO Good Grips kitchen utensils. I sort of have a fetish for these things. They are well designed, work perfectly for the function for which they are intended, are durable, and are relatively inexpensive.