As host of the food network shows Food Detectives and Chopped, which pits chefs against each other in cooking competitions, Ted Allen is used to challenges. When it came to renovating the Brooklyn row house he shares with his partner, interior designer Barry Rice, the challenge was designing a professional kitchen for developing cookbook recipes that still felt right for entertaining.
Their solution was to create a hang-out zone on one side of the island with a banquette, wet bar and built-in Miele coffee and espresso maker (from $3,000; miele.com). "It keeps our friends out of our hair while we're working," Allen says.
Because the house is 130 years old, Allen and Rice had to change the kitchen layout to fit all the equipment Allen requires. The previous owners had installed the stove in the original hearth, but the space didn't have enough room for a hood. "I think the hood is probably the most important tool in the kitchen," Allen says. So he and Rice installed a Viking hood over the island, above a 48-inch Viking range with a gas oven and powerful infrared broiler, which was also on Allen's wish list ($3,275 for hood, $8,800 for range; vikingrange.com). They turned the hearth's nook into a prep station with stainless steel counters, three magnetic knife strips ($49 each; chefdepot.com) and an Enclume pot rack ($260; potracksource.com). "Everything I need is right at my fingertips," Allen says.