Vegetarianism is big business. According to statistics, 12% of UK adults now choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Numbers are highest among young people, which would seem to be in line with recent research findings predicting that within the next 25 years, a quarter of the UK population will have adopted a meat-free diet. Until recently, kitchen manufacturers have been relatively unconcerned with the type of food prepared in their kitchens, preferring to concentrate their efforts on producing ever more sophisticated kitchen designs that focus on technological innovation, durability, usability, sustainability and, of course, the latest interiors trends.
Kitchen design companies up and down the land are on hand to offer expert knowledge and guidance to home owners wishing to upgrade or completely remodel their kitchen spaces. Specialist businesses, such as The Brighton Kitchen Company, have years of market experience and a keen understanding of their customers’ conception of kitchens as bespoke interior spaces that are the key to the home. Today’s kitchens truly are the heart of the home.
But it’s a valid question, isn’t it? Would a vegetarian cook need a different kitchen than someone who prepares omnivore fare at home?
Vooking, a term derived from rather clumsily fusing the words ‘vegetarian’ and ‘cooking’, is the experimental concept that addresses this issue, with a view to specifically targeting the burgeoning market of vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian home cooks. The brainchild of an Austrian led team of industrial and furniture designers, a chef and a carpenter, the Vooking kitchen prototype was showcased at Living Kitchen 2015, Germany’s international kitchen fair. The project’s leader explained the thinking behind the novel kitchen concept: ‘Nowadays many people […] prefer vegetarian food for health-related reasons or because of sustainability concerns and their own ecological footprint. But quite a few of them opt for this type of diet purely because they enjoy it and because of the higher quality of the food.’
While the food manufacturing industry has had to take account of people’s changing dietary preferences for many years, it’s new ground for kitchen furniture manufacturers. The aim of the Vooking project is to show a kitchen design that facilitates vegetarian food preparation in the kitchen, with the view to making a ‘positive impact on the future of nutrition and cooking.’
So, what should a kitchen for vegetarians kitchen look like? With Vooking, the concept of a vegetarian kitchen has been redefined from scratch, according to key considerations for food storing, preparing and dispensing.
- Vegetarian cooking involves the preparation of significantly more fresh produce than animal based cuisines. Vooking includes an innovative double bowl sink with additional surrounding surfaces for greater flexibility. There’s also an integrated sprout garden for sprouting seeds, beans, nuts and grains.
- Vegetarian cooking typically uses a much wider range of herbs, spices and seasonings. Vooking offers dedicated storage space for 36 spices stored in luxury ceramic containers, along with a built-in mortar & pestle station.
- Vegetarian cooking relies heavily on grain based dishes, which is why Vooking has a clever grain unit able to dispense the right amount straight out of grain sacks, which comes complete with integrated scales.
The prototype kitchen offers a total of 7 standalone kitchen units as well as active and passive cooking areas. The active cooking zone comprises a hob unit, a sink unit, a spice cutting unit and work areas. The passive cooking zone contains an oven unit, a cooling unit, a grain unit and a ‘farming unit’ to grow fresh produce. Pushing the design envelope to the limit, Vooking contains a mixture of exciting and innovative components, including two patents.
The scheme boasts the support of major players in the international kitchen market including
- Swiss kitchen sink giant Eisinger Swiss / Franke
- Luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer Gaggenau
- Premium kitchen sink/tap specialist Dornbracht
- High tech kitchen surface supplier Cosentino
For now, it remains to be seen whether Vooking is trailblazing a new direction towards adapting kitchen design to the dietary preferences of the home owner, or whether it will be remembered as a one-off design exercise that failed to take off. Watch this space!
This is a guest post contributed by Dakota Murphey.