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Luxury Trend Watch: The Catering Kitchen Behind a Kitchen

“The open kitchen is dead.” Some designers and real estate agents have been making this bold proclamation for a few years now. But in some markets like Los Angeles and Miami, where modern architecture reigns, the open kitchen is very much alive. In Miami, however, a new twist on the open kitchen has emerged. High-end developers are still incorporating the lauded open kitchen “for show” into their spec homes, but they are also now adding a commercial-caliber catering kitchen behind it.

Danny Hertzberg — a member of the leading luxury real estate sales team The Jills® and based out of the Miami office of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Florida — alerted us to this trend recently, and we decided to get to the bottom of it.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury When did you first notice this trend?

Danny Hertzberg I began to notice it in the last year. It’s a fairly recent development. It took some time for the new modern glass houses with wide-open floor plans to be built, and they’ve only been in the market in the last five years. What we’re seeing now is that these wide-open contemporary floor plans do not work for every lifestyle. The developers who are savvy enough offer the second kitchen as a work-around to the open kitchen concept.

Owners get to have their gorgeous open kitchen, with all the high-end appliances they need —yet behind it, there is a full restaurant-grade catering kitchen where the real cooking is to be done.

I’ve seen it a few times. The kitchen is one side of property — and the dining room is on the other side of the property. And they have a full kitchen prep room near the dining room.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury How many of these second kitchen concepts have you seen so far?

Danny Hertzberg I’ve seen the concept in about seven or eight properties in the Miami area, primarily concentrated in the gated communities along the waterfront. I’ve only seen it in single-family detached homes priced at about $20 million and up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to pop up in large penthouses.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What’s primarily driving the developers to add them into their homes?

Danny Hertzberg I think you have to look at it as part of the evolution of the kitchen. There was a time when kitchens were more formal spaces, closed off from the rest of the house. Then, the modern concept of the open kitchen started to gain popularity. The transition started with the great room concept, where family rooms connected to the kitchen. Now, the modern kitchen concept is fully open space — think loft-style living, but applied to contemporary single-family detached residences. When you’re showing a home that has the living room, kitchen and dining room all in one — it’s often a showstopper. It looks great. But sometimes the modern open concept isn’t functional. Some affluent buyers are starting to question whether they really want the full open-concept kitchen. Do they really want the whole house to be filled with the aromas of the kitchen? Do they really want the mess and noises of the kitchen to be on display when they are entertaining guests and friends? A lot of high-net-worth buyers have full-time chefs, too. They like the idea of the open kitchen, but they want their privacy when they’re having a meal. That’s why the second kitchen, or kitchen-within-a-kitchen, works so well for them.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury From your perspective, what makes Miami such an ideal market to launch this concept?

Danny Hertzberg My theory is that Miami was ahead of the curve for modern open architecture. The first wave of high-end modern architectural homes really only began to hit the South Florida market about five to six years ago. So it took time for people to move into these homes and bring up the issues associated with the open-concept kitchen. High-end spec builders are very in tune with high-net-worth buyers’ wants and needs, so I think they are now looking to fuse the look of modern with functionality.

I also think there is a cultural aspect to the trend. In our market, we have a large influence from Central and South America, where property layouts are more traditional. Although these buyers like the modern concepts, they will often come with chefs or full-time help. Our domestic buyers and European buyers appreciate that concept.

When we consult with developers who have projects coming up in the next two years, we are bringing this concept to them and notifying them of this trend. The incremental cost to adding an industrial catering-style kitchen into their floor plans is not all that significant.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Which developers are really leading the charge with this design concept?

Danny Hertzberg There isn’t a developer that is currently known for this element. It’s still early in the trend. I also don’t think anybody has been really marketing the element as a focal point. That said, it doesn’t take long for people to take notice of a new design trend.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What do your buyers think about the concept?

Danny Hertzberg It’s been interesting to watch buyers’ responses to the concept. They either love the idea and it becomes non-negotiable for them, or they’re neutral on it. It really comes down to the way they entertain and the way they live. If they have a private chef, they will love it. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Are there any challenges to marketing this kind of concept?

Danny Hertzberg The main issue right now is, people need to see it. People don’t quite understand the catering kitchen concept. When people see it, then they understand it. I imagine, too, that it’s just not sexy to show a second catering kitchen that is more functional than beautiful.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Do you see this being the future of ultra-high-end design in Miami?

Danny Hertzberg I think the concept of a secondary kitchen is going to be the future. Consumers are more educated and more sophisticated than ever before. They’re starting to realize that they need the functionality — and not just the aesthetics of an open kitchen. They are also more health conscious now, so I think we’ll see more people bringing in full-time chefs to prepare nutritional meals. Once people see it and hear about it, they are going to want it.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Do you see the open-concept kitchen going away in ultra-luxury homes?

Danny Hertzberg If demand for modern architecture decreases, then the open-concept kitchen will also decrease. In a more traditional home, the open kitchen is not necessary because you have more defined spaces. So, as long as modern is being built and there is demand, it won’t go away. As long as the open concept is popular, you are also going to continue to see the secondary kitchen concept.

A member of The Jills®, Danny Hertzberg has been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list as an industry leader, as well as on CNBC’s financial news program “Squawk on the Street,” showcasing Miami’s most expensive luxury properties. He has also been nominated for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce R.E.A.L. (Real Estate Achievers & Leaders) awards for two categories, single family homes and condominiums. He can be reached at 305.505.1950 or at




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Luxury Trend Watch: The Catering Kitchen Behind a Kitchen

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