After winning Masterchef: The Professionals in 2018 and receiving incredible plaudits from Michelin-starred chefs and critics alike, British luxury kitchen manufacturer Kesseler invited Laurence Henry to their factory and head office in Nottinghamshire to explore their product range and discuss what he looks for when it comes to his favourite room in the house.
Born and raised in Nottingham, Laurence worked in the kitchens of some of the world’s greatest chefs, including those of Gordon Ramsay as chef de partie, then as sous chef at Nottingham’s acclaimed two Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains.
He has a strong passion for Asian food, and simple but elegant-looking dishes that are packed with flavour. Laurence entered and won Masterchef: The Professionals in 2018 and during the competition he prepared a lamb dish that was so impressive, Observer food critic Jay Rayner said: “I have nothing critical to say.”
Kesseler kitchens invited Laurence to their factory to discuss the perfect kitchen. The company’s head of marketing, Nic Shacklock, said: “Unlike other kitchen manufacturers and retailers, we don’t focus much on the opinions of interior designers. We care about the people who will actually use the kitchen, cooking amazing meals for their families. Our clients are the ones that will be using the kitchens so it makes sense for us to focus on the opinions and ideas that come from professional chefs. We loved seeing Laurence on TV and, with him being from Nottinghamshire too, we quickly identified him as the ideal brand ambassador for us.”
Whilst being interviewed, Laurence prepared some fresh gnocchi using his bespoke knife, made by Blok Knives of Derbyshire with whom Kesseler have a brand partnership.
The old cliché is that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But it’s so true isn’t it?
“Yeah, absolutely. It’s a really social place, too. So I always want an island that people can sit at, or a breakfast bar of some sort. I just love that. It means people can sit and chat to you while you’re working, and you can share a glass of wine and conversation.”
So how should a kitchen make you feel?
“For me, I just want to be happy and relaxed. The kitchen is, obviously, my favourite room in the house.”
What do you look for in a luxury kitchen?
“It’s the touch and feel of everything. It should just feel like quality right away. Amazing appliances that make it easier to produce amazing quality food, really clever storage so you can keep things organised and tidy, and a great worktop too.
“Since I’ve been exploring the Kesseler range, you can see why it’s premium. Everything you touch feels amazing. It’s solid and nothing’s flexing or moving about. Even the way the drawers slide closed, or the way the lighting comes on. It’s just so nice!
“That is exactly what you want when you’re spending good money on a space that’s probably the most important room in the house.”
And what colours do you prefer?
“I really like a kitchen that just feels warm and inviting, so bolder, deeper colours really stand out for me. Dark blues and greens I think look really nice and can work in a more traditional kitchen or something modern.”
What appliances would you want in your perfect kitchen?
“This is one of those things that’s always going to be different for everybody, I guess. For me, I like having two ovens and larger ones, ideally. It’s great if you’re doing a roast, a Christmas dinner, anything where you’re cooking for a large family. It just makes life easier.
“Personally, I prefer a pyro cleaning oven as I really hate cleaning! I spend a lot of time cleaning down the kitchen but cleaning out an oven takes ages. So having one that self-cleans is such a timesaver, especially if you’ve got two!
“There are loads of ways to have your appliances laid out (see our Appliance Configuration Guide) but I prefer horizontal and at medium height. You can move about the kitchen and put things in or take things out of your oven without having to bend over all the time. It’s just easier. I’m also a big fan of a proper burner, a gas hob. I think the induction stuff looks amazing and is really cool in a modern kitchen, but for me, in a professional environment, you can’t beat good old flames.”
What are your top three most important things when planning a new kitchen?
“First, take your time to find the right appliances. Think about what you’re regularly cooking in your kitchen and get what best suits. Spend a bit of money on good quality appliances. Cheaper ones won’t cook food as well and won’t have the more advanced features. Thank me later!”
“Intelligent storage is really important. I love being able to just slide open a small pull-out larder and have access to all my spices and other bits and pieces. The corner cupboards I love too. You can hide all your pans away. Kesseler’s super deep drawers are fantastic for pots and pans storage.”
“If you spend time in the kitchen with your partner or family, think about the social aspect when planning the layout. Go for a peninsular that doubles as a breakfast bar or an island with bar stools, for a really nice social feeling. It means you can eat, drink and chat in the kitchen while you’re cooking away.”
Explore the Kesseler range and request a brochure or a virtual appointment at kesseler.co.uk.