Jack Hone, Kitchen Designer at Great British Kitchen & Interiors, started his career as a chef.
Not only is he well versed in the functionality that modern kitchens need, but the work ethic that’s demanded of chefs runs through his approach to kitchen design and project management.
What led you to a career as a chef?
“I was lucky enough to grow up around good food – my Grandad, Mum and Dad are all good cooks. This caught my interest from an early age. I enjoyed the process of cooking, but my first job, which was washing plates, made me realise that restaurants were the setting I wanted to work in.
“After my A-levels, I got a place at Westminster Kingsway to study for my Professional Chef diploma. It has a reputation as the best catering college in the country and it was certainly a tough, I’d even say ruthless environment.
“400 students started the course, and 3 years later, 30 of us completed it. We were trained by ex-military chefs and they know how to get the best out of you.”
What were the highlights of your time training and working as a chef?
“It was fantastic to be in London during that time – learning about all types of cuisine, with visits from master chefs and work experience at restaurants including The Landmark in Marylebone and the Institute of Directors.
“Being a chef is a vocation that you have to fully give yourself over to. During my career, I worked at various restaurants and golf clubs, but my favourite job was actually my last job as a chef – at Sankey’s Oyster Bar in Tunbridge Wells. It was great fun and rewarding to work with beautiful ingredients.”
What led to your transition to Kitchen Designer at GBK&I?
“As I have already mentioned, to be a chef you have to be ‘all in’. After 4 years, I felt that I need to re-evaluate my work-life balance and I wanted a change.
“GBK&I is our family business, so I had grown up around it. I had also undertaken cooking demonstrations at our showroom over the years.
“It was over a curry with my Dad when I was questioning where my career was going that he suggested I join the business. I am a creative person – drawing is something I’ve always done and enjoyed – so coupled with my experience as a chef, it seemed a natural transition.”
With your experience as a chef, what design principles do you apply to kitchen design?
“I don’t tend to hold with traditional design principles such as the triangle formation (sink, oven and fridge) for example. Every space is different, as are every person’s needs – therefore the approach we take is always individual.
“I do feel that functionality has to be a priority. To use a kitchen efficiently and to enjoy the space, it needs to work. I find it helps to sub-divide the space into multiple zones – for prepping food as well as cooking. You can have the best-looking kitchen in the world, but it needs to work in practice.
“Practical storage is also a key part of design, it can come into its own, especially at Christmas!”
What appliance innovations, that you currently supply, would you have loved as a chef?
“I trained on gas, I used very little induction cooking until later in my time as a chef. A BORA hob in a professional kitchen would be amazing. Their extraction is revolutionary – anyone who enjoys cooking, would enjoy cooking on a BORA.”
Is there a ‘go-to’ gadget that you use in your own kitchen?
“The Quooker is an appliance I use all the time. It was great for sterilising bottles! Now I use it more for blanching vegetables. It’s not surprising that it’s now part of every Masterchef workstation.
“Miele ovens have a ‘Moisture Plus’ function that is really useful. It’s a timed steam burst that can be used up to 3 times during the cooking process. It’s perfect for Yorkshires puddings, cakes, for getting a nice crust on bread – it gives you a controlled, professional approach.”
What innovations that are yet to reach the market are you looking forward to?
“I’m intrigued about the new BORA X BO – I would have loved to get out to Germany to see it, but it wasn’t possible.
“It will be very interesting to see how our customers respond to the concept of steam cooking – especially with the focus on health eating and celebrating natural flavour.”
What is the most enjoyable part of your role at GBK&I?
“Working with clients to achieve a beautiful kitchen.
“I have never regretted the change in career from being a chef, I don’t miss it. I think a certain work ethic becomes embedded in you – the prep time in the mornings for example. This definitely helps me to manage projects efficiently.
“We do this every day, but clients might do it only once in a lifetime, so being part of that collaboration is very rewarding. I enjoy the design process, but the most exciting part is knowing that when clients walk into their new space, it’s exactly as it should be.”
To book a design consultation with Jack, call us on 01959 53 22 33.
Visit our showroom to get inspired.