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Awesome home kitchens

Anne Quatrano and her husband, Clifford Harrison, are the chef-owners of two of Atlanta’s top-rated restaurants—the white-tablecloth Bacchanalia and the more casual Floataway Café—both dedicated to transforming fresh, local ingredients into contemporary American fare. Their home, located 45 miles northwest of the city, was built as a refuge of sorts, a place where the couple can escape from the daily demands of the restaurant kitchen. The duo’s home kitchen is deliberately low-maintenance. Stainless steel countertops and a polished concrete slab floor not only make cooking and cleanup hassle-free...

Anne Quatrano, Cartersville, Georgia

Anne Quatrano and her husband, Clifford Harrison, are the chef-owners of two of Atlanta’s top-rated restaurants—the white-tablecloth Bacchanalia and the more casual Floataway Café—both dedicated to transforming fresh, local ingredients into contemporary American fare. Their home, located 45 miles northwest of the city, was built as a refuge of sorts, a place where the couple can escape from the daily demands of the restaurant kitchen.

The duo’s home kitchen is deliberately low-maintenance. Stainless steel countertops and a polished concrete slab floor not only make cooking and cleanup hassle-free, the sturdy materials withstand heavy commercial equipment. These include a six-burner restaurant stove with griddle and an 8-foot square butcher-block island.

“We designed the kitchen to be durable but light and airy,” Quatrano says. “There are no upper cabinets to obstruct the view, and only a fireplace separates the kitchen from the living area.” Double glass doors provide easy access from the 24-by-24-foot space to the outdoor cooking area, with its woodburning oven, grill and concrete sink.

Giorgios Bakatsias, Durham, North Carolina

The nonstop hustle-bustle of running eight very different restaurants—ranging from Verde, a Mediterranean café, to Grasshopper, an Asian street-food concept and Vin Rouge, a French bistro—energizes Giorgios Bakatsias during his long workdays. But when this seemingly tireless restaurateur returns home, he chooses to be surrounded by the calming forces of nature.

Since Bakatsias spends a lot of time cooking and entertaining in his kitchen, he had the room designed in tune with the outdoors, complete with an “al fresco” kitchen patterned after the one he knew as a child in Greece and equipped with a wood-fired rotisserie grill. “When I renovated eight years ago, I had the space gutted and surrounded by walls of windows,” he says. “I can look out at my 10 acres, my vegetable garden and the birds flying by and relax.”

This Zen-like feeling is carried through in the look of the kitchen’s interior. The surfaces are uncluttered, the cabinets and appliances have simple, clean lines and a 16-foot center island allows the cook—and his guests—free-flowing movement.

Howard Greenstone, Ramsey, New Jersey

A self-proclaimed “gadget junkie,” Howard Greenstone has a home kitchen stocked with every kitchen tool in the book. By day, he’s constantly on the go as COO of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants, an independent group with four locations in New York City and Washington, D.C., and three more opening soon in Atlanta, Miami and Palm Beach. But in his down time, Greenstone likes to fiddle around with his gear or curl up with a good cookbook.

“When I renovated the kitchen in my suburban farmhouse, I created a reading area with an armchair, desk and enough bookshelves to house my 250- to 300-cookbook collection,” he says.

Greenstone also commissioned a giant closet to organize his gadgets. His favorites include two juicers—one for wheat grass and one for vegetables—and a pasta maker. But the piece of equipment he loves best is his reliable Weber grill. He fuels it with wood or charcoal and, weather permitting, cooks up house specials for his wife, son and groups of friends.

Russ Bendel, Coto de Caza, California

As president of the 95-unit Mimi’s Café, the regional family-dining chain based in Tustin, California, Russ Bendel spends most of his working life administering to corporate tasks. Chopping and sauteing at the end of the day and on weekends is his way of unwinding and pursuing his culinary passion.

Bendel and his wife, Judy, entertain a lot, and they custom-designed the kitchen/family room combo in their four-year-old house to host large parties as well as smaller family gatherings. The kitchen’s six-burner cooktop, two convection wall ovens, warming oven and two dishwashers take the chore out of cooking for crowds. And the warm, sunny southern California weather allows guests to spill out onto the patio and around the pool, where they can mingle year-round, as Russ fires up the barbecue.

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