The traditional sink is perhaps the most underrated product in the kitchen, but a workstation totally transforms how homeowners go about daily meal prep in the space.
So what exactly is a workstation? In the restaurant world, a workstation is typically an area of the kitchen that is dedicated to food preparation, such as chopping onions, peeling rhubarb, or dicing onion. It’s essential in the restaurant kitchen for organizing the chaos that comes with the territory.
Measuring 33 inches by 22 inches, the Chive stainless steel workstation equips a kitchen for maximum food prep efficiency, the manufacturer says. It features a bamboo cutting board, stainless steel colander, stainless steel second bowl with drain, sink strainer and protective grid. A two-step ledge design allows homeowners to slide accessories from left to right with ease, creating an additional work area without taking up valuable counter space. It can be installed above or below the counter.
“The Fixed workstation is a purpose-built stainless steel or stone benchtop which is fully equipped with drawers, doors and sits on wheels,” the French Cooking Academy says. “The home friendly versions commonly called “Kitchen islands” are usually made of wood and integrate some storage space as seen on the picture here.”
These days, the workstation has moved from the commercial realm and has infiltrated the home kitchen. Also known as a ledge sink by some suppliers, the workstation is no mere sink and it's not a mobile kitchen island either.
The e-commerce site Direct Sinks says you can think of the product as a sink that has a built-in, integral ledge. “This creates a custom track for accessories, such as cutting boards, colanders, drain mats, trays etc,” the site says. “It basically creates another working level in the sink.”
The 33-inch Chef Center system features two removable, anti-microbial compartments that can serve as a composter, wine bucket, storage bin, or any other purpose imaginable. But it also accommodates a variety of accessories that include removable glass cutting board, stainless steel over-the-sink colander, stainless steel drainboard, and multi-level sink grid. It comes in two sizes that accommodate 30-inch and 36-inch cabinets.
The sinks offer many benefits. They are functional and maximize efficiency while minimizing movement. Direct Sinks says the ledge sinks have become so popular that the category has its own category on the site.
Workstation accessories vary based on the brand, but they generally include removable and maneuverable colanders and cutting boards, but some include basin racks, mixing bowls, and recycling centers and compost bins. The modern day workstation functions much like it does in the commercial or restaurant kitchen, except it organizes chaos in the residential kitchen.
One of the leaders of the workstation is Bixby, Okla.-based The Galley. “Inspired by a desire to find solutions to problems that had existed for years in the way kitchens worked, (or didn’t work), The Galley was invented by an award-winning kitchen designer whose vision was to create a central workstation hub where every task in his kitchen could be accomplished,” the company writes on its website. “He put the very first Galley in his own home. Today, the Galley has grown to be an entire line of super-functional, smart and stylish workstations where one can prep, cook, serve, entertain, and clean-up, all in one convenient place.”
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Made from 80 percent solid granite, the Precis Multi-Level Workstation measures 48-inches wide and 9 ½-inches deep. It has a scratch resistant design and integrated drainboard. Accessories include stainless grid for the large bowl, stainless grid for the small bowl, 15-inch grid drainer, hanging colander, and a walnut cutting board.
Products come in a variety of sizes and can be made from an array of materials. They also can be pricey (compared to a traditional sink) depending on the size and complexity of the offerings. But no matter which brand you choose, you still need to evaluate them the same way you look at the various features and characteristics of a typical sink.
Specifiers should ask if the unit is the right size for your space? Does your client need one bowl or two? Does it have rounded corners or angular or is the bottom flat or deeply sloped?
Finally, make sure the unit has good sound deadening properties. Stainless steel, especially, can get loud with dishes rattling around. Choose a sink with good pads underneath to help keep the noise down (especially in open-plan spaces) and your clients will thank you for it.
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The stainless steel workstation features a design that allows the line’s standard accessories to slide one over the other on two levels. It comes with three accessories including, with a choice of maple or walnut handles. A bottom grid is included to protect the surface of the sink.
Designed in collaboration with the chefs at Kohler's Five Diamond resort hotel, the Stages sink comes with a full array of integrated accessories. The basin is wide to accommodate large pots and pans and has a stepped side platform for prepping food or drying dishes. It comes with a utensil tray, flip tray, prep bowls, and American walnut cutting board.
Available in lengths from 42 inches to 72 inches, the Eclipse Dual-Tier sink measures 9-inches deep and can be outfitted with a variety of accessories, including cutting boards, drying racks, drop-in accessories, and a sponge caddy.
Part of the company’s Tirana Series, the Siena workstation ledge sink measures 33 inches by 22 inches. It comes with built-in accessories, including a colander, a Sapele wood cutting board, and roll-up rack that slide on the integrated tracks in the sink. The sink features a 1-inch wide and 1/4-inch high rim all around that sits top-mount on your countertop.
The 32-inch single basin chef-style workstation is designed to make food prep convenient and efficient, the manufacturer says. It features a tiered track system that allows the prep accessories to slide from side to side and a 9-inch deep bowl to hold more stuff. Prep accessories include stainless steel colander, solid wood cutting board, matching stainless steel basin racks, and basket strainer drain.
The Ideal Workstation 7S is a one- to two-person stainless steel sink that comes with a nine-tool culinary kit that includes dual tier cutting board, colanders, and mixing bowls. Cutting boards come in four materials (including bamboo, shown above).