Star Kitchen: Michael Symon

Michael Symon shows Food Network Magazine how he turned a 1950s home kitchen into a space fit for a modern-day Iron Chef—and some killer dinner parties.

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Michael Symon's Kitchen

When Michael Symon and his wife, Liz, bought their home in the Cleveland suburbs, the macho, meat-loving Iron Chef was stuck cooking in a tiny, outdated galley kitchen with yellow-green linoleum and an electric stove.

Kitchen Upgrade

Within three months, the couple had gutted the space and built a more functional kitchen, plus a back pantry where Michael keeps a double-wide refrigerator and huge industrial sink. "I wanted all the tools I'm used to having in restaurants," the chef says. "But we didn't want it to feel like work," adds Liz, who designed Michael's four eateries. The couple also knocked down walls to open up the space for entertaining. "We're old, but we like to party," Michael says.

Coffee on Demand

"This is the greatest thing in the whole kitchen," Michael says about his prized, built-in Electrolux ICON coffeemaker ($3,199; electroluxicon.com for stores). It's not cheap, but he gets his money's worth: "I'm a coffeeholic. I drink, I don't know ... 10, 12, 14 cups a day?"

Open Access

Before Michael and his wife, Liz, renovated their kitchen, it had no windows and was closed off with a door. "We took out any walls and doors we could," Michael says. "I designed the layout and Liz did the rest."

Big-Time Cooking

Even at home, the chef feeds big crowds: The day after he finished the kitchen, he had 100 people over to celebrate. In preparation, he installed a six-burner range, two ovens and a warming drawer.

Custom Cabinetry

Everyone asks about these zebra-striped cabinets, Michael says. A local Ohio woodworker, Todd Armfelt, designed them using Australian walnut wood. Drawers that stick are one of the chef's pet peeves, so his are on easy-glide casters.

Mini Fridge

The only refrigerator in the main part of the kitchen is a two-drawer mini fridge under this island; it's stocked with drinks and condiments. The real fridge, a huge industrial one, stays out of view in the back pantry.