Sandra Lee Celebrates House Beautiful’s 2012 Kitchen of the Year

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Sandra Lee was on hand in New York City this week as House Beautiful magazine launched its annual showcase of the Kitchen of the Year, an over-the-top dream kitchen and outdoor space constructed in the heart of Manhattan. This year’s design was the masterpiece of Mick De Giulio. He wanted to create a space that would be not only functional for cooking but also warm, inviting and the center of the home.

Though it was outfitted with a stove, oven and refrigerator, this 1,000-square-foot space boasted more than classic kitchen pieces and electronics. Among the not-so-ordinary elements of the kitchen was a sink that was partly covered with a removable wooden cutting board (pictured left). Since the chopping block fits snugly directly atop the sink, slicing vegetables and discarding any food refuse becomes convenient and easy. Hidden behind the stove was a rolling door (pictured center) that slides to reveal shelved spices, seasonings and more. This keeps them out of view and away from the heat but within reach of the flattop burners. One of the most creative aspects of the kitchens was the fruit bowl (pictured right) built directly into the kitchen island — a 12-inch square gently dipped into the counter, giving way to the just-deep-enough bowl.

Yes, this kitchen had everything you’d need to cook up restaurant-quality meals, but what was perhaps most impressive about it was how welcoming and cozy it was. Sandra spoke of the importance of family comfort in the kitchen, of making it a place where everyone wants to be. “The kitchen is the new living room. The kitchen is where the family comes together. The kitchen is where memories are made, where meals are served,” she said. And while fancy sinks and an oversized butler's pantry may be pretty to look at, they alone won't help your kitchen achieve those feelings of togetherness and hospitality. All a kitchen really needs is the food that you made and your family to enjoy it.

Check out Sandra Lee’s best recipes to cook with your family and enjoy a casual meal together tonight.

Visit Food Network to learn how to get the most out of your kitchen.

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