How's this for kitchen karma: Los Angeles celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre designed his home kitchen with his kids in mind, and now the 5-year-old twins set the table, load the dishwasher and help with dinner prep.
As brand ambassador for appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel, the French restaurateur and television personality was given carte blanche to select his favorite products and transform the family's kitchen in Sherman Oaks. The biggest priority: making sure the appliances accommodated little Luca and Rêve, his children with wife Krissy.
"Life happens around the table and food," said Ludo, whose restaurants include Trois Mec and Petit Trois. "I want my kids to experience the love of food and cooking from a young age, and building a kitchen they are comfortable in is the first, most important step."
Added Krissy: "They had a little pretend kitchen, but they never used it — because everything happens in the real kitchen; that's where Papa is…. There was really no way to keep them out of it."
To that end, the Lefebvres hired Santa Monica-based interior designer Ginny Capo to convert what had been a cramped warren of rooms into a single, open-concept space.
"It's far safer now," said Krissy, "because there's room to move around."
With walls removed, Capo designed a large island facing the living room with wraparound seating, gas and induction ranges and twin ovens below. Krissy said the 36-inch, five-zone induction cooktop turned out to be one of her favorite and most kid-friendly decisions.
"It became really clear early on that our son is definitely his father's child," she said. "Our parenting style is to teach them the respect of the kitchen — respect of the flame, the fire and respect of real knives."
With supervision, Luca can operate the induction range on his own and has been slicing and dicing since he was 3.
Drawer-style appliances and pull-out drawers have also made it easier for the twins to reach what they need. Beneath the island, they have their own storage area.
"They can get all their pots and pans, equipment and supplies, versus shelving with doors that can open and everything falls out," Krissy said. "We try to give them access so they can get their own stuff. When it's time to set the table, they can go get their plates and cups."
Consideration was also given to design materials. Capo said the antibacterial properties, durability and stain resistance of Caesarstone made it a natural choice for the busy island countertop; stone veneer on wood cabinets by Bauformat hides fingerprints and is easily wiped down.
In addition to family time, there are other benefits to a kid-friendly kitchen. "The one thing I really see is if they cook it themselves they eat it," Krissy said.