Unless your property is in an area well-populated with restaurants, your guests will probably spend far more time cooking on vacation than they do at home. With fewer take-away and fast food options, they sit down more often for family meals and are often catering for larger groups than usual. Vacation rentals don’t always have the best reputation for the quality of kitchen equipment and appliances they offer, and reviews often highlight shortcomings in that area. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money – just aim for a standard to suit enthusiastic vacation chefs. Make them happy and the good reviews will follow.
Aside from a varied range of small appliances, there are some items and utensils that will make life easier for guests in your property. Here are ten that should be in any well-equipped, foodie-focused kitchen
There’s a massive choice of pepper grinders and it’s tempting to go for the one that looks fancy or has better form than function. Unless you want to be continually replacing pepper mills, choose one that’s durable and is easy to fill. Foodies recommend the Unicorn Magnum or Peugeot models. As more people are using sea salt, a good salt grinder will be welcomed too.
2. Sharp Kitchen Knife
One of the most common complaints about rental properties is the poor quality of kitchen knives, as owners tend to buy cheaper knife block sets that may look attractive but deliver poor performance in cutting and chopping. Provide a high quality chef’s knife and your guests will love you for it.
3. Cutting board
In an ideal situation raw meat should not be cut on the same board that is used for cooked meat, vegetables or other food. Since it’s not possible to monitor how your cutting boards are used, ensure they are disinfected between rental groups and provide the best materials you can afford. Sani-Tuff boards are made of 100% rubber and are arguably the best in terms of hygiene and ease of disinfection.
4. Stainless steel measuring cups/spoons
Vacation gourmets often use the opportunity to try recipes they don’t have the time for at home. Help them out by providing quality measuring equipment. Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons are more durable and hygienic than the plastic variety
5. Stainless steel pans
The arguments about peeling non-stick surfaces and the potential danger to health are many, and although it’s not clear what the impact might be, it’s far better to err on the side of caution and provide stainless steel pans. A good set with an aluminum or copper core should serve you well for many years of rental use. Avoid sets with glass lids as it’s tough to find replacements when they break.
6. Stainless steel colander
As with the measuring equipment avoid the cheaper plastic colanders that tend to stain and crack with hard use. Inexpensive metal colanders may look good on purchase but can rust especially in humid areas, so once again, go for the stainless steel option.
This should be a standard piece of equipment in a vacation rental kitchen so buy carefully. Check out reviews of which are the best models and choose one that is more likely to stand the varied use it will get.
8. Food processor
Aspiring chefs and frazzled moms alike will be delighted to find a food processor since it makes vacation life so much easier. As with a blender, it will get some hard use, so select a moderate to high quality model that is solidly made. The better ones come with holders or stands for the attachments rather than having them stored separately – spending a little more on quality will pay in the longer term.
Forget the ‘As seen on TV’ gadgets and gizmos and supply simple, sturdy and well-made equipment for grating and peeling. A Microplane grater will not break the bank, is good quality and does a great job at grating cheese and zesting lemons and limes. Go for a standard potato/vegetable peeler that can be used by right or left-handed people.
10. Hand mixer
An inexpensive hand mixer or even a hand whisk can complete your equipment collection.
If you leave a feedback form for your guests to complete, ask them to comment about how your kitchen met their expectations and whether there was anything missing they would have liked. This can often produce some useful suggestions.