Commercial church kitchens

The following article was recently published in Church Executive Magazine. It contains quotes from CDH principal Ernest C. (Terry) Biglow.

By RaeAnn Slaybaugh

A church considering a commercial kitchen finds out quickly it’s a big undertaking. They must navigate a multitude of equipment and construction requirements, plus liabilities, staffing and inspection considerations.

For starters, it helps to understand the basic differences between a commercial kitchen and a warming (residential-style) setup. Ernest C. (Terry) Biglow, III, AIA — managing principal at CDH Partners, Inc., in Marietta, GA — often leads church clients through this complex territory.



“Commercial kitchens are subject to inspections for compliance with the local health department, and the number of meals served might influence the frequency of those inspections,” he explains. “On the equipment side, anything more than a microwave could be considered a commercial kitchen in some areas of the U.S.”

On the intended use side of the equation, Eric MacInerney, principal and project architect at Heimsath Architects in Austin, TX, says three kinds of activities put a church kitchen on the health department’s radar as a commercial operation: serving a day school, serving the homeless, and selling food. “These create a situation where there’s public trust in the food.”

Since many churches will want to offer these services, a commercial kitchen becomes the logical choice. Once that decision is made, the issue of vent hoods and exhaust systems isn’t far behind. There’s a reason: They’re expensive — and non-negotiable. Click here to continue reading.

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