I love to explore the intersection of Residential & Commercial Kitchen design, so naturally SERVANT on Apple TV is my latest OBSESSION!
Where Commercial meets Residential Kitchens
I love exploring the intersection between Commercial (Restaurant) Kitchens, and Residential Design because it’s a great opportunity to combine extreme efficiencies with softer sensibilities. Commercial Kitchens NEED to be streamlined in many ways in order to reduce accidents, save any potential wasted time, and perfect the prep-to-cook association.
Residential Kitchens, on the other hand, typically focus on finishes and charm, putting such sensibilities low on the list of design priorities. BUT – why can’t they be melted together? Why can’t a Kitchen – in a HOME – be both beautiful AND sensible? I think they can, and love dreaming about ways these two can intersect for the ultimate space.
SERVANT by M. Night Shyamalan
A recent show on Apple TV – that admittedly I came into later by Season 2 – is perhaps the finest example of Commerical meets Residential I’ve yet to see. I watched Season 1 twice just to breathe it all in!
Talk about Kitchen Goals!!
Sean Turner, one of the main characters, is a Consulting Chef. He dreams up the most inventive dishes for elite Restaurants and high-end Catering. As he ‘works from home’, his home Kitchen needs to meet his Commercial-level needs. AND VOILA. A full 72″ Gas/French Top Range with massive CFM hoodfan, Deep Fryer, Salamander, and just out of view Stainless Fridge/Freezer.
In a running Kitchen, there aren’t a lot of cupboard doors other than undercounter fridges and chillers. Tools of the trade are out and open, easily grabbed in a split second. Here you can see many tools out, or neatly visible behind glass doors. And that vintage Cappuccino machine worth, apparently, $20k?! OMG. Yes.
The Kitchen on SERVANT, although dimly lit to suit the théâtre noir of the show, features a stunning blend of softly designed Residential elements to keep the overall look away from a sterile Restaurant look. With gorgeous – vintage? – mullioned glass cabinets featured on the window wall, warm wood cupboards on either side of the massive Hood Fan (with, notably, an open section for quick grab spices!), and a luxuriously long, marbled Island.
The use of dark wood and leather and dim lighting paired with white trims, walls and a bright countertop all reflecting off the stainless appliance sets while inviting in natural light makes this Kitchen really shine for me.
And what a great turn from pristine, white-on-white Kitchens celebrated for the lack of anything open or on the counters – WHERE WE NEED THEM. It’s a WORKING Kitchen for a professional AND a home Cook, and it doesn’t try to clear the counters or hide it’s true self.
It’s as much the working Kitchen of a professional Chef as it is a home for the wife, Dorothy Turner, and guests (side note – I LOVE Rupert Grint in this show!). One could be just as at ease at the Island sipping wine and chatting with ones’ Brother, as a Chef could be prepping large animals.
Beyond the Kitchen
Speaking of large animals – who wouldn’t want a private delivery of the Country’s – the WORLD’s?! – best ingredients showing up to their door every other day, with which to be constantly creative?!!!! THE DREAM, amiright?!
Food overall – from intricately prepared dishes to cans of soup – is played as an actual CHARACTER in this show. It’s used as communication, as a weapon, as power and weakness, as a love language, as a culprit. It feeds emotions, souls and bellies – as well as fills out many a story line.
Apple TV posted this mini Featurette on the importance and character of Food in the series :
Will the ‘Real’ Chef Please Stand?
While many Actors are great Cooks, and main character Toby Kebbel (playing Sean Turner) I’ve read is quite a passionate Cook, there are often Chef Consultants on shows that feature food, and Servant is no different.
Philadelphia Chef and Restauranteur Marc Vetri has brought his award-winning skills on set – and it shows. The level of precision and passion brought to set is impressive. Not only are incredible, unique dishes gracing the screen, but the thoughtfulness to food delivery, preparation (those EELS?!) and the inclusion of molecular gastronomy is sublime.
I found this Reddit feed that lists all the Appliances we can see in the Show – thought it was interesting!
Down to the Cellar
I’d be missing a key element if I didn’t mention the Basement Wine – and Pantry – Cellar!
Sufficiently creepy to suit M. Night Shyamalan’s masterpiece story-telling, and potentially core to the series arc, the Cellar is often visited to select the perfect wine pairing for sipping or for dinner, or to grab pantry items for the Kitchen such as canned goods, ferments or root vegetables.
In a world where $5,000 bottles of wine abound, (or, do they?!), intimate knowledge is required. Special mention should go to the show’s food advisor, Philadelphia chef Drew DiTomo and production designer Naaman Marshall.
The Philadelphia brownstone itself is massive, so I suppose it makes sense the Cellar would be, too! But what a great use of space – left intentionally elemental with bare concrete, must and mold (as good molds are typically desired to lay a ‘blanket’ over wines and canned goods).
If you haven’t caught up with SERVANT on Apple TV+, you still have time. The originally planned 6-season, 60 episode series has been recently confirmed that Season 4 will now be the series finale. On the heels of Season 3 just ending in Spring of 2022, it won’t likely air soon, so you have time to watch and re-watch (and re-watch??!) Seasons 1-3 until that time comes.
And then we’ll be savoring every.last.moment in that STUNNING Servant Kitchen.