Ellen Bennett calms the kitchen chaos on Tastemade’s Kitchen Glow Up, interview

Ellen Bennett on Tastemade's Kitchen Glow Up
Ellen Bennett on Tastemade's Kitchen Glow Up / Tastemade

While the kitchen might be the heart of the home, a cluttered, chaotic, or confusing space can have people feeling empty. On Tastemade’s Kitchen Glow Up, Ellen Bennett invites homeowners to see that space differently, and it all starts by peering into those messy cabinets.

Chefs and food industry insiders know Ellen Bennett from her hugely successful line, Hedley & Bennett. While those aprons might be a staple in many professional kitchens, many people has seen that telltale ampersand logo on food television. Focusing on functionality, while still having aesthetically pleasing design, is a hallmark of the brand.

Bennett, as a professionally trained chef, understands that form and function need to go hand in hand. Just like mise en place is the foundation of meal preparation, the kitchen space needs to have everything in its place. That concept is at the root of Tastemade’s Kitchen Glow Up.

Unlike other kitchen renovation shows, this series does not tear the space down to the studs or splash paint on barren walls. It is about how functionality impacts not only the space but also how the home cook uses and feels about the area.

In Kitchen Glow Up, Ellen Bennett takes a simple approach to kitchen renovation. Using her knowledge of professional kitchens and personal experience, these transformations are dramatic, but not in the outlandish way that is often seen on renovation shows. It is about getting to the core of the kitchen issue and making the space become more efficient and effective for the home cook.

During a recent conversation with Bennett, she explained her approach in the show. In most cases, it all starts with a clean slate, i.e. cleaning out those cabinets.

As Bennett said, other shows can focus on how pretty something looks visually. “They focus on what is happening outside of the cabinet. We’re the opposite. We start with the inside of the cabinet. I bust into people’s kitchen and get into the walls of the place, start opening stuff up, look into the drawer and find all the skeletons in the closet.”

The heart of the concept is blending Bennett’s love of design with her love of kitchens. The idea is straightforward, but it is one that is not often captured on television. Just like a professional chef can offer insight to impeccable food and flavor, that knowledge can make the kitchen space better.

While the transformation can be dramatic, Bennett did not realize how emotional homeowners would become. Beyond the tears, she mentioned that each renovation was “very cathartic for every single person.” Whether it was letting go of some redundant items to seeing beyond the clutter, the gratitude was clear.  The clutter and disorganization were the visual manifestation of a deeper concern. Once that change was made, the homeowner can start a new journey.

Ellen Bennett Tastemade Kitchen Glow Up
Ellen Bennett on her new Tastemade show, Kitchen Glow Up / Tastemade

Ellen Bennett says Kitchen Glow Up is not just another design show.

At the heart of Kitchen Glow Up is the idea that people use their kitchens every day. As Bennett said, “you do not take a day off from eating. Shouldn’t that kitchen experience be a good one?”

Each person involved in this Tastemade show was passionate about their kitchen even if it was inefficient or disorganized. Bennett revealed, “the change was so radical to them because they didn't even realize how many hurdles they had to go through to make something.” From changing the flow to removing the redundancies, those simple changes have a huge impact.

Although the Kitchen Glow Up team had many helpers to make these transformations, Bennett understands that one person needs to start smaller in their space. Specifically, she recommends starting with just one drawer in the kitchen. The one drawer or cabinet at a time approach will make a difference. That sense of relief from making small change can inspire more effort over time.

For example, once a drawer is empty, the chaos of what was hiding in the back corner is lessened. No one needs 10 wine stoppers or the Midwestern staple "bag of bags." Paring down to the essentials puts everything in its place. It is similar to how a professional kitchen works. Being able to see everything in clearly labeled, organized method can calm the brain and put the focus on the task at hand.

And, the added benefit from all the organization is one that any one can appreciate, lessening food waste. No one wants to buy another jar of vanilla when there were three hiding behind the cinnamon container. A well organized kitchen can help avoid superfluous purchases.

Kitchen Glow Up on Tastemade
Kitchen Glow Up on Tastemade / Tastemade

As Bennett told every homeowner, “if you can see it, you can use it. If it is hidden away or you’re buying double you’re just lighting money on fire. Just by seeing what is in the pantry, you will reduce food waste. We reorganized people’s refrigerators using the walk-in method like in a professional kitchen. They couldn’t believe how much they could fit in there and how easily usable it was.”

While the visual transformation is clear, Ellen Bennett is making a personal difference in people’s lives on Kitchen Glow Up. When the chaos cleared, the food coming out of that kitchen will taste even better because the home cook can focus on what matters, a great meal that nourishes the body and soul.

Kitchen Glow Up with Ellen Bennet is available Tastemade’s streaming challenge. Additionally, it can be watched ad-free and on-demand on Tastemade+.