A prep kitchen is an ancillary space, immediately accessible from the main kitchen. Its purpose is to support the functions of the kitchen by offering an additional work zone while providing some visual concealment from the perspective of the main kitchen. At a minimum, a meal prep kitchen should include plenty of counter space and a sink. Beyond that, the design and appliances can be highly customized to the individual homeowner’s needs.
Historically, a butler’s pantry was a room in a large, estate home. It was often located downstairs, in the service staff’s area, as was the kitchen. Since it contained many valuable items, it was a locked room to which the butler had the key. In modern times, the butler’s pantry has evolved to become a walk-through area somewhere between the kitchen and the dining room.
It will usually contain some glass display cabinets, a bar sink, a wine refrigerator, etc. Mostly, it functions as a place to prepare a drink for a guest and a counter space from which to stage food traveling to the dining room. So you see, a prep kitchen is quite different from a butler’s pantry. However, you may be able to combine the function of these two areas depending on your home’s layout.
If you had a long, narrow space connecting your kitchen and dining room, for example, you may wish to have the end closest to the dining room feature a few pretty display units so that it will be attractive when guests peek in. The end closest to your kitchen may then take on the more utilitarian tasks of the prep kitchen.