I'm man enough to admit it doesn't quite deserve the title of full kitchen, but with cold food, water storage and a cooking element it at least deserves the title of kitchenette, right?
Cooking food in my van never ceases to amuse me. I'll be halfway through prepping some dinner and then think Rolls, you're throwing together a feed in the kitchen you built in the back of your car, are you serious m8?! Often I'm cooking immediately after surfing - scientifically proven to be when man is at his hungriest - the convenience of which is always pleasing.
I'm careful not to cook anything too pungent, particularly when the doors are closed. In the early days I once spilled a teaspoon of cumin and the scent, despite emanating from a relatively small amount of powder, remained long term and was powerful enough to permeate through to the driving cabin. Thankfully it's gone now but I learnt the hard way that, much like cooking with it, a small amount of cumin can go a very long way.
I built the pantry with a metal frame to minimise a frankly unavoidable fire hazard. I'm glad I did and it worked out really well for both food storage and cooking. The photos below are fairly self-explanatory:
The benchtop is a removable ply panel that I pull out and replace with a chopping board hanging above. This is good not only for cutting up veggies but for absorbing heat from the burner sitting on top.
Finding a perfectly flat park is a rarity, and presents a specific liability when trying to balance a pot or a pan on one's homemade alcohol stove. The chopping board setup ensures that no matter the gutter depth or camber of the road, I can balance the cooking surface with a spirit level and wedges of foil.
Staples in my pantry are mostly things with great shelf life like cereal, rice milk, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, tomato paste and the like. My spice box is absolutely chockers and theres usually lots of fresh veggies in the esky.
Healthy, easy, simple food, infinitely more satisfying out of the back of my van and with a view, rather than out of a restaurant kitchen with no windows.