Home cooking has never been so – well, hot! Right at this very moment, a delicious melting pot of travel, pop culture and the changing face of contemporary Australia is bubbling with new flavour combinations and culinary techniques to try. And as we lift our gastronomic game, appliances have been quick to follow. “We are definitely experiencing a cooking phenomenon at the moment,” says Fisher & Paykel’s Peter Russell. “The hype will eventually wane, but the bar has been lifted and will stay lifted!”
PRACTICAL & PRECISE
Cooking appliance technology is advancing rapidly, to reflect our increasingly adventurous culinary pursuits. Temperature variations are shrinking to just one or two degrees, and ovens are getting smarter, making it easy for us to attempt that four-cheese soufflé we saw on our favourite cooking show.
Autopilot settings, available on some Bosch models, allow you to simply select a cooking program, enter in a few vital statistics and let your oven take care of the algorithms. “The function means you can invest all your energy into the flavour of a dish. Once it is in the oven, you can put up your feet,” says Vanessa Coussias of Bosch and Siemens.
Gas cooktops have always boasted instant heat but now offer greater control over low temperatures. Independently operated double- and triple-burner rings, featured on Ilve’s ‘H-series’ cooktop, allow for the most delicate heat change.
Induction cooktops also allow absolute control at low temperatures. The latest versions, such as Gaggenau’s ‘CX480’, include booster settings that halve the time it takes to boil water, as well as handy zoneless induction, where any sized pot can be placed anywhere on the cooktop.
As the kitchen continues to meld with the living space, aesthetics have never been so pertinent. Electrolux’s stainless-steel ‘E:Line’ oven lends chic polish to the cooking area and boasts a clever self-cleaning function. “Pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens are becoming more accessible,” says Scott King of Electrolux. They work by burning off grease and grime at an extreme temperature for approximately two hours, which eliminates the need for toxic cleaning chemicals.
For a kitchen that shines, an effective rangehood is key, with new sensor operated models offering absolute efficiency. Fisher & Paykel’s ‘Izona VentSurface’ rangehood activates automatically to eliminate odours, smoke and steam. Meanwhile, some models, such as Miele’s ‘Lumen Décor’, employ multi-coloured LED lighting to set the mood.
As we draw on cooking inspiration from all over the world, our equipment has to support the searing heat of a stir-fry, the slow control
of a boeuf bourguignon and every dish in between. Enter a range of gadgets designed to make life easier in our search for global gastronomic perfection. Electrolux’s ‘Ebony’ gas cooktop features an offset wok burner, so you can create sizzling Asian cuisine
without compromising on cooktop space.
Teppanyaki plates are also taking cooktops by storm. “Ilve’s teppanyaki plate combination is our best-selling model,” says Daniel Bertuccio of Ilve. “It’s basically an indoor barbecue that can do anything from fried rice to fish, with beautifully seared results.”
In ovens, combination steam ovens are further extending our recipe repertoire. Models like Miele’s ‘DGC 5080’ employ both dry heat and steam to provide vitamin-rich, clean flavours as well as crisp and crunchy textures.
We’re not only changing how we cook, we’re also adjusting the way we actually use our kitchen. “As we become more empowered as cooks, we are demanding more intuitive cooking spaces,” says Peter Russell of Fisher & Paykel. “We’re no longer sticking to the confines of the working triangle – the traditional configuration between fridge, sink and cooktop – but dictating how we want to work in our space.” As a result, Fisher & Paykel has released a modular range of appliances in a standard 90cm format, to allow people to whip up their ideal kitchen layout.
As cooking is elevated from chore to sport, friends and family want in on the action. That means more hands on deck but it also means more traffic to control. Neff’s ‘Slide & Hide’ oven features an ergonomic door which slides neatly under for easy access. Recirculation rangehoods, like Ilve’s ‘Epsilon’ model, provide added flexibility – ducting to the outdoors is not required, so cooktops and extractors can be installed into the island bench, TV-chef style.
Induction cooktops possess the advantage of a cool-to-touch flat surface, which can act as a stand-in prep space. Meanwhile, even gas cooktops are heading this way with the release of Fisher & Paykel’s ‘Izona CookSurface’ featuring the world’s first retractable gas burners.