Whether you're Paleo, vegan or something in between, today's luxury kitchen appliances are designed to let you individualize everything from color to cooking method.
"There's a paradigm shift to personalization in the kitchen," says Christopher von Nagel, president and chief executive officer of BSH Home Appliances Corp. North America.
BSH, which makes the Bosch, Gaggenau and Thermador brands, and more than 500 other exhibitors showed off their wares at this year's three-day Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, held in Las Vegas. Walking through the crowd of more than 100,000 dealers, builders, architects, designers and suppliers, it became apparent that anyone shopping for a new kitchen should be prepared to make a lot of decisions, because the choices are overwhelming.
Among the highlights:
Cooking in color
While there's still plenty of stainless, colored appliances are back in a big way.
"Some people want to make a statement," says Valentina Bertazzoni, director of style and branding for her family's company.
"You need a focal point, and cooking is a focal point," she says, standing near Bertazzoni's bright-orange 48-inch range.
French manufacturer La Cornue tapped designer Suzanne Kasler to create some Parisian-inspired colors for its handmade ranges. The result was 10 new offerings in soft shades, including rose-pink. Still, the new colors are a drop in the paint bucket for the company, which has more than 8,000 configurations, colors, finishes and measurements available.
Aga, owned by Middleby Corp., advertised a five-step "build your own" range with a choice of fuel types; options for two-, three-, five- or seven-oven configurations; and 15 enamel finishes, including British racing green, pistachio, duck-egg blue, aubergine and heather. One matching collection included a range, vent hood, dishwasher and refrigerator in dark red.
Other coordinating kitchen options came from Northstar Appliances, a division of Elmira Stove Works, known for retro-looking wares. It showed a selection of modern appliances in 1950s styling that included a buttercup-yellow microwave, refrigerator and range.
If you think slow food means Crock Pot and quick dinner means microwave, get ready to be amazed by the choice of new, customized appliances.
Viking, also owned by Illinois-based Middleby, debuted a new, 30-inch Professional TurboChef Speedcook double wall oven that incorporates a high-speed commercial cooking technique to prepare foods as much as 15 times faster than conventional ovens.
The top oven circulates heated air at up to 60 mph, cooking a 12-pound turkey in 42 minutes instead of four hours, the company says. It is pre-programmed with over 400 cooking profiles, and offers modes to bake, roast, broil, air-crisp, toast, dehydrate, microwave and defrost.
The bottom unit functions as either a convection or warming oven.
Gaggenau, meanwhile, showed off its new 400 series combi-steam oven that features a sous-vide function to regulate temperatures from 120 to 200 degrees for long, slow cooking in a sealed bag. The oven also has what the company claims is the first automatic cleaning system.
At Thermador, the showstopper was the massive, 60-inch-wide Pro Grand range. It features six burners and the option of a grill, or a grill and griddle. You can choose between two convection ovens, or an arrangement that features a standard convection oven, a steam/convection oven and a warming drawer.
With all the choices, there's one decision you won't have to make if you pick True Manufacturing's residential upright refrigerator-freezer: whether to have an in-the-door ice and water dispenser. The new 48-inch model, and the 42-inch introduced last year, have no ice maker at all. The company says that's because freezers don't produce the same clear ice as True's stand-alone ice machines. What the side-by-side refrigerator-freezers do offer are dual compressors, sleek stainless interiors and interior LED lighting.
Customization has been around for a while with Thermador's "Culinary Preservation Centers," which allows customers to mix refrigerator, freezer and wine storage columns. Drawing a crowd this year were their unique finishes, including a custom, glossy, blue ombre sheen on a pair of wine columns flanked by a refrigerator and freezer.
Also on display was a combo that looked like a contemporary piece of furniture. It housed a 24-inch wine column, 30-inch fridge and 30-inch freezer — the latter two with wooden door panels carved with stylized tree branches. A thick cabinet made from stained alder wood wrapped all three units.
For quick cooling, home chefs can use the Freddy from Irinox of Italy, which can blast-chill and shock-freeze foods, while also converting to an oven for low-temperature roasting.
Shock freezing has been used commercially for decades because it preserves an item in under three hours, instead of the 20 hours it takes in a standard freezer. The method locks in moisture and prevents large ice crystals from forming in foods, helping to preserve flavor, nutrients, texture and color.
Blast chilling stalls bacteria growth while preserving the moisture in food; it triples the time food will keep in the fridge. And, as an added bonus, it can quickly chill wine, which means that some decisions, like whether to serve something white or sparkling, can be put off until the last minute.