High-Tech kitchen the latest advances in appliances
If you haven’t gone shopping for a new appliance in a while, hang onto your hats. They still heat and cool like they have always done, but technology, integration and customization means every home can have a custom kitchen that’s perfect for its chef du cuisine, who may also be known as mom or dad!
EVOLUTION OF STANDARD APPLIANCES
Homes now have more built-in appliances than ever before. The kitchen in the ‘40s and ‘50s had a fridge and stove; the ‘70s added the dishwasher, and the ‘80s gave us the microwave. Nowadays, in most well-designed homes, you can expect a wine fridge, a steam oven, and a built-in coffee maker, as well as ice makers, fridge and microwave drawers, induction cooking and speed ovens. Typically people shop for appliances every 10 to 12 years. You will realize that what you know about appliances is equivalent to what a flip phone user knew about a smart phone.
Let’s start with technology. Induction cooking, which has been around commercially for 30 years, has entered the residential market. The technology is complex, but quite simply the heat generated in the pot (not the cook surface) uses magnet fields. Water boils in short order and induction has the subtly of gas in that it is hot (or not) with the flick of a switch, and can achieve a very low simmer. It is perfect for small spaces because the cook surface does not get hot, so it is free for serving or other tasks as quickly as the pot is gone.
On the topic of heat, most people are familiar with convection heating, which means fans blow the heat throughout the entire oven for a more even, faster cook time. Add connected technology and you’ve got the culinary centre popular on the Jenn-Air ovens. For people like me with limited cooking skills, simply select how you would like to cook the meal: rare to well done, the cookware, place a probe in the food and leave to join the party. The oven then will send you text messages when it’s time to come back to baste or alter the protein. When that perfect fillet becomes leftovers, the countertop microwave, which crowded your countertop or hung over your range, has now moved to a tucked in, out-of-view drawer. Or for a moist warmup, you can reheat in the steam oven. It’s perfect for vegetables, fish and reheating as well as being a very healthy and delicious way to make a meal.
GROCERY LIST GENERATOR
The innovations are endless…there are some fridges currently that scan the bar codes of food you consume, generate grocery lists and recipes based on what you‘ve got in the fridge. The astonishing innovation in appliances has only just begun.
The next important shift in appliances is individualization. Now you can customize the kitchen with only the appliances you use. For example, if I don’t have a freezer as part of my fridge, I could opt to have two columns of refrigeration and an icemaker. The freezer isn’t part of a fridge any longer. With columns, you can have two 18-inch fridges and one freezer; whatever suits your family and lifestyle. It is also true of heating. You can select a two-burner induction cook top, next to a griddle, next to a wok-shaped cooktop. Why have four of the same burner if you don’t use them? Buy what you will use, and create the cook stations that are right for the home chef.
The visual preference in open-concept spaces is to hide the appliances behind cabinet and pantry doors, so everything is completely flush. The range is the only element exposed, and with the combination of metals and colours available in ranges, as well as the cooking combination you prefer, it has both visual and functional appeal.
The appliances are the heart of the kitchen and are where every good kitchen design begins. It’s worth spending time exploring what is possible. Get the right appliances with the right technology to suit the way you cook and live, and in the esthetic you prefer. Gone are the days when the big decision was black or white – or golden harvest and avocado! Thank goodness!
Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner