WOLF has enhanced its cooktops for more range in controlling heat. “The true simmer goes down low enough where the heat doesn’t dip and rise again. You can melt chocolate over an open flame. You can make butter sauces without scorching.”
New generation of appliances suits varied cooking styles
Today’s kitchen trends are also on a cook’s wish list: convection steam ovens with gourmet cooking features; burners that simmer and sear without burning; induction cooking tops; minimalist-designed appliances with smart features; and refrigeration that keeps food longer.
However, at the product launch of Sub-Zero and Wolf at the Westey F. Bakke headquarters in Wisconsin, the chefs said consumers asked for something more basic: Should they go gas, electric or induction?
Justin Thorpe, Sub Zero and Wolf’s corporate chef, explained that the mark of a good cooking appliance is the heat control.
“People think cooking is on the high end—how hot it goes or how many BTUs (British Thermal Unit or the amount of heat created by burning), he said. “If you look at cooking, only 50 percent is done at the high end. Many are done at the low end. A true simmer that does well in the low and medium ranges is just as powerful as cooking things on a high range. There are so many things you can reduce and cook at lower temperatures. When you cook rice, you bring it up to a boil that’s quick. Then take it down for a simmer and it sits for 15 to 20 minutes. That can be a big mess or get sticky or have a perfectly cooked rice.”
The type of range depends on the user’s cooking style. Thorpe explained, “The gas range is for the cook who is experienced, cooks intuitively. The electric oven is for people who want the different modes and accessory modes like the bake stone, the dehydrator, pro cooking and multiple rack cooking. They don’t have to think about anything. They put food in, hit the timer and the food comes out nice and even. People should look at how (they) cook and the types of food (they) cook.”
In cooking which requires high heat, Thorpe recommended the dual stacked gas burner (two burners in one). “You have a nice output of a high setting, then you can go down to a simmer that drops immediately and there is no in between temperature.”
Corporate chef Joel Chesebro point at out that induction cooking is becoming mainstream. The New York Times likens induction cooking to the “iPad” of the kitchen. The induction cooktop is powered by an electromagnet to heat iron or steel cookware. It is more energy-efficient than gas or electric cooking because it cooks faster and loses less heat.
“Induction cooking is more practical,” said Chesebro. “The flat surface makes it easy to clean. It won’t consume as much energy as a large gas burner would and it’s easier to control than the electric. The electric top still has limitations on how quickly it heats up and cooks down, but not with induction. But that’s not to say that what we can do an gas, we can’t do on the induction or the electric. We can accomplish the same things.”
Ideal for families
The induction burner is more precise; it provides low heat required of cooking sauces and chocolates. It also requires less stove space. Chesebro said it’s ideal for families and work gets done faster.”
Still, he added, there are people who love working on gas cooktop not only because it’s less expensive, but they are also attracted to the visceral experience of working with flames.
For people who love to bake and roast, the induction burner is equipped with enhanced conveniences and baking modes for all sorts of lifestyles. Vegans can dehydrate their ingredients through the cooker. Jews observing the custom of no cooking on Saturday or a religious holiday can rely on the oven by turning it on continuously without too much energy consumption
“We have warming drawers to hold the food and let the meat rest,” Thorpe said.
The new generation of induction burners reflects modern aesthetics. Condominium living and compact homes have driven designers to produce slimmer models. Their streamlined stainless-steel exteriors can either stand out in the kitchen or be seamlessly integrated into the decor.
Wolf’s new generation dual convection oven (an oven with two fans to even out the temperature and to circulate the air) enhanced the technology with the Dual Verticross convection. These are two columns of corner fans that provide the best heat saturation and distribution.
“With the dual convection oven, you can do multiple rack cooking, and you don’t have to rotate any trays,” said Thorpe.
Then there’s the convection steam oven which combines steam and convection to achieve best results with minimal effort.
Chesebo said that the convection steam oven is user-friendly with the new smart interfaces inspired by the design of the smartphones.
“You can do a wide spectrum of cooking, baking and roasting applications,” he said. “It appeals to many people. Home cooks have routines to follow. The convection steam oven can figure out which modes and which settings are best for our recipes. It not only simplifies the cooking process, but it also allow us to see the improved quality the way the engineering works, using steam and convection in consonance with each other to achieve a desired result.”
Keeping food fresh
Meanwhile, Sub-Zero refrigerators have come out with new models that include air purification systems which will reduce odors, germs and ethylene gas emitted by vegetables that cause rotting. They contain a special drawer that provides the right storage conditions for meats and produce. The low temperature but high humidity control keeps food fresh for longer periods.
There are accompanying cards that provide tips on the right way to store food.
Chesebro cited that Sub-Zero’s strength is the dual refrigeration system. “The refrigeration and freezer are completely separate from each other. You maintain the dryness of the air of the freezer and persevere the proper humidity in the refrigerator. You don’t get the temperature fluctuation from systems that pump the air through the freezer. That is what makes the Sub Zero special. The breakdown of the cell wall structure (from the vegetables) makes the food spoil. When you keep the temperature and humidity constant, you can keep a head of lettuce and it won’t rot.”