A kitchen appliance that can do everything. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? But what do aspiring domestic gods and goddesses really want? If you can believe the shows on TV, we’re all turning into professional chefs with stylish home kitchens, equipped with gleaming stainless steel high-tech kitchen appliances, from food steamers to warming drawers. But is increasing specialisation the only way we can picture how we will cook tomorrow? How will we furnish the large numbers of micro-apartments currently appearing in cities? There are alternatives to the further development of our kitchen technology: step forward the all-in-one kitchen.
Wizardry in the kitchen is currently limited to coffee machines and bread slicers that lower into the worktop, wall units with pull-out storage and dishwashers with slide-and-lift baskets to reduce the strain on the back. The key attraction of many of these appliances is that they disappear, creating surfaces with clean lines.
Because there’s one problem that all kitchen owners with somewhat limited space share: their fleet of appliances – toaster, ice-cream maker, air fryer, kettle & co – clogs up plug sockets and worktops. Not to mention all the wall units we need if our ovens, microwaves, steamers and warming drawers are to be positioned at an ergonomic height. Wouldn’t it be better to invent appliances that can do everything instead of specialised machines? Just think of the space we’d save!
Designer Alfredo Häberli very probably belongs to this generalist movement. FutureKitchen, his striking kitchen installation for LivingKitchen 2019, follows a degrowth philosophy – but instead of rejecting technology, it employs futuristic appliances like a cooking tablet, a kind of mobile hotplate.
But to tackle the lack of space, other concepts are also needed. The trend for a clean look and minimalist interior design calls for technological solutions that can be easily stowed away. Just as technological features in the rest of the home are becoming less prominent visually and well integrated, compact solutions could well be set to appear in the kitchen. In short, we need some magic in our kitchens.
The direction we’re heading in seems to have been set. With the shortage of living space in our cities, householders will have to do without some kitchen appliances or combine several functions in them. Thermomix shows how it’s done: it mixes and blends, weighs, chops, grinds, kneads, whisks, stirs, cooks and warms. It also comes with a large selection of recipes and can guide users through them step by step.
Multifunctionality is in. Manufacturers of kitchen appliances realised long ago that cooking is not just about meeting a basic need. Linking it with ideas such as health, time with friends and family, convenience and time and space savings is much more attractive. Demand for multifunctional kitchen appliances that offer users all these aspects is set to grow.
Modern stoves make life a lot easier for today’s kitchen users. The functions they offer include automatic timers, boil control features and low temperature cooking settings. Cooking with these ovens would be great fun – if it weren’t for the odours that are so often created in the process.
That’s why appliance manufacturers such as Bora and Elica are offering hobs with integrated extractors. With these appliances, the hob unit itself extracts the steam and odours from the pots, pans and casserole dishes.
The ‘NikolaTesla Libra’ hob from Elica goes one better – its integrated weighing scale means that ingredients can be weighed out straight into the pot, no matter how hot it is. Ingredients can simply be added one at a time during cooking.
Thanks to the innovative technology found in the Sharp AirStream Oven, cooking odors can also be eliminated directly in the oven, so that baking and roasting can be done on five levels at the same time, without transmitting any aromas or smells.
Extractor units can also be integrated into those aspects of the kitchen that serve a more decorative purpose. For example, Sirius offers an extractor hood that is integrated into a light fitting. The handmade ceramic housing of the light fitting is decorated with a copper, gold, silver or white coating. The round LED lamp beneath the housing provides the perfect level of illumination for cooking.
The ‘Skyline Edge’ ceiling lift hood by Berbel is a powerful extractor hood that doubles as an atmospheric light fitting. Operated by a remote control, the cable system enables this hood to be positioned at the desired height above the hob, where it safely extracts all grease particles and cooking odours. And ‘Skyline Edge Sound’ provides users with additional background music.
By partnering with high-end German Hi-Fi manufacturer T+A, Berbel has been able to integrate a sound system into this ceiling lift hood. If there is a media server, the sound system can be controlled via Wi-Fi using the T+A control app for iOS and Android devices. Alternatively, it can be controlled directly via Bluetooth technology.
For many people, their outlook on life shapes whether they prefer gas or electric hobs. Each type of hob has its advantages and disadvantages. But what if you could keep the option of having both kinds of hob? You can! With the mixed hobs from Vestel, for example, you can combine gas and electric as you choose.
You might, for instance, prefer to have three gas burners and one electric ceramic hotplate, or two gas burners and two induction or ceramic hotplates. These built-in mixed hobs from Vestel also offer a wide range of additional features to make cooking easier, such as timer functions or wok burners.
At the end of August, Sharp presented its 4-door fridge, the VacPac Pro. In addition to its rapid cooling function for wine, it also has an integrated vacuum sealer. If food is vacuum-packed correctly, it has a much longer shelf life and stays fresh for longer.
Food that has been sealed with the VacPac Pro is also suitable for gentle steam cooking. Indeed, the sous vide method, which was developed in France, retains much more of the food’s nutritional content and aroma than conventional cooking methods. The device will be launched in the European market next year.