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Luxury in the Kitchen

By Mary Jo Peterson

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Snaidero's trademark circular kitchen, a true hub for meal preparation and socializing.

For those who truly love to cook, or those who simply wish to make a statement and have the space, La Cornue’s equipment, crafted by hand in France, offers timeless beauty. (Plan ahead, since construction and delivery can take three to four months.) The company’s Grand Palais 180, probably its signature product, is 70 inches long and includes La Cornue’s unique vaulted, sealed ovens, one gas and one electric, and surface cooking that includes one or more plaques—cast-iron surfaces with the heat concentrated in the center. All of this, constructed by hand in a variety of colors and finishes, certainly provides a unique focal point for any cook.

 

No discussion of surface cooking would be complete without a consideration of the grill. The taunts of yesteryear— “My SUV is bigger than yours,” or “my car is faster”—have, for many homeowners, given way to “my grill is bigger, hotter, and better.” While there are many contenders for this honor, the Kalamazoo Gourmet Grills probably top the list. The company’s built-in Bread Breaker Dual-Fuel is its most popular, capable of up to 154,000 BTU’s when using gas, and adaptable for use with wood or charcoal as well. However, if you really want the highest BTU output, the gas- only version adds a searing burner to take it up to 176,000 BTU’s, and that should surely top the list for pure power.

Many feel that induction cooking has at last arrived as an electric answer to gas, and Viking has a winner in this category. Put simply, an induction element, or what we think of as a ”burner,” is a high-frequency electromagnet that transfers energy into the metal of, for example, a cast-iron skillet. That transferred energy causes the metal—the cooking vessel—to become hot. An induction-cooking element is user-friendly in its ability to be instantly hot, finely adjusted, and instantly off—more like gas than traditional electric coils—and the fact that the surface of the cooktop does not get as hot, so is more easily cleaned and a bit less risky. For those who prefer true minimalist design in the kitchen—high performance without the “in-your-face” look of a pro-style range—induction may be enticing. For a unique approach to surface and oven spaces, an established choice for the luxury kitchen has always been the Aga, which continues to offer exceptional performance and beautiful design. While Aga has added models that function in ways similar to others in the appliance market, the original Aga radiant heat range is truly distinctive. Made of cast iron, the traditional Aga transfers heat evenly through the ovens and to the surface cooking stations, and whether the heat source is gas, oil, or electric, once the range is heated to proper temperature, very little energy is required to maintain it. A unique Aga feature is the fact that there are no dials or adjustments to be made; each oven or surface element is internally heated to the appropriate temperature for its cooking task.

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