Kitchens have stepped into the media spotlight in the past 12 months with shows such as MasterChef driving the trend towards gourmet cooking in the home. Such is the passion of home cooks to replicate dishes seen on television and in restaurants that the demand for new generation kitchen appliances that more closely replicate the performance and professional results of their commercial counterparts is surging.
Appliance brands such as Smeg Australia have taken homeowners into the realm of custom designed kitchens, where consumers are able to personalise their cooking appliances to reflect culinary preferences. A homeowner who loves to entertain and has a preference for healthy food for example, might select a dedicated steam oven, a multifunction oven and a combination microwave/multifunction oven.
Induction cooktops are a relatively new and growing trend with sales increasing by 42 per cent over the last year. Induction cooktops enable fast and energy efficient cooking and make for a cooler kitchen as the actual cooking vessel is heated, not the cooktop. They also offer a vast temperature range and control.
With recent magazine and newspaper articles showing celebrity chefs such as Matt Moran and Peter Evans in their home kitchens with domestic appliances from brands such as Smeg, home cooks are feeling increasingly confident they can replicate the professional cooking results they see on television and in restaurants.
And to further assist the home cook, appliances such as Smeg’s top-of-the-line Linear multifunction oven has new technology such as Smart Chef whereby the appliance’s controls work almost intuitively in prompting the user to select the correct settings. There are pre-set times and temperatures for familiar dishes such as beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, pizza and cakes, and LED prompts to advise the best shelf position. Additionally, users can personalise recipe functions in the control panel to incorporate settings for their own favourite dishes.
Other key trends in the world of kitchen appliances are easy clean options plus ergonomic design.
The Smeg Linear and Classic 60cm ovens all provide an assisted cleaning function - either Vapour Clean or pyrolytic cleaning. Vapour Clean requires just a small amount of water and washing detergent placed in the indentation on the oven floor and sprayed on the walls of the cavity. The Vapour Clean programme turns this into a cleansing steam that softens all the grease and grime on these surfaces, making it easier to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Pyrolytic cleaning is a programme that reduces all grease, food splatters and oven grime to a fine dust on the oven floor by virtue of a 90-minute cleaning programme at up to 500ºC.
Ergonomics is also a key feature in kitchen design with more consumers seeking out appliances such as the Smeg Horizon dishwasher. The 90cm wide kitchen appliance has a single level basket and is just 578mm high, enabling it to be installed under-bench at waist height removing the need to stoop and bend to access the basket.
Additionally, Smeg ovens have been designed with easy grip handles and control knobs that are simple to operate with wet and slippery hands and easy-to-read displays.