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issue: August 2007 APPLIANCE Magazine

41st Annual Cooking Report
Cooking and Looking Smart

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An APPLIANCE Staff Feature

Consumers around the world continue their love affair with higher-end appliances, especially in their showcase kitchens, and appliance makers are eager to provide cooking appliances that have stunning looks, gourmet performance, and a high IQ.

The versatile grill from Evo Inc. is designed to turn cooking into entertainment, inside or outside, in a residential or commercial setting.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, cooking appliances are the functional focus and often the design centerpiece of the kitchen. The maturing of the premium appliances trend is opening new opportunities for OEMs to bring their creative talents fully to bear in the cooking realm. Products are being differentiated in every aspect, from the cabinet on the outside to the controls to the very technology used to create heat.

The de facto standard finish for premium appliances is stainless steel. However, vibrant colors have always been available for premium, even heavy-duty commercial-style appliances. Today, more consumers are daring to commit to vibrant color on kitchen fixtures, and colorful alternatives to stainless ranges are becoming common. OEMs from around the globe showed off new color options at this year’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas.

Dacor launched a colored-glass front on its wall ovens three years ago, and for 2007, it expanded the colored glass to a full line of appliances under the Preference brand name. K/BIS also saw an exhibition by Viking Range Corp., which is relaunching the St. Charles brand of kitchen cabinetry. This all-steel line of cabinets will be offered in 24 planned colors, and Viking’s kitchen appliances will come in matching colors.

Prizer-Painter Inc., once a contract manufacturer of commercial appliances for Garland and other brands, launched BlueStar commercial-style appliances for the residential market in 2002. Prizer had a history of finishing expertise, and in the 1990s it developed a significant two-coat/one-fire powder-coating system. In 2007, that finishing expertise gives it the ability to offer 190 color choices in its BlueStar ranges—the most of any range OEM. If that’s still not enough, BlueStar will finish a range in custom colors as well.

“More than ever, consumers are looking to express themselves through their kitchen design. With a palette of 190 different colors…BlueStar offers an unprecedented opportunity for customization and personal expression,” says Keith Wolf, vice president of marketing. In fact, Wolf adds, most of those 190 colors have already been ordered. Clearly, there is a wide range of tastes in kitchen décor.

European ranges can have sophisticated color choices. For example, La Cornue’s handmade Château ranges can be finished in rich shades such as British racing green and Eggplant.

Tecnogas, a member of the Antonio Merloni Group based in Italy,    ­is taking a more lighthearted approach to the Allegro Fornello, or “cheerful gas cooker,” a freestanding range launched in June. The range aims to bring more cheerfulness into the kitchen through the innovative use of color. A combination of lids and flame diffusers in different colors and materials is interchangeable with the Series II gas burners supplied by Sabaf. The appliance even allows the homeowner to change out these cooker elements to match changing kitchen décor. Engineering the appliance capitalized on the unique supply relationship the OEM established last year with Sabaf. Under the agreement, Tecnogas not only buys components from Sabaf (such as tabs, thermostats, burners, and oven hinges), there is also a higher degree of cooperation between the companies, including comarketing activities to promote products such as the Allegro Fornello.

Cooking can be a great way to entertain. Restaurants put special equipment in full view of patrons to bring flair to food preparation; consumers are just as interested in bringing cooking drama and
entertainment into their homes. Evo Inc. (Beaverton, OR, U.S.) offers its versatile grill in models to accommodate both user segments. Foodservice professionals in various culinary institutes and fine hotels use its NSF-certified commercial-grade models. Professional models have 700 sq in. of ceramic-coated steel cooking surface, which is heated underneath using dual circular gas burners that produce temperatures between 225° and 670°F. A central burner is 10 in. in diameter and heats the center of the work surface; a 20-in. burner heats the outer cooking surface. The burners combine to produce up to 48,000 Btu and provide up to seven hours of cooking time on a single propane tank. The circular flattop cooking station can be used for indoor and outdoor presentation cooking events, allowing the chef to be center stage with an audience all around.

Home users can also put the grills inside or outside, where they lend themselves to group-participation cooking events, such as pizza parties. The home unit has the same performance as the commercial grill. 


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