House Proud – Serious Chef Requires Top-Notch Tools. London Free Press

If you love to cook, you probably already know it’s worth the investment to have the best tools at your disposal.  

The passable cook who sees food as mere fuel can get by just fine with run-of-the-mill appliances in the same way that you wouldn’t spend a thousand dollars on a set of golf clubs if you only planned to duff away in one or two games a year.

But there are appliances geared toward the serious culinary creator. If you dream of pulling a perfectly cooked, beautiful meal from your oven and presenting it to the “oohs” and “aahs” of friends and family, some manufacturers are working hard to make the process easier for you.

Thermador’s steam and convection oven boasts a moist, evenly heated environment for making your meals.

It offers three distinct cooking options: steam, convection and a combination of the two. Steaming naturally leads to more hydrated conditions for your edibles. Bye-bye dry bird. Steve Preiner, director of marketing for BSH Home Appliances, admits he’s no Susur Lee but he claims that even his own cooking has turned out spectacularly.

“This is for people who research the technology and want to mimic the experience you would get from a chef in a restaurant. It’s for the home pro cook or those who want to be.”

Preiner says retrofitting the oven is an easy task. It doesn’t require a water line. The steam is sourced from a refillable tank inside the unit. They’ve also given a lot of thought to where in the kitchen customers will install the steam and convection oven and offer trim kits to make them look virtually built-in.

“If you’re willing to relocate your microwave, that’s all the room you need. In fact, it fits in the space the size of a cut-out for a coffee maker. It’s easy to make it work.”

The steam and convection oven is just one of the higher-end appliances Thermador offers. Though they’ll cost you more, Preiner says they offer a more efficient method of cooking.

“Our induction stove has found its way into residential kitchens and it transfers the energy right to the pot, there’s no glass surface that gets heated up. With most gas ranges, only about 65% of the heat actually gets transferred to the pot. That’s a lot of lost heat. Our gas ranges have a ‘star’ burner that takes care of that. In Europe they’re big fans of induction because it transfers the energy right to the pot. It’s safe, too. If it doesn’t sense a minimum area of coverage it won’t turn on. If kids start pushing buttons or if you accidentally leave a spatula over it, nothing will happen.”

Lovers of induction also claim the vitamins and other good stuff in vegetables don’t get wasted. And if eliminating wastefulness is on your mind, Whirlpool is promoting the fresh-saving qualities of its new top-mount refrigerator.

It uses a carbon-based filter in its Freshflow produce preserver system that it says will virtually eliminate odours and reduce the ethylene gas that causes your veggies to spoil. Because of this, Whirlpool claims your carrots and celery will last 25% longer than usual. Everyone could use a little more longevity from their fresh foods.

Designers often advise that putting a good portion of your kitchen budget into appliances is a good investment because you tend to get what you pay for. And let’s face it, it’s a pain in the crisper to replace them every few years. But if you’re the Rachel Ray of your family, it might be worth it to kick it up a notch further. And the rest of us who are more cooking-challenged will wait eagerly for our dinner-party invitation.