Close your eyes for a moment. Picture yourself standing in a high-performance kitchen, sautéing ingredients for dinner on a professional-grade cooktop. What does it look like? If you described a surface full of continuous high BTU gas burners, you might be wrong. More professional chefs – and severe home chefs – are turning to induction cooking. Why?
There are several significant benefits to this magnet-based technology:
It is highly energy-efficient, both in its direct to pot cooking, and is not heating the kitchen while in use;
It is faster than gas or electric, reducing the time it takes to speed dinner to the table; It is safer than gasoline, as there’s no flame to catch a sleeve or dishtowel, and only the pot directly on top of it gets hot; It’s ideal for small spaces, as the smooth surface can double as counter space when not cooking; It’s much easier to clean, as food does not get baked onto its surface.
There were numerous new induction options on display at Design & Construction Week’s 2019 events. DCW combines two of the top trade shows for the building, design, and remodeling industries: The International Builders Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Last week more than 100,000 pros trekked through the massive Las Vegas Convention Center to see the latest and greatest appliances, fixtures, and other products.
There were induction burners added to gas ranges, giving users a choice of cooking methods, as seen on Fisher & Paykel and LG’s luxury Signature Kitchen Suite models. There were induction tops that communicated with their coordinating ventilation hoods (from Signature and Miele) so that the right speed and power would pull steam and smoke out of the kitchen. And there was induction built directly into the countertop, one of the latest trends to make it to the United States. (An architect touring the same booths observed that this technology came and went in the 1980s, too. Induction wasn’t as appreciated then as it is today.)
Two European tile companies, SapienStone, and Tau Ceramica were offering this minimalist induction in tandem with Spanish manufacturer TPB Tech. A third countertop company, Geoluxe from Thailand and Southeast Asia, offered it with a Korean technology partner.
Integrated induction has been on display at European trade shows for about a decade now and is finally, thankfully, starting to become available here. It offers a couple of distinct advantages to standard induction. First, it gets rid of the glass rectangle, as the burners – or hobs, as they’re sometimes called – are buried in the surface of the counter. Second, it offers customizability where the cooking elements can be located. A disadvantage might be in finding a local appliance professional to provide service, if necessary.
Porcelain is naturally heat resistant and can be used outdoors (unlike engineered quartz, which is currently the leading material for kitchen countertops). It has been offered in large, thin slabs for kitchen tops, also called sintered compact surfaces, and is gaining well-deserved popularity.
Go luxe, which was introduced two DCW shows ago, can also be used outdoors. It is made from natural minerals without resins and comes in honed or gloss finishes. It is recyclable for sustainable projects, as well.
If you’re not building a new home or addition, or you’re not ready to replace your countertops or appliances, you can still enjoy induction’s speed cooking benefits on a portable induction burner, but you may not want to go back. To your regular cooktop afterward!