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? You might be wrong if you described a surface full of continuous high BTU gas burners. More professional 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 in 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.
Numerous new induction options were on display at Design & Construction Week’s 2019 events. DCW combines two top trade shows for building, design, and remodeling: 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.
Induction burners were added to gas ranges, allowing users to choose cooking methods, as seen on Fisher & Paykel and LG’s luxury Signature Kitchen Suite models. The induction tops 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 induction was 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, offered this minimalist induction with Spanish manufacturer TPB Tech. A third countertop company, Geoluxe from Thailand and Southeast Asia, presented it with a Korean technology partner.
Integrated induction has been on display at European trade shows for about a decade now and is finally starting to become available here. It offers a couple of distinct advantages to standard induction. First, it removes the glass rectangle, as the burners – or hobs, as they’re sometimes called – are buried in the counter’s surface. Second, it offers customizability where the cooking elements can be located. A disadvantage might be 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, 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.
Suppose you’re not building a new home or addition or ready to replace your countertops or appliances. In that case, you can still enjoy induction’s speed cooking benefits on a portable induction burner, but you may not want to return. To your regular cooktop afterward!