February 15 2013
Lucia van der Post
If you have a chef in the house, somebody whose idea of bedside reading is a book by Skye Gyngell, Tom Aikens or Nigel Slater, then he or she might love some high-performance kit that will make them keener than ever to rattle the pots and pans. For Electrolux has launched a new state-of-the-art range that brings the sort of appliances more usually found in professional kitchens into the domestic sphere. If you’ve ever wondered how grand restaurants produce such good food at speed, at least some of the answer lies in the calibre of the tools they use.
Called Grand Cuisine, it is the first and only professional cooking system designed for the home, and will enable foodies and amateur chefs to use techniques such as “cook and chill” and “sous-vide”.
There are nine products in all, of which the most exciting seem to be the Blast Chiller (that’s what they use on MasterChef when ice creams are made in 20 minutes flat and the panna cotta doesn’t need hours to set) and the Stand Mixer, which is much faster, stronger and more versatile than the usual domestic models.
The Blast Chiller (third picture, £12,000) does what its name suggests: rapidly brings down the temperature of foods and liquids. It can freeze them so fast that ice crystals don’t have time to form, which is what spoils taste and texture. A bottle of champagne can be chilled from room temperature to the optimum 8º in 17 minutes. The Stand Mixer (second picture, £1,995) does everything from kneading bread dough and making pasta to whisking egg-whites. Its quietness belies its power – it may not sound too different from your own model, but believe me, it is.
Then there is the Gas Hob (£7,800), which is well… a gas hob, but bigger, so you can slide pans around and have several on the go at once. The Surround Induction Zone (first picture, £6,360) takes a big wok and is designed for cooking fast, crispy dishes, while the Induction Zone (£13,200) is a large, glass surface, every part of which can be used for cooking. It heats up instantly (a litre of water boils in a minute) and can be easily controlled.
The Precision Vacuum Sealer (£6,360) seems to me the least likely to be used in the home. It seals food in airtight bags either for cooking at low heat in a water bath (sous-vide) or for preserving – strawberries can be picked in the summer, for example, and vacuum sealed to keep them fresh.
A great deal of technology has gone into all the products, so except for the Stand Mixer, which is available at Selfridges, they are being sold through a bespoke programme. See the website for details.