By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
City & Shore Magazine
The next time you shop for new appliances you may be baffled by the choices. Both refrigerators and ovens now come with easy-open French doors. Steam ovens are becoming more popular. Induction cooking is replacing the typical radiant cooktop. Microwave ovens have left their place above the stove and moved to under the counter. Appliances continue to disappear into the cabinetry.
Bill Feinberg, president of Allied Kitchen & Bath in Fort Lauderdale, and Chris Chadwick, sales manager of Coral Springs Appliance Center, gave us insight on what’s hot in 2016 kitchen appliances.
1. French doors
Manufacturers are offering French doors in both refrigerators and ovens. Feinberg says French door refrigerators with freezers are gaining more fans. They work well in galley kitchens because the doors are smaller and some have 180-degree hinges. The French door ovens resemble those in commercial kitchens and allow the cook the convenience of opening the wall oven with one hand.
Samsung has introduced the Family Hub, a high-tech refrigerator with a built-in computer screen. It has built-in cameras that take pictures every time you close the door so you can see what you need, online grocery shopping, music streaming of Pandora, recipes and a shared family calendar.
GE Profile’s Café series offers a refrigerator with a built-in brewing system. “It heats water and can brew it right in your refrigerator freeing the countertop,” Chadwick says. You can schedule heating the water through an app on your smartphone. It has four settings that are programmed to have the right temperature for the most common foods and drinks.
Another big trend is the column appliance. Refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers can be configured to fit the space and are flush with the countertop.
3. Induction cooking
Induction cooking, first introduced in 1979, was discontinued in the 1980s because consumers rejected the idea. Manufacturers improved the product and solved the repair problems. Now it is popular, especially in South Florida, because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. It is also good for homes with small children because when the pot is removed the burner is no longer hot.
“Induction cooking is definitely on the rise as a cooktop or as part of the range,” Chadwick says. “It is particularly popular with those who love to cook and cannot have gas because their apartment or Homeowners Association will not allow gas tanks. Induction is the next best thing. You can boil water in three to five minutes because it simmers very quickly.”
Chadwick says a new innovation is combining the induction with an electric oven. This combination wasn’t possible in the past because induction cooktops were deeper than radiant cooktops. Nearly every manufacturer now offers the induction range, including Viking, Wolf, Miele, Electrolux, Samsung and GE Profile.
“Induction is very safe and very efficient,” Feinberg says. “Those that can’t have gas should consider induction. I don’t see a lot of service issues. Last year at the Sub-Zero Wolf factory I was talking to the chef that runs the kitchen and he said he loves induction more than gas. You can do everything you can do with gas.”
A lot of people shied away from induction because they thought they had to buy a new set of pots and pans. Induction requires a magnetic pot such as those made with cast iron, steel and magnetic stainless steel. Ceramic-clad pots, such as Le Creuset, also work. If you aren’t sure if your pans will work, take a magnet and see if it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
For many years we all placed our microwaves over the stove or range. Today that’s passé.
“Most of our customers with a big kitchen no longer want the microwave over the range,” Chadwick says. “They want impressive, large commercial hoods. Microwaves are becoming less important in all kitchens and are used mainly for reheating. They are tucked under the island in a pullout drawer.”
5. Steam ovens
Cooking with steam and humidity is becoming more popular as our culture becomes more concerned with health, Feinberg says. Steam retains the vitamins and minerals and dry food becomes juicy again.
The steam oven combined with convection is a good option because you can brown and cook at the same time, Chadwick says. Most major manufacturers now offer steam ovens.
“You can cook a 14-pound turkey in 90 minutes,” she says. “You can put two-day old hard bread in the steam oven and it comes back to life.”
6. Integrated appliances
Chadwick and Feinberg agree that people still prefer stainless steel appliances, but those who want a sleeker more contemporary look are covering their appliances with panels that match the cabinetry.
Allied Kitchen & Bath’s new showroom: 3484 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park, 954-556-3751, alliedkitchenandbath.com.
Coral Springs Appliance Center: 3500 Coral Ridge Drive, Coral Springs, 954-752-3880, csappliances.com.