Kate Bailey, National Showroom Manager for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, shares the latest trends in in kitchen products and functionality.
Q: What are consumers looking for generally in today’s kitchens, and what are they looking for in kitchen appliances such as ranges in particular?
A: Kitchens are the entertainment hub of the home making larger, more open kitchens a must-have! Open space planning is so hot that, in many homes, the space previously reserved for the dining room is making way for a larger open kitchen floor plan with commercial grade appliances that can serve a large group. For example, Electrolux (shown left) now offers cooking products for the home that incorporate design and inspiration from their commercial cooking offerings. Advancements in technology are also taking over the kitchen. Touchless faucets from vendors like Delta, dimmable LED under cabinet lighting, and appliances featuring intuitive controls like the Wolf “M” Series are go-to products for today’s kitchen.
Q: What kinds of features are important on ovens and ranges?
A: How you use your cooking products should lead your decision making on what features to consider. The choice between a gas or electric range is oftentimes dictated by the home’s access to gas. Gas ranges tend to be a chef’s favorite because they allow more accuracy speed and control in cooking when compared to electric. Induction cooking is also popular because of its instant heat and precision. Improved safety and energy savings are also perks of induction cooking.
Q: Do you see home cooking making a comeback these days?
A: Yes, we definitely believe that more people are cooking at home. Food brings family and friends together and preparing a meal can be a great shared memory! We see more cooking at home as part of the healthy eating movement, because of cost savings, and also because entertaining at home can be so fun. And for those who want more guided assistance with meal preparation, quick access to helpful information is also available with smart appliances. One example is the Jenn-Air Culinary Center (shown above), a gourmet guide within the oven itself that directs meal preparation for more than 50 food options, including desired doneness and even the type of pan used. Developed with the direction of food scientists, professional chefs and home culinary artists, the Culinary Center features touchscreen technology – the same as used in smartphones – and a full color LCD display with an image-based cooking manual. Not sure what medium rare prime rib looks like? The Culinary Center will display a picture and guide you through the cooking process. The Culinary Center is available for single and double wall ovens, with or without convection and microwave combinations.
Q: What is the particular appeal of gas for many consumers, and what new features are you seeing in gas kitchen appliances?
A: The technology of using gas to fuel a range, cooktop or oven is not new and remains unchanged. However, the benefits are certainly still very important to anyone who knows their way around a kitchen. In a nutshell, gas provides fast, efficient cooking, and precise control. Additionally, most gas model ranges boast higher maximum BTU outputs when compared with their electric counterparts. Likewise, when a long, low simmer is needed, gas can do the trick. Finally, with gas, there is always the perk of being able to use the range during a power outage!
Kate Bailey, National Showroom Manager for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, oversees the strategic direction for Ferguson’s 270 showrooms nationwide. She has more than 10 years of experience in the kitchen and bath industry and a passion for faucets, fixtures, lighting and appliances.