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Cooking products, tablescapes: Trends & Designs launch at AD Home Design Show

AD Home Design Show Products & Trends
AD Home Design Show Products & Trends
Leeann Lavin

Like a kid in a candy store, cooking lovers and “dining entertainers” might think they’re in a dream at this year’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show, where row upon row of indoor and outdoor cooking products dazzle like jewelry and glamorous tablescapes conjure food and drink fantasies.

Most of the designs are inspired by nature: color, texture, woods, flowers and succulent plants, and light.

This Examiner attended the show’s all-day press preview to garner these cooking trend-breaking insights to consider for gourmet home design:

Cook this; Grill that

Cooking trends and products for the indoor kitchen:

The trends cited by this year’s top kitchen product manufacturers included:

* Foodies want to feel professional in the products they use

· “Character-driven” designs were cited by Kim Lewis, BlueStar’s celebrity spokesperson. (

· “Good designs say who you are without saying a word,” she notes. The dimunitive former star of ABC TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Lewis said she loves color and Prizer Hoods offers 750 different colors. Their sister company, BlueStar offers PowR™ oven featured in the Pantone® Color of the Year, “Radiant Orchid.” Lewis designed the Prizer Hoods booth. She said the display was inspired by art galleries.

· Muted tone on tone, white on white blends with most every décor, according to Lewis, and add a pop of a solid color with appliances or countertops.

· Accent a neutral kitch with “Vagabond” colors: Moroccan jewel tones in hot pink, emerald green and cobalt blue, Radiant Orchid. Lewis said “Color is joy and these deep rich colors show an awareness and appreciation for other cultures.” And she added, “The softer side of black is grey.” (no “shades-of” jokes)

· Luxury cooktop hoods and customization

· Variety of metal finishes – no more stainless steel. Think copper to polished and mirrored brass. Lewis’ favorite is polished or brushed brass. “It says, luxury and glamour.”

· Open floor plans – so cooks can be with the family

· Modular Induction cooktop systems – most every manufacturer showcased extraordinary, high performance models that are powerful, energy-efficent gas power burners that allow for even heat across the pot or pan surfaces. The modular systems feature not only the burners but also griddle/plancha (meaning a flat-top surface) and induction wok and multi ring burndrs up to alost 60,000 BTUs. The cooktops feature full-color touchscreens displays that are self-mapping to recognize pot shapes, size, and cooking time. They are safe: will turn off if nothing on them and if it detects a pot is boiling over. In-counter steamers and deep fryers as part of the cooktops. And cool, space-age like retractable, ventless, downdraft ventilation that disappear with the touch of a button for easy storage and more room under the cooktop for pots and pans. BlueStar, Bosch, Gauggenau, Thermador, Jenn-Air, and Bertazzoni.

· Wall Ovens – models with professional performance features including, three cooking solutions: Steam, electric, convection and steam, convection combination, automated cooking modes with convection (to allow speedy cooking i.e. 14-pound turkeys cook in 90 minutes), infrared broilers, temperature probes, integrated temperature-controlled artisan baking stone. BlueStar featured two chefs to demonstrate their oven and stone. Baker and cookbook author, Zoe Francois extolled the benefits of her signature 5-minute breads and crusty pizzas – (with samples for the press), the baking stone and oven, saying the trapped steam cooks the bread better – making a crispy crust.

· Chef and author (and comedian) Suvir Saran, regaled the group with cooking anecdotes. His Indian cuisine meets farm-food story as told in his book, “Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country” make him the ideal dinner companion and wise choice to demo the BlueStar ovens. Saran also teased the group with a semi-announcement: he will soon open a restaurant in San Francisco.

· Bosch highlighted its European design pedigree as it debuted an entirely new kitchen line wit more than 100 new products. The company demonstrated its Benchmark Wall Oven’s built-in flush installation that is ADA compatible, saying its ergonomic access and left/right swing door is ideal for an again boomer generation. The universal cutout design makes it easy to replace and upgrade, too. Bosch’s Benchmark Steam Oven cooks food they claim is healthier, and “no flavor transfer” so one can cook “cod and bread” at the same time... Can’t see how this could be, though - food “fragrance” is a key element of food’s sensuality. Love this, though: “Simplicity is the new luxury,” according to Bosch.

· Gaggenau touted the company’s Black Forest heritage of 330 years and its pride of German engineering. Indeed, the booth was an efficient, robust kitchen demonstration of technology and lifestyle. Its single ovens are handleless, automatic door openings, self cleaning with rotisserie spit and the baking stone. Their super big ovens have no “door dots” because they use four layers of glass! Of special mention is Gaggenau’s refrigeration systems: modular refrigerators and freezers - hygienic, motorized shelves that go up and down with a touch of a button, as well as front to back, and LED lighting that is designed for the user and the food, two temperature zones for the wine storage units where wine is stored on its side

· Bertazzoni Professional Series Range in Arancio in a stunning orange color that the company says was inspired by the foods of the Emilia-Romagna region where Bertazzoni manufactures all of its products. Celebrating 132 years in business, Bertazzoni is the oldest (presumably in Italy) family-owned manufacturer of cooking appliances. The range is a winner of the 2013 GOOD Design Awards. The company also showed their Professional Series Cooking Suite especially designed for small spaces and urban kitchens. One stop shopping yields their all-in-one with an electric wall Oven, Speed oven – which is a a 24-inch combination convection microwave and broiler with fast cooking times, and gas or electric cooktops. And leave it to the fashionable Italians to design cooking products in a palette of bright, happy colors – from red to yellow to black -- in addition to the orange, that they refer to as “vitamin.” Flintstones or One a Day never looked this good.

· Drawer microwaves, Storage/warming drawers & fully automatic coffe stations – so more countertop space; hot food with integrated look. And did you say, latte macchiato, with foam?

· In August, Thermador’s new professional grill will be available, featuring lava rocks and grill plates that cover the heating elements to provide smoky flavor with flare-ups, and a wider variety of temperature controls for indoor grilling so that vegetables and say, fish, can be cooked at the same time with different settings.

Cooking trends and products for the outdoor kitchen:

· Outdoor cooking is social – products need to perform and look good.

· Luxury Outdoor grills

At just a skewer shy of 10-grand – that’s $10,000, the Caliber Grill debut by the Rockwell Group and Caliber Range Corporation is a study in high-end outdoor grill. There’s no doubt this sleek, handcrafted grill is a looker. It is available in four colors: red, teraccotta, turquoise and black.

David Rockwell, the designer and founder and president of the Rockwell Group, (a mulit-displinary design firm whose work is found at W Hotels, Nobu restaurants, and set designs for Broadway shows including Kinky Boots and Hairspray.) In his news statement, Rockwell said, “We believe that the grill should serve as the focal point for any outdoor dining event. Our design allows everyone to gather around all four sides and see the food being prepared. (Duh.)

He added, “Cooking can now take center stage and become the catalyst for engaging and memorable experiences.”

Inspired by hearths and campfires (isnt’t that what inspires all grills?) the very big (60” wide by 3’ tall) grill is made of stainless steel and sits on top of a sustainable, hard, Brazilian cherry wood (not really cherry – rather a jatoba wood.) and boasts high BTU and even cooking. But for this price, shouldn’t it do more than grill – not counting roasting marshmallows?

On a different note – one that is a “luxury within reach” statement, Kalamazoo claims to be the best gas grill in the world according to a survey of grilling industry experts.

Kalamazoo offers a world of outdoor grilling products to produce flavors of a wood grill or smoker, pizza ovens, Gaucho Grill – with a water-wheel crank to raise and lower the grill by hand, and outdoor kitchen appliances, inlcuding a dishwasher, fosters an outdoor food and drink lifestyle.

With its Hybrid Fire Grills, a real wood fire creates intense dry heat with its Dragon Burners or the outdoor chef can use a gas fire. The countertop Artisan Fire Pizza Oven is powered by propane or gas, has a hollow-core baking deck to better bake the dough and puts out 42,000 BTUs of cooking power. A second burner in the back features an open flame to heat the interior stone. The company claims pizza cooks in less than three minutes – but why the time is critical is a mystery…

Take the mystery out of a home kitchen design. Foodies can readily hire a talented, credentialed interior designer who specializes in kitchen design.

Start and stop here: Toni Sabatino, an award-winning interior decorator and a Houzz reviewed recommended favorite:


The Design Industry Fighting Aids (DIFFA) intiative celebrates their 30th Anniversary this year. A very successful fundraiser, this year’s program includes:

· Cocktails by Design that was held Thursday of the show’s preview

· Gala Dinner, Monday, March 24

· Table for Dining by Design 2014!

Cindy Allen, Chairman (woman!) DIFFA Board of Trustees and Alfredo Paredes, Ralph Lauren, are this year’s event co-chairs.

The tablescapes can be viewed, eliciting astonishment, and bids. On the last night of the AD Home Design show, Gala’s dinner attendees get to sit and dine in these magical, dining installations.

The tablescapes exhibit is a collection of dining dream designs created by leading manufacturers, designers, and students who are given the parameters to design a dining table for ten people. The stories behind their inspirations are part of the fascination here.

This Examiner’s top Tablescape picks are:

· Ralph Lauren – inspired by the company’s 2014 spring fashion collection, Ile Saint Louis. All the products can be found in the Ralph Lauren Home Collection A cut crystal chandelier had silk cherry blossoms “woven” around it for a nature feel. The colors are white and lilac. When asked by this Examiner if Pantone’s Radiant Orchid influenced their color palette, Lauren’s design representative looked bemused while saying, “No” with quite confidence. Plus, it’s all about the craftsmanship with Lauren.

· New York Design Center, designed by Kati Curtis. Caught Alix Lerman, Director of Marketing & Communications, who enthusiastically shared how they not only wanted to showcase their own designers from NYDC, but had an idea of a kind of ying/yang. Lerman said Curtis “got it” and within an hour came up with an “opposites” pairing of male/female, gender stereotypes that ultimately, also unites us...

· Maya Romanoff, designed by Kara Mann, was a transporting composition of the designer’s “Surface Material” – wall covering, floors, chair seats – whatever – made from natural materials. The designer died in February and his wife has taken over the reins. The look is rich, given the variety of textures and material and colors: velveteen, leather, silk-paneled and tie-dyed wall fabric

· ddc, designed by David Ling, “Recline to Design” based on a book by Bernard Rudofsky – is a commentary on how people eat watching TV. This Examiner cannot take her eyes off that Swarovski crystal “Blossom” chandelier and purple “pretzel knot” sofa from BOA.

· Knoll with HOK – this is a glamorous presentation that is also doable. Ultra suede/Knoll “felt” flowers adorn the walls beyond the table, and sunset-colored, David Adage metal chairs (that the designers swear are comfortable), along with the happy, Mediterranean blues and oranges, Wedgewood, and Baccarat - enliven the table design with a glamorous, happy fusion.

· Kravet, designed by Dian von Furstenberg shows off the designer’s intuitive color and print talent and shows the only outdoor dining space in the collection.

· Arteriors is a King Midas-inspired composition of a Bali-like table setting with mirrored room partisans, wood sculptures, and a deep, sensual use of material, including plants.

The AD Show runs through Sunday & Monday benefit:

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