Built-in kitchens renew and become more and more technological but also close to our needs, to add comfort, practicality and safety. A friendly and intelligent technology and that does not neglect savings
by Simona Preda
FTK 2018 – Technology For the Kitchen is the event that, every two years during EuroCucina, presents great news in the built-in appliances area. Also for this occasion expectations were rewarded, perhaps also thanks to the great interest that the kitchen has been raising for some years and that have made it the protagonist of domestic spaces.
Smart appliances are increasing more and more. We are speaking of intelligent devices, that take advantage from the opportunities offered by the IoT (Internet of Things). Among the first companies to focus on connectivity, Candy that has proposed a whole range of connected ovens, from the most basic to the most sophisticated one, bringing wi-fi technology to every kind of consumer. The protagonist is the Watch&Touch oven, which has a 19″ touch screen on the door for adjusting the settings and watch video-recipes but also to see the interior and control the cooking phases, thanks to the camera and LED lights. For Hoover, the new Vision oven becomes the hub or the center of connection and dialogue for the management of all appliances: induction hob, hood, refrigerator, dishwasher and washer dryer. A connected touch screen oven equipped with a conversational system.
Another news, proposed by Whirlpool, is the oven equipped with Google Assistant that can be managed with voice control: starting, shut down and settings can be activated only with the voice, without the need to use the fingers, and it is also possible to know the remaining cooking time. It belongs to the W Collection Premium, which devices, thanks to the connectivity, can interact with each other with the 6th Sense Live App. Moreover, there are many recipes and users can create an automatic shopping list. Also for the Hotpoint brand, Whirlpool Group aims to connectivity, because the new Home Net App is proposed for the 2019 Built-In collection.
Time is never enough, because we are busy with work and many other leisure and family activities. For this reason, technologies have been developed that speed up cooking times. An excellent example is the Dialog oven by Miele which, thanks to the M Chef technology, understands how much energy is stored in food and optimally regulates it, through two antennas and an electromagnetic wave modulator, which penetrate deep into food, in combination with upper and lower or ventilated heat. The result is a time saving of about 70% compared to traditional cooking methods. In addition, the oven can be connected thanks to the dedicated App which also suggests recipes. Cooking different preparations together also allows to save time, as Beko shows, which offers the Split & Cook® technology. This allows to cook foods in the oven, together, at two different temperatures up to 80°, without any contact between the two zones: so it is possible to cook two very different dishes in the same oven without mixing smells, such as a leg of lamb and some meringues.
Siemens, instead, proposes the varioSpeed technology that is present, for example, on some of the ovens of the iQ700 series, combined microwave models that reduce time by up to 50%, accelerating cooking but with optimal results. The varioSpeed technology not only reduces cooking times but also washing times, in fact applied to iQ700 dishwashers it halves them, while varioSpeed Plus can reduce all programs up to 66%.
Big news is represented by the Samsung Dual Cook Flex™ oven that, thanks to Dual Cook technology, can be divided into two cavities, cooking two preparations with different times and temperatures. Users can use it as a single big cavity or use only one of the two zones. This also thanks to the Flex Door, which allows to open it totally or only in the upper part, without compromising the temperatures of the area below. The removable separator avoids the exchange of odors between the two sections, allowing to cook different recipes at the same time, such as a roast and a dessert. Furthermore, this technology allows to save time and electricity. Wi-fi connectivity is not missing with the possibility to control the oven remotely, through a special App.
Hobs with suction system
In almost all the FTK stands there were hobs with an integrated suction system. What is it? They are appliances that integrate hob and extractor hood. In practice, hood is hidden and cannot be seen, being installed under the hob. Only a grid or a recess, circular or elongated, are visible often in the center or in the area behind the hob. The operating principle of the hood, for which fumes and odors are attracted upward is inverted, in fact the air is sucked downward. Most of the hobs are induction models or electric in vitroceramic and the hood can also be activated automatically, but there are also gas hobs, even if in a very small number.
The Bora models, distributed by Frigo2000, have been one of the first solutions of this type, products that bring a revolution in the concept itself of hood and suction. A compact solution that eliminates the visible hood, with a linear design, but which is also very effective in suction. Among the news we mention Sintesi by Falmec, a suction hob equipped with a combined Carbon.Zeo filter, that combines two materials of natural origin such as zeolite and activated carbon, able to retain odors and reduce the humidity generated by cooking vapors.
Gas hobs are more and more precise
Even the gas hob does not renounce to technology and is renewed not only in aesthetics, but also in the control of the flame. The main news is given by a better and more precise flame control that makes the gas hob more efficient and performant. An excellent example is the FlameSelect® technology by Neff, with which the flame increases or decreases according to nine power levels, with a similar precision to that of induction. After turning off the hob, users can see the residual heat in the area. Electrolux also offers the flame control with the TouchSure hobs, that combine the safety of gas cooking with the efficiency and intuitiveness of the touch controls typical of induction. In fact, just touch the horizontal slide and the electronic touch control is activated to adjust the flame up to 5 different levels, ensuring delicate cooking and without burns.
Interfaces for security
In addition to practicality in the settings with touch controls or knobs that make settings facilitated as much as possible, also new solutions have been proposed with special interfaces which add safety and comfort of use.
Speaking of safety, we can mention the Halo Vision technology by Fulgor, present on the Cluster Concept gas hobs, which allows users to understand if the burner is on or off, thanks to the backlit knobs: light blue light if on, red light if off but still hot. Furthermore, hobs are equipped with independent timers for programming the cooking times and switching off of each burner. The new Gas on Glass FlameLight of Electrolux are equipped with ergonomic knob controls with progressive control. Led lights indicate if a burner is on or off, while the residual heat indicators detect if the grids are still hot. Moreover, a sound alarm alerts if the knob or the hob remain active for some time, to never leave gas on unnecessary and avoid damage to the food, users and to the kitchen.
A very original and unique solution is offered by Samsung Virtual Flame™ technology which, on the induction hob, clearly displays the heath of each area, thanks to LED lights that simulate the appearance of the flame and light up according to the temperature. In this way the hob remembers, even if only visually, the typical gas flame, but with all the advantages of induction, without burns and with a very precise and efficient heath control. In addition, the hob also has the peculiarity of having a removable magnetic knob to control the heat level.
Silent and performant hoods
Hoods as well as effective are also more and more silent, to add comfort with excellent suction results. Faber presents the new Airlane technology, which reduces noise thanks to a second motor placed in the counter-ceiling that expels the air outside. Cooking fumes and vapors, sucked up and gone out to the upper grill of the hood, create an air cone that is picked up by the above Airlane Technology. This solution is applied on some new island models, like Glow and the F-Light line.
Elica, instead, proposes the new Haiku model that synthesizes in just 32 cm of depth all the components and where body and fireplace are joined without discontinuity. In the wall-mounted or island version, it is a powerful but silent hood, since at an intensive speed of 730 mc/h it emits a noise of only 61 dB (A) thanks to sound absorbing panels that muffle it. Its design is clean and linear, features also of the Spazio model by Falmec, that is not only a hood, however. Its 180 cm long island supporting structure, in fact, has glass shelves but also USB ports and electrical sockets to charge smartphones and tablets. In addition, it also allows to accommodate a small garden for aromatic plants. So hood is increasingly seen as a piece of furniture, which is often also a lamp, especially in the island versions, but it is also an appliance that does not forget performance and that is smart. Excellent examples are the many proposals of induction hobs connected to the hoods, with the latter that activate itself in complete autonomy when the hob sends the signal during cooking, to extract fumes and clean the air, and switches off when its job is end.
Extra-large and very capacious, refrigerators focus on large dimensions, both in the American side by side version and in the French door one. In fact, these are the most trendy, with the two side-by-side doors for the refrigerator area and the freezer with big drawers or with double door. Among the news, the French Doors by Sub-Zero have double compressor and advanced purification system, designed by NASA, which filters odors and refreshes the air every 20 minutes, preserving at best all the contained food. The magnetic seal allows hermetically doors closing, preventing air infiltration and reducing energy consumption.
Whirlpool proposes the four-door of the W Collection that uses 6th Sense technology to automatically monitor and optimize performance and preserve food for longer in the most natural way. In particular, 6th Sense FreshLock maintains the temperature constant and 6th Sense FreezeLock minimizes its fluctuations in the freezer, avoiding ice burns.
Many functions together
Also in the household appliances sector some interesting solutions have been presented that combine several functions together. Starting from purifiers and ionizers by Falmec that make the air cleaner and more breathable in the rooms. Bellaria is also a lamp with adjustable intensity, while Brio models are also mirror and heat recovery.
Elica, instead, proposed a series of induction hobs with the addition of some integrated elements, such as the scale, to control the weight of food.
Interesting is also the Think Next Corner by Franke, that wants to offer a glimpse of the future of digitalized kitchen. At the center is the Cloud hood, that can be controlled with an App and, in the Plus version, has an air quality sensor and controls the intensity of the light. The interactive Kitchen Worktop Concept has several functions, including keeping drinks warm, weighing foods, displaying recipes, charging the smartphone, and making a night light.
Among the novelties also an oven that cooks and preserves. This is Hoover ‘s KeepHeat that, thanks to the Exever ™ technology , developed in collaboration with researchers of the University of Parma, cooks at low temperature and preserve food warm at 62°C or 70 °C, depending on the kind of food. So foods are ready to be consumed and the nutritional properties are preserved. Through Wizard App it will also be possible to access to custom recipes and manage the oven remotely.
From the professional world
Some appliances used in restaurants are also proposed in domestic version, to reach higher and higher performance. The big news is the blast chiller, which looks like a built-in oven, but is actually very useful for stopping the proliferation of bacteria in food, not only in raw fish. Moreover, it maintains the best flavor and consistency, avoiding dehydration. Among the new proposals there is BlastChiller by Electrolux which cools and freezes. Functions that can be easily activated thanks to a temperature probe that measures the core temperature of foods. The gentle blast chilling option reaches 5°C, the rapid one reaches up to 3°C, the deep-freezing touches -18°C. Deep freezing is assisted and guided with special programs, for example for cheese, fruit, vegetables, raw fish, ice cream and desserts.
Even vacuum is a method that comes from professional kitchens, to store and cook. Zero of Irinox is a chamber vacuum able to achieve a vacuum level close to absolute zero (0.002 bar of final pressure), essential for vacuum cooking and increasing the food preservation in the refrigerator up to 5 times.
Rosières proposes instead the Sous Vide column that brings together steam oven, blast chiller and vacuum tray. A solution that is also smart, because thanks to the Epicurien App user can have usage tips and recipes.
Even the wine cellars offer advanced technologies to preserve wine at the correct temperature and keep its organoleptic qualities intact. The new Undercounter of Fhiaba are customized solutions designed to fit into the kitchen base. They are available both in the wine cellar version with anti-vibration system to better preserve the bottles, but also beverage for water and soft drinks, as well as a refrigerator, or with a double TriMode ™ drawer , which can be transformed as needed by changing the temperature settings, from -22°C to +8°C.
Even in the home appliance the color returns, both in an intense way and in a more delicate one of vintage inspiration. It does not go unnoticed the Sicily is my Love collection for Smeg that releases the creative soul of Dolce&Gabbana with an explosion of colors in two variants: the first with representations inspired by the poetic theater of puppets and the Sicilian Cart, in which fiery red and orange dominate; the second with majolica print in blue and white shade. Bright colors also for the Professional series of Bertazzoni, always one of its distinguishing features, inspired by the products of Emilia Romagna, shiny like orange, yellow, red or wine. But color is also vintage, therefore more nuanced, like the Oxford line by Steel Cucine, in strong but opaque colors such as amethyst, light blue, ivory and bordeaux.