Modern kitchen gadgets do a lot of the work for you, and save time and money
The smart kitchen is here, with appliances that do most of the “thinking” for you. Modern kitchen gadgets – from coffee machines to blenders – are also continually pushing the boundaries of innovation, taking the strain out of meal and beverage preparation.
These devices are energy efficient, but have other tricks too. The modern fridge, for example, not only dispenses water and ice at the push of a button, it can regulate itself and give you feedback that helps you manage your life, thanks to connectivity capabilities that allow it to be controlled via a smartphone.
A good example is Samsung’s “Family Hub” fridge, with three built-in cameras accessible from your mobile device, so you can see what food you need to stock up on. Thanks to a wi-fi-enabled touchscreen on the door, you can find new recipes, manage the family’s calendar and shop online.
“Users can issue voice commands to learn the weather and time, add products to shopping lists and order groceries online, manage to-do-lists and calendar schedules, in addition to controlling various other apps,” says Michael McKechnie, director of digital appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It is perfect for when you have your hands full or you’re multi-tasking in the kitchen.”
Hobs, ovens and microwaves today are just as tech savvy. LG, for instance, offers a microwave that can bake and roast at microwave speeds, and Samsung’s Flex Duo technology has enabled the single oven to be split into two different temperature zones so you can cook two dishes simultaneously.
“Multi-functional cooking is the way of the future. Not only are you able to prepare healthy meals in these appliances, you can do it three times faster than in conventional ovens, at a quarter of the size,” says Liana Barnard, spokeswoman for LG.
This tech-enabled variability also applies to modern dishwashers, which can alternate water intensity between the top and bottom racks so you can wash fragile glasses and sturdy pots at the same time and lower energy consumption.
Moving to the laundry, washing machines are no longer a “hit and miss” affair, with too much or too little detergent producing poor results. For instance, Miele’s W1 washing machine, with TwinDos technology, automatically dispenses the appropriate amount of detergent for the load inside.
The latest LG range of washing machines is equally impressive, with TurboWash technology that includes spraying water directly on to fabrics, making rinse cycles more efficient. As the wash programme is reduced, electricity consumption is cut by about 15% and water consumption by up to 40%.
Technology in the kitchen doesn’t stop at appliances. Tap mixers today are sophisticated, with sensory technology to stop and start water flow. Hansgrohe’s Axor Citterio Select mixer even allows the water flow and temperature to be pre-set according to the chef’s needs. There’s also a pull-out spout so the operating radius around the sink is greatly increased.
Finally, a smart kitchen is brightly lit with a mix of ambient, accent and task lighting. Luminaires can be invisibly installed underneath cupboards to illuminate the worktop, and dimmable lights provide a cosy glow. Clever bulbs, like Philips WarmGlow bulbs, emit a warmer light as they are dimmed.
Inside most modern fridges is bright, well-distributed illumination through several bars of low-power LED lights. In some cases, you can set the LED over the water dispenser to stay on continually, easing the trip for late night glasses of water.
As people downsize their homes, space is at a premium so modern appliances are also sleek and understated. Even oven extractors are becoming a thing of the past. Miele’s TwoInOne is an induction hob with an integrated extractor, recognisable by its grille, that cooks and keeps the air clean at the same time.
The modern kitchen is less a room of hot and heavy labour, than one where you feel like the commander of a smoothly run operation, engaging all your tech skills to cool, heat, illuminate and clean.