I aspire to a pretty simple life. I know I’ll never own an Hermes scarf, an Eames chair, or a Lexus SUV. And I am completely okay with that.
What I do fantasize about, though, is a dream kitchen. Cooking is not just a past-time, or even a passion – it’s a gesture (sometimes grand, sometimes simple) that shows family and friends I care about their happiness and health. The more skills I have, the better able I am to express that. So my make-believe kitchen isn’t rooted in high-end finishes, marble countertops and custom cabinetry – although that would be nice, especially in wood and white, with silver-toned fixtures, if you’re asking.
My ne plus ultra kitchen is anchored by high-performance tools that take my cooking to the next level. That’s why it’s fun to check out the Jenn-Air stable of appliances, which reliably rank among favourites for chefs, designers, and serious home cooks.
The event was part of a series that explores recipes, techniques and ingredients of food cultures not typically considered haute cuisine. Dishes featured, and how they are served, reflect how the notion of fine dining is morphing from a model of classic Euro-centric cusine, crisp white linen, and gleaming silver, into an exploration of international tastes and traditions, elevated by great techniques and local ingredients.
Herrera walked Gentile – and a group of designers and foodies — through the recipe for Cochinita Pibil Tacos, made with a pork shoulder slathered in a spicy Adobo sauce, then wrapped in banana leaves and baked in Jenn-Air’s wall oven, using the programmable “My Creations” feature, which can be set for three temp stages: in this case, starting with high heat to caramelise, then long, slow cooking to break down proteins, followed by a “keep warm” period.
I can just imagine how useful it would be to set a program for a particular recipe, then walk away to do chores — or sip wine with guests — before returning to a perfectly cooked dish. The feature can store favourite and frequently-used recipes. Bit like having a sous-chef in your home kitchen no?
Other standout features — the Jenn-Air Culinary Centre automatically adjusts cooking time and temp for different cookware and preferred level of doneness, there’s a no-preheat mode, and the Wifi-enabled oven can be controlled remotely using a mobile app.
I deeply covet the Pro-Style gas range top. The impressive 48-inch model has six burners: two deliver 20,000 BTU’s for high-heat cooking (excellent for flash/wok cooking, and super-fast boiling), while a simmer burner delivers very precise lower heats — in this case, useful for roasting spices without burning them. Sturdy grates form a continuous grid across the range top, which means pans can slide easily from one burner to the other as you cook – less lifting and clunking!
This range also has 1,320-watt chrome griddle, something I have always wanted, because you can do so much with a large, flat, heated surface. Anything that needs to be flipped, for example, can be done more easily than it can by a butterfingers like me using a pan. The knock against griddles has been that – as a flat exposed surface – they get stained and marred quickly. This one was so shiny I just assumed it was new. Uh, no – it’s two years old and has been used for countless training sessions. Solid chrome construction means it can be cleaned with water and a paper towel. (Folks, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.) The designers at the event loved that the surface will stay pretty and pristine, no matter how hard a work-out it gets.
In reviewing appliances, I see a lot of bells and whistle features, but an innovation like this really makes sense to me, because it actually contributes to both form and performance in the kitchen.
Check out the video series, and find Herrera’s recipe here.
I spent several minutes with my head stuck inside the Jenn-Air fridge with a sleek black “Obsidian” interior. (I think people started to talk!) That’s because when I opened the door, and multi-point LED lighting gradually increased, the interior looked like a gorgeous still life! Custom panels that blend completely into cabinetry are an option, one that designers were oohing and aahhing over.
So inspiring to realize how modest, unpretentious recipes made with easily-sourced local ingredients are transformed into interesting, elegant dishes by home cooks in every culture and corner of the world. I can’t wait to try and recreate Cochinita Pibil Tacos. Stay tuned.
The featured pic above is Torta de Elote from Los Colibris – Mexican sweet corn cake, beef brisket, pasilla adobo, grilled corn, and lime. Very subtle flavour, very delicious.
Jenn-Air has compensated me for my services and my posts, but all content represents my own opinion.