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Transform the quality of your food with sizzling kitchen technology
Five star kitchen technology is now a lot more accessible to home cooks. Celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge knows all about it. As restaurateur of Sydney's Banksia Bistro, Terminus Hotel and Macquarie Hotel, and My Kitchen Rules judge, Colin says innovations that were once reserved for restaurants, commercial kitchens and hatted chefs are now being implemented, with much applause, into domestic kitchens.
"Kitchen appliances and techniques that deliver restaurant quality food are giving people the opportunity to cook like a professional, in their own home kitchen," explains Colin.
From crispier pastries and moister roasts with richer, more intense flavours, to chilled-out semifreddo, bouncy soufflés and even wine served at the perfect temperature. You can even create sous vide at home and store sashimi.
Here's the hotlist of innovative appliances with intuitive technology served to you on a platter
The tech: Steam assist
Far from a hot-air fad, steam assist is programmable steam injection at three different levels. It's arguably the hottest new home technology since sliced bread. Providing the perfect amount of steam at the precise time for steaming, grilling, baking or roasting, steam assist ensures that meats and fish are succulent and moist, and crusty breads are golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Colin says many commercial kitchens don't even have steam technology. "We still rely on opening the oven door to pop a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam to produce crispy breads!" says Colin. "It's a real problem with foods that require consistent heat. But programed steam ovens do this for you, and with faster cooking times."
The tech: Blade flame
If you've ever burnt your custard, scrambled eggs or other cook top delicacies, despite investing in quality saucepans, you'll love this technology-first for the Aussie home kitchens. Blade flame is a continuous ring of vertical flame that guarantees maximum heat transfer with reduced heat dispersion. No more flame highs and low. Instead, perfectly controlled heat and better cooking results, with increased cooking efficiency and low energy consumption.
The tech: Blast chillers
The cool kids know what we're talking about… "Blast chillers are great!" says Colin. "We use them in restaurants all the time. If you make something like a frozen dessert or a hot meal like a chicken curry and want to get it into the fridge quickly, a blast chiller will reduce the heat to refrigerator or freezer temperature."
This not only preserves the integrity of the food, but minimises the risk of bacterial contamination. "Blast chillers reduce bacteria problems because you don't have to leave your chicken sitting on your bench for hours to cool down, and you aren't putting hot foods into the fridge, which reduces the fridge's temperature and spoils the other foods."
Blast chillers will also save you precious time. Which the kids will love if they're craving a sweet dessert. "You can make a panna cotta or parfait in one hour as opposed to overnight," says Colin. There are also programming options for sanitising sashimi, beverage cooling, temperature holding, defrosting, proving, reheating and a cleaning cycle.
The tech: Combi steam
A combi steam oven gives you the full benefits of a convection oven, the perks of a steam oven plus the combination of both. "Combi steam is great if you don't want a dry roast," explains Colin. "The steam keeps the moisture in and retains the nutrients, so the result is like a half steam and half cook that is great for not only roasting meats and fish, but for grilling and baking. When you make bread, you need the hot air at the beginning of the cooking process, but then you need steam, which makes the bread rise. Built in combi steam does this for you, resulting in a better crust on the breads and crispier pastries. It's also great for pork crackling and braising because it keeps the moisture in."
The tech: Vacuum and warming drawers
With a highly sophisticated multi-level programme you can do just about anything with a vacuum-sealed draw. From preserving delicate and raw foods, including sashimi and cheeses, to fast-tracking the infusion of marinades, perfecting sous vide and even keeping foods warm while you are juggling 20 guests or blasting the pork crackling.
"When I was an apprentice we had 'hot boxes' in the restaurants which kept the food hot," says Colin. "At home warming drawers are great to keep food hot, while vacuum drawers allow you to seal your meal in a bag, like a chicken curry, or braised shoulder lamb, or roast pork, then cook it in water or steam in a combi steam oven.. All the healthy proteins, flavour and juices are contained within the bag and your dinner is ready with no mess or fuss!"
The tech: In-built wine cellars
No longer the cache of fine dining restaurants – this technology has become increasingly accessible, making wine lovers incredibly happy. "We have a wine cellar in our home kitchen," says Colin. "We keep our red wine and white wine in it – set at different temperatures. If you have spent a lot of money on good quality wine, a wine cellar will preserve your wine and protect it from temperature fluctuations – which can be a real problem in the Australian summer heat."
But with built-in wine cellar and sommelier drawers featuring the highest-quality technology, including controlled temperature, humidity, UV protection and low vibration settings your wines are cellared in ideal conditions and poured at the perfect temperature. Now that's worth toasting.
Dolce Stil Novo by Smeg is the latest addition to Smeg's extensive range of design collections. This true culinary masterpiece is Smeg's most comprehensive ever with new, exciting innovations including Thermoseal Plus (steam assist), blast chiller, vacuum drawer, wine cellar and the world's first blade flame cooktop. Available at select leading retailers and appliance retail specialists, or view at a Smeg showroom around the country. See dolcestilnovo.com.au for more information.