I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Whirlpool Corporation’s training facility in Chicago. The trip was a wonderful experience. The facility is in a remodeled historic building, and the Whirlpool facility includes an amazing rooftop lounge where we ate several of our site prepared gourmet meals. Whirlpool, for those not so familiar, is also the parent company behind KitchenAid, Amana, Maytag, Gladiator garage systems and Jenn-Air luxury appliances. Jenn-Air may be known to some for the “down-draft” kitchen ventilation system invented in the 60s but the renewed commitment by the parent corporation to luxury cooking at home has brought with it many more innovations and conveniences. The color touch-screen operated wall oven is one I find particularly noteworthy. The straightforward and simple options had me smiling at first touch! Easier than an ATM and something an older, less tech savvy guest could easily navigate without the instruction book. OK, you say, it’s easy to use but how well does it cook. The meals we sampled, all made by a talented on site staff led by Culinary Training Chef Ann Nolan, were perfection. Crusty but moist bread, flaky pastry and wonderful roasted vegetables were a few that stick in my mind.
The line has an impressive induction cooktop, several models in gas, with or without down-draft, and also a series of modules to allow a “create-your-own” that can include a 15″ chrome griddle or an induction wok module. Ventilation options include wall models, island models and of course the down-draft that made them famous! Great options for creating slow simmer soups, crepes and all sorts of culinary masterpieces. Now on to the coffee system!
DeLonghi, of Italian coffee maker fame, actually partnered with Jenn-Air to create their built in coffee system. It is simple to operate, has minimal installation requirements (110V) and makes great coffee. Well thought out, it will also give ample warning for cleaning so there are no surprise shutdowns during dinner parties. The steam oven also operates on 110V and requires no in wall plumbing. The addition of convection allows for many cooking options from reheating to original temperature and texture to steam cooking to baking. Again, easy to navigate without a PHD or instruction book. The dishwashers in the line include drying and steam features but the depth needs to be considered when doing initial planning if inset cabinetry is being used. An under counter ice maker for those looking for “clear ice”, several tall and under counter refrigeration models, including wine storage, round out the kitchen suite offering.
Notable is the “obsidian” refrigeration that makes your ingredients look like model food for a cooking show. Fun for the home culinary enthusiast! As a designer, I look forward to the new series of column refrigeration ideal for personalization and full integration due out early next year. I encourage those of you looking for appliances for your new kitchen to experience these gourmet appliances with simplicity and a great price point at your local showroom or appliance specialty store.
Thanks so much to Ellen Cheever-Giorgi and the entire Jenn-Air team!