Full steam ahead

You might not be utilising the advanced technology and efficiency of a steam oven today. But tomorrow’s kitchens will feature them in abundance. And thanks to Kitchen Things’ cooking tutorials, the features and benefits of these revolutionary appliances are easy to see.

Now this will be interesting. Kitchen Things Luxury Collection cooking tutor Lauren Bavin has just prepared a mouth-watering feast which she will soon place in the oven behind her to cook.

What’s on the menu? A hearty-looking fish curry with rice, followed by a fresh fruit compote. Here’s the thing, however; Lauren is putting the fish curry, the rice and the dessert in the oven to cook at the same time. What on earth?  

As anyone who has ever tried to follow up an aromatic dish with something completely different in a traditional oven – a delicate dessert, for example – will know, odours and flavour transference can bring the best-intentioned dinner party fare to a screeching halt. 

Yet, here’s Lauren putting both the main and dessert courses into the oven at the same time 

This is actually one of the many benefits of steam oven cooking technology. In fact, the steam oven is set to revolutionise both cooking efficiency and quality. It’s like the advent of the microwave oven all over again. 

With the steam oven behind her up to temperature, Lauren, who has been a cooking tutor with Kitchen Things for around five years, places each dish inside and we’re away. While our entire meal simmers silently, Lauren fills us in on why steam ovens stand to change the way family meals are cooked forever. 

“Cooking with steam gives the home cook the ability to cook large amounts of food at once and on multiple layers of the oven, as I’m demonstrating here. They also allow for the retention of much more moisture in meats than in a conventional oven, yet when combined with regular cooking functions a beautiful golden-brown crispiness is still achievable. Vegetables, too, retain more of their nutrients. 

“Even bread can be baked in a steam oven and attain a lovely crust; commercial bakers have been using steam in their ovens for decades,” Lauren says. 

“While standard cooktops give you no control over the temperature of steam, a steam oven’s temperature can be regulated between around 30°C and 100°C, in order to cook items more gently if needed. They also come into their own when reheating leftovers or a pre-prepared meal.” 

Lauren says families with steam ovens will usually do away with rice cookers too. With more moisture inside the oven, rice, she says, becomes almost fool-proof to prepare. 

This is bespoke ‘cooking theatre’ at its best; and this sort of information is what Lauren and other Kitchen Things cooking tutors around the country impart to a ready audience. 

The classes can be formatted as one-on-one tutorials, or as evenings for several participants. As far as a sublime location for these tutorials go, the flagship Kitchen Things Luxury Collection store in Morrow Street, Newmarket is perfect; the entire showroom is formatted around a series of high-end kitchen templates, with entire appliance ranges on offer from a variety of premium brands. Even the tableware on display is available to be purchased, showcasing the latest trends in cooktops and cutlery alike. 

Tutorials run in other locations around the country too, however, with classes also available in Tauranga, Napier, the Kapiti Coast, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and in two additional Auckland stores, in Westgate and Mount Wellington. Classes are generally one-and-a-half hours in length and Lauren says a maximum of eight participants is ideal, to ensure everyone present gets the most out of the sessions. 

It’s part of Kitchen Things’ commitment to providing a one-stop-experience; enabling customers to be able to research and buy the product that is right for them, to have the same people deliver and service that appliance and then, if desired, to spend some time gaining confidence with their new appliance through practical tutorial classes hosted by the people who distribute the technology. 

“The other side of the service our cooking tutors offer, might be demonstrating the benefits of differing models to a client who is between two minds about what brand to opt for,” continues Lauren. 

“Often by utilising the oven as part of a cooking class, we can help the customer make an informed decision about what features and benefits they’re going to really use day-to-day.  

“It’s a bit like buying a car and only knowing what half the buttons do; the ‘cooking theatre’ experience gives customers the opportunity to see how meals are made and gives them the “I can do that” moment that makes the purchase decision that much easier.” 

Right then. Time to check on that fish curry. It’s delicious; but then of course it is. The same goes for the fresh fruit compote, ready immediately afterwards. 

So, with steam ovens representing a newly energised culinary discovery for the modern kitchen, what’s set to be the next advent in premium kitchen appliance trends? 

“As peoples’ lives become increasingly busy, blast chillers are going to become much more of a feature of modern residential kitchens,” says Lauren. 

“A bit like steam ovens, these are already in use in commercial settings, but premium appliance manufacturers have perfected them for the home kitchen in recent times. As a result, it is becoming ever-easier to pre-prepare weekly meals, seal the food in vacuum bags and place in the blast chiller, which will take the food down to -15° C in less than 15 minutes in order to preserve nutrients and absolute freshness.” 

Lauren says that food prepared and stored in this way remains fresh for incredibly long periods of time, with no discernible degradation of flavours or nutrients. Then, when desired, reheating in a gentle steam oven like the one dinner has been cooked in tonight ensures a meal that’s as good as if it had been cooked from scratch that evening and is on the table in no time. 

“We’re all time poor these days, and this technology is designed to ensure families manage to gather some of that time back. We’re here to ensure that choosing to adopt these amazing technologies isn’t an intimidating process, but rather an enlightening one.” 

It certainly has been that. And very tasty, too. 

Related Articles

Private Diner

Hidden away in some top Auckland eateries are the best private dining experiences to be had in the bustling big city. We take a look at what’s on offer behind the doors of four premiere establishments.

Read More

Blue Sky Thinking

Think you already have a pretty accurate handle on what to expect from a big Bentley GT convertible? Steve Vermeulen did too. And then he drove it.

Read More