As first impressions go, KBIS made a BIG impact. In fact, I’d go so far as to say everything is bigger in the Land of Opportunity. Fresh from my incredible experience at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando, Florida with BlogTourKBIS I have SO much to share. And most of it is big. Where square footage isn’t a huge problem for many consumers in the United States, it’s inevitable that appliances and designs are just larger. Much larger than we are used to here in Europe, particularly in our predominately Victorian urban housing stock in the UK. While large kitchens are hugely desirable in the UK, a UK large is about the equivalent of a US small – just like with our clothing sizes! As I toured the halls of KBIS, I obviously noted sizes, but equally, I noticed that design wise there are some differences. One of the most striking discovery though was that the key players in the kitchen and bathroom industry in the US are very often different to the ones that take up floor space at KBB in Birmingham or EuroCucina in Milan. KBIS where everything is bigger, including the brands you’ve never heard of.
With two vast halls of over 600 leading brands in the kitchen and bath industry, there was plenty to see. Thermador is a brand you may not be familiar with, yet they have been in business for over 100 years, creating innovative kitchen products including the first built-in oven in the 1930’s. You will, however, be familiar though with some of the other brands that parent company BSH own such as Gaggenau and Bosch. KBIS was Thermadors big launch platform as they unveiled 300 new products to market. The heart of the roll-out being the sleek new Masterpiece and Professional Collections and the introduction of Home Connect, the Thermador Connected Experience, which includes web-enabled smart tools. My favourite part of the app was the expert advice function to provide culinary advice and tips at the touch of a button – something I need plenty of in the kitchen. I was also slightly incredulous that my oven could talk to my car – I kid you not, well not my actual car, as my car is a 1972 Fiat. In this ‘Internet of Things’ era, you can turn on your oven from your Tesla on the drive home from the office. I feel like the future might be awfully close.
It might not be the most exciting product in the kitchen, but the one that stood out for me on the Thermador stand was their Star-Sapphire dishwasher. My dishwasher is a hard worker in my household, and I couldn’t live without it, but, I find the hot water cycle slow and sometimes it doesn’t dry the reusable containers well. The Star-Sapphire has addressed both of these with a 20 min hot water programme and the all-new StarDry with Zeolite which helps the powerful drying cycle access those hard to reach crevices and corners. Plus it’s got a large wine glass capacity – needed for this wine lover. However if you are a serial party thrower, you might be more interested in the Entertainers Dishwasher specifically for glass, which allows 26 long stemmed glasses or even more if using smaller ones. It has a rubber lower rack and adjustable stands to protect the stems – if I’m gushing its because I’ve broken more glasses in my dishwasher than I’ve had hot breakfasts.
Fridges are about to get seriously sexy. Honestly, they are. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my post about the statement “monolith inception” kitchen designed by Richard Anuszkiewicz for Liebherr. I’ve never seen a fridge like it, and when I win the lottery and have a much bigger house, I’d like to make it mine. Not only is it very pretty to look at, the refrigerator has state of the art food preservation technology. You might recall I wrote about Liebherr previously when I attended the Italian kitchen show EuroCucina here and here. Refrigerators are vast in size in the US market but also packed with innovation. The connected home was a strong theme throughout the show with connected features everywhere, from appliances that ‘talk’ to each other to voice-activated taps. Where I felt this was strongest was in the refrigeration section where I saw camera’s to spy on your food (so you can tell if you’ve run out of milk for example), to integrated calendars and touchscreen recipe finders, integrated shopping lists that automatically updated and many more attributes. Wine refrigeration with multi-zone temperature is still a big requirement, seen at Perlick and Liebherr among others, but I didn’t see much connected home technology related to it yet. Maybe they haven’t figured out how to create a virtual sommelier, how cool would that be? Maybe virtual sommelier could even place your order at the fine wine broker/vineyard/winery. Customising your fridge was also a trend, from choosing the internal configurations to customising the artwork on the front or sometimes even inside, seen at Dacor, Liebherr and Thermador.
So if you promised you’d cook at home more in your 2018 resolutions, there are appliances to take your culinary skills to the professional level. Homemade meals that practically cook themselves in professional grade kitchens seem to be a goal of many brands. We’ll never need to eat out again. From cooking sous vide, built-in rotisseries, professional grade steam ovens, vacuum sealing drawers to integrated meat thermometers. There is a lot of kit and tools on offer for the wannabe chef’s in your home and also plenty of integrated advice options through connected appliances. Signature Kitchen Suite showed off appliances for the Technicurean™. Zach Elkin, the general manager of Signature Kitchen Suite, described it to me as the epicurean utilising technology to create the highest culinary experience in the domestic kitchen. These appliances included the first integrated sous vide bath and Two Ultra-Low™ Burners that can maintain temperatures as low as 100°. At Thermador, the side opening Professional Series collection has been created with the adventurous cook in mind incorporating steam technology and built-in meat thermometers for more accurate cooking. Miele showcased vacuum sealing drawers perfectly sized to sit neatly below your built-in oven. Great for portioning, marinating and preparing for storage in your fridge or freezer.
My key takeaways from the kitchen element of KBIS 2018 were built around the following themes:
- The Connected Home
- Food waste reduction through better storage and preparation
- The Pro Kitchen
Kitchen and bathroom renovations are a big investment and there is so much to consider, so stay tuned for part two from KBIS coming next week.
Coming in KBIS part two:
- Health is the new Wealth
- Mixed Metals
- The Hex tale
Photography: all photographs by Mary Middleton for hellopeagreen; except top photo by Thermador, image of Mary Middleton in fridge by Phoebe Oldrey and top image of dishwasher by Thermador.
This is not a sponsored post, thank you to Modenus and KBIS for inviting on this free trip. While I did not get paid for my time at KBIS, my hotel, airfare and some meals were covered. All words, opinions and images my own.