Appliance Index: Chilling

How I chose the fridge & freezer and how it’s going.

Refrigeration (Fridge, freezer, CoolDrawer) 

When I met Fisher & Paykel team through my pals at Novita PR, I learned their ethos is about helping people create personal cook spaces — no one size fits all. And that happens through lots of mix-and-match options — cooling and freezer columns and their iconic CoolDrawers (touted recently by Martyn Lawrence Bullard in the NY Times). I mean, it has cool in the name, how was I not going to try one of these?!

Aesthetics. Max Humphrey and a few Instagram friends insisted that F&P has the best handles — something that matters to design people, and me too. 

Flexibility. I wanted a lot of produce bins (check!) and more freezer visibility as we are in a love affair with our milkman (yes!) and have an embarrassing array of frozen treats along with dumplings, and pre-made meals (this Ottolenghi lentil soup is now ready at all times). Re: hosting, the CoolDrawer is the ultimate party machine. The other night it held 6 standing bottles of champagne and another half-dozen laying down it is wasn’t at capacity. In peak farmers market season I’ll warm up the temp a few degrees and pack it with produce. Have you ever had one of those CSA’s that give you four heads of kale at once? This — and this salad — is the solution. 

Functions. Firstly, specifically filtered water on the inside. I wasn’t sure if we were going paneled or not, but, I knew I preferred to not see the water spigot. Also: ice maker, duh. Secondly, the option to chill produce at a slightly warmer temp than you would milk. Both the lower fridge cabinets and CoolDrawer offer a 54F pantry option that’s awesome for more foods than you’d expect. Nuts, baked goods, and lots of fruits & veg for which the counter can expedite spoiling, but the fridge can compromise flavour and texture. (Think: Avocado, tomatoes, citrus, cucumbers, basil and eggplant).

My picks:
Integrated Column Refrigerator, 30″, Water — RS3084SRHK1
Product links: USA / Canada

Integrated Column Freezer, 18″, Ice — RS1884FLJK1
Product links: USA / Canada

Integrated CoolDrawer™ Multi-temperature Drawer, 36″
Product links: USA / Canada

Dish Care

Here, I was open ideas. Fisher & Paykel is the dish-drawer pioneer and, well, I’m an Aquarius and I like trying new things, so, here we are: Dish-drawer people now! 

Biggest plus: In the same size or less than a conventional dishwasher, we have two stacked drawers, which means we can load the little guy midday and keep the biggie until after dinner. The staggered times also means there’s always a place for dirty dishes that’s NOT the sink. 

Learning curve: By folding down or removing the tines there are beaucoup ways to configure the drawers themselves — but it does require a little thinking. Sometimes I ask my myself: do we just use so many more bowls than most families? But after a little configuring, I’ve got a bowl-friendly drawer. I’ve been super-happy with the performance so far.

Integrated Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher, Tall, Sanitize DD24DTI9 N
Product links: USA / Canada / Other countries

Appliance Index: Hot Stuff

Last fall, right after we purchased our home, I entered the appliance-shopping rabbit hole. Yes, I’ve attended (and spoken at) KBIS (the national kitchen and bath show), compiled multiple “kitchen specials” magazines and yet I didn’t have a guiding principle when it came to my own home.

So, how’d I land on the ones I chose? I started wth what was most important to me (ahem, looks) and then crowd-sourced my 25,000 most discriminating designer friends for their take. (See the original Instagram story here.)

Part I: Range & Hood

Induction: That’s how I began my entire kitchen design process—knowing I wanted to make the leap away from gas and into induction.
1) For health (zero gas emissions) and safety (no hot surfaces — only the cookware gets warm)
2) Performance — chefs love it (truly!); it boils water in mere minutes
3) Environmental reasons. Why use natural gas when there’s an alternative? 

Surprise: Europe went induction a while back. It’s sort of de rigueur there. But on the North American market, there are fewer choices. I considered duel fuel, but, that’s like the mullet of ranges. Either do it or don’t, I say. 

Funnily, it was the Fisher Paykel red colourway that first attracted me — and the classic knob styling. Clearly, I’m not a purist, but there’s something satisfying about turning a knob and, lo, now that I own it, I can say it delivers: there’s a gentle click, click, click as you move through Bake to High Broil, which is, for whatever reason, the setting I visit most. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, they say.

Anyway, the enjoyability factor has been on par with owning a new car. Everyone wants a turn to drive and we all stand around admiring it when it’s parked. Who knew? 

Biggest (unfounded) fear: Since induction is powered by magnets, not all cookware is compatible with the cooktop. But guess what: out of my hodge podge array of Le Creuset (no single color, love ‘em all); Tfal nonstick (a bad habit I know), workhorse, college-era stainless steel, and flea-market cast iron, only the Tfal nonstick didn’t work. No loss there. GreenPan, All-Clad. and others ALL have sexy induction-friendly pans, so, maybe someone will bring one for a housewarming. 

Biggest joy: SPEED. Gawd it’s so fast. If you think you’ll set the pasta water to boil while you chop a few onions and sauté them in oil…. well, you won’t even have finished pouring the first half-glass of wine you need by the time the water is done. Honestly: 3 mins 40 seconds is our average for a full pot of pasta water. Compare that to 8-11 for gas ranges. It’s a game-changer.

New tricks: Using the Aero modes — the oven fan circulates hot air throughout, so, when you pack your the shelves, you don’t have crispy cookies on one and chewy on the other.

Short list of what we cooked in the first 2 weeks: 

  • Marian Burros’ famous plum torte
  • Homemade chicken soup (first time, weird but true)
  • Many, many broiled bread products
  • Croissants (the frozen ones are available at every corner store here) 
  • Braised tofu & veg
  • Bubble tea (I have a 9-year-old)
  • Hard boiled eggs

My picks:
Induction Range, 36″, 5 Zones with SmartZone, Self-cleaning — OR36SCI6B1
Product links: USA / Canada

36″ Insert Range Hood — HPB3611-4_N
Product links: USA / Canada

Next up: My refrigeration choices: Fridge, freezer, CoolDrawer