Niche Firms Focus On High Tech at K/BIS

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Innovations in cooking technology — including features designed to make meal preparation faster, with more flexibility — were on view at the recent Kitchen/Bath Industry Show from a number of specialty appliance firms.

In addition to the introductions by the multi-line white-goods manufacturers at the Orlando show, several cooking-only suppliers took the wraps off new ranges and cooktops, many showing European design influences.

AGA, for example, is ready to begin shipping its U.K.-made, freestanding Companion range to the U.S. market. The 24-inch commercial-style cooker has gas burners and stacked electric ovens and comes in a variety of colors. The suggested retail price is $4,500.

Caldera showed off a prototype gas cooktop that includes electronic touch controls and an electric Microcycler simmer element, said to go down to 25 watts of power. The unit is expected to retail in the $1,895-to-$1,995 range when it hits the market within the next nine months to a year, pending approval from the American Gas Association, said Caldera president Christa Shute.

Among Dacor’s new entries at the show were a 30-inch commercial-style range with gas-flame broiler inside an electric convection oven, due in stores by midsummer to join the company’s similar 36- and 48-inch units. Dacor also has a new Millennium stainless-steel oven, available in late summer and is now offering chrome and brass accents on its stainless-steel ranges and hoods.

Shipments begin next month on 36-inch drop-in cooktops in six colors from DCS, along with its first built-in warming drawers. The company plans a 48-inch version of the cooktop line next year. Also new from DCS at the show were a 27-inch double electric convection oven with 3.2-cubic-foot capacities and hidden elements, due out by August, and its first range hoods designed for use over cooking islands.

Dynasty, now a division of Maytag, showed off a new 30-inch barbecue grill with infrared broiler, just going into distribution. Dynasty also introduced its first range hoods. The initial hood offering comprises 36- and 48-inch models, expected to be available by midsummer. Additional widths are due later in the year.

FiveStar has just begun shipping two dual-fuel ranges in 36- and 48-inch sizes, updated with sealed gas burners.

In addition to redesigning its outdoor gas grill line, Garland has developed a 72-inch all-gas range. The stainless-steel unit, expected to sell for around $15,000, includes six burners, a grill and griddle, and two 36-inch ovens.

Stoves of America came to Orlando with a new gas convection oven that has American Gas Association approval for undercounter installation. The unit, going into distribution next month, is expected to sell for around $1,500 as a single oven and around $2,700 as a double oven.

Sporting an updated logo, Wolf Range showed off a new 48-inch range with a hole in the center of the cooktop so a wok can be inserted. Available in eight different cooktop configurations, the unit is expected to sell in the $6,700-to-$7,300 range. Wolf has also redesigned its ovens, using a more vertical look and new controls.


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