As reality-cooking shows continue to dominate television ratings chefs have become household names. Suddenly, Australians are motivated to cook like a master chef, and they want to do it using the very best equipment.
“We have two ovens,” says Helena Blackstock.
A keen cook, Helena and her husband entertain at their home in Sydney’s Seaforth, every weekend. The Blackstocks installed two ovens in an attempt to stop family arguments.
“Every Sunday we’d have meat and roast potatoes in the oven, and I’d want to put Yorkshire puddings in which require very high heat, as well as a dessert,” she explains. “My husband would refuse to let me open the door, ‘you can’t put any of that in there, the meat is cooking.’
“The ovens have put an end to the arguing,” says Helena who has further stemmed the bickering by dividing the cooking tasks. She now takes care of all of the prep, and the dessert, while her husband looks after the rest of the cooking.
“The kitchen works because guests sit at the bench, in the living room, or on the deck and they can still see what is happening in the kitchen, and the cook is still part of the action.”
In addition to curbing the competition for oven space, Helena and her husband chose Miele Ovens to complement the sleek design of the family’s kitchen. Designed by Mosman-based Interior Designer Marni Burger, the kitchen is completely custom made, with high gloss brass trimmed cabinetry, thick poured concrete bench tops and a striking Carrara Marble splashback.
“The Miele range integrated seamlessly with the cabinetry,” says Helena. “I love the style of the appliances, it has really completed the look of the kitchen,” she says. “It is understated and sleek but when you are cooking it lights up so that you can see into the oven,” she says. “It is nice that guests can see what they are having for lunch.”
In addition to the two ovens, Helena also added a Miele Steam Oven. She is particularly enamoured with the way that it cooks vegetables. “When I first got it we did a taste test, steamed veggies on the stove top versus vegetables cooked in the Steam Oven, the whole family agreed, the Steam Oven won hands down.”
Helena also uses the Steam Oven to cook fish and to reheat and defrost food, using it as someone else might use a microwave. “When I reheat a dish if it’s something I think could do with some steam, then I use it rather than an oven,” she says.
Bjorn Nielsen, of Braddon, Canberra, is keen to add a Steam Oven to his apartment’s kitchen. When he and wife Georgia welcomed baby Ineke to the family 9-months ago, Nielsen took over most of the cooking. “It means that I am spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen and so I am plotting and planning what appliances I want in there,” he says. Weekend lunch parties, hosting friends with young families are a regular occurrence. “It gets pretty cold here in winter. Slow cooked dishes are regularly on the menu.”
Nielsen has recently extended his repertoire to baked goods. “I enjoy the challenge of baking,” he says, including Danish pastries, reflecting his heritage. “Now Danish cuisine is hip the world over, but when I was a kid the Danes were renowned for living on a diet of meat, potatoes and cake,” he laughs. “I recently made my favourite Danish coffee cake, Brunsviger, it has a yeasty vanilla base and is topped with very dark brown sugar.”
Mastering a soufflé is the next challenge that Nielsen has set for himself. “I think a Steam Oven could help with that,” he says.
Bec Hepworth of Lane Cove in Sydney already knows how to make a soufflé. “I love a challenge and I follow recipes to the letter,” she says. “I am hopeless at making something from scratch but give me a recipe and I’ll attempt anything.”
Hepworth regularly entertains, including friends who made it through the audition process of Channel Ten’s MasterChef and into to the last round. “When you are cooking for guests who have that level of skill you need to up the ante,” she says.
For her last dinner party, Hepworth served Thai egg nets. “I’d eaten them at a restaurant and was impressed by the theatricality of the dish,” she says. “I then saw them made on MasterChef and thought, ‘I could make them’, so I gave it a try,” she says. Her guests were suitably impressed.
The only part of hosting dinner parties that Hepworth dislikes is the washing up. “A Miele Dishwasher with a cutlery drawer is high on my list,” she says. “In fact, two would be even better.”
Blackstone agrees. “I would love a second dishwasher. My husband refused when we were building the kitchen,” she says. “But I had the plumbers put the pipes in, just in case he changes his mind.”
Discover Miele’s range here.