Cover story:

Fash­ion may be syn­ony­mous with cloth­ing, but de­signer kitchen­ware is fast be­com­ing as ap­peal­ing as the lat­est Her­mès hand­bag. GE­ORGINA SAFE ex­plores the rise of beau­ti­ful cook­ing col­lecta­bles

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING -

Pre­pare to be bowled over by the rise of beau­ti­ful cook­ing col­lecta­bles

When fash­ion pub­li­cist Adam Wor­ling cel­e­brated his 50th birth­day, his part­ner set up a gift reg­istry for the who’s who of the in­dus­try that at­tended his lav­ish lunch at the Til­bury Ho­tel in Wool­loomooloo.

Wor­ling works with some of the best in the busi­ness, in­clud­ing Carla Zam­patti, David Jones and Gin­ger & Smart, so you’d think his birth­day wish list would have been heavy on Her­mès, Gucci and some of his other favourite la­bels. Think again.

“Give me any­thing from a kitchen shop over a fash­ion shop any day,” says Wor­ling. “Give me a muf­fin tin, a wooden spoon or a potato peeler but most of all give me Le Creuset, and my pre­ferred colour is Vol­canic Red be­cause it’s fiery and I think food should be fiery.”

Con­tri­bu­tions to Wor­ling’s Le Creuset gift reg­istry added to his al­ready ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion: “Three bak­ing dishes, a large casse­role, an omelette skil­let, a tarte Tatin dish, fry­ing pan, dou­ble-lid­ded saucepan, camem­bert baker,” he rat­tles off joy­fully.

“My bak­ing dish is ev­ery­thing,” he says. “It’s made so well that it’s like buy­ing a cash­mere sweater and know­ing you’ll have it for 40 years.”

While Wor­ling is an ac­com­plished cook, stylist Me­gan Mor­ton read­ily ad­mits her ob­ses­sion with kitchen ap­pli­ances is born of a lack of culi­nary skill. “I will buy what­ever it takes to make me look ac­com­plished,” she says. “Much like the id­iom of wear­ing the clothes for the job you want, I like to set my ta­ble for the food I wish I could cook, rather than what I turn out.”

When asked what she has her eye on, Mor­ton re­sponds: “Ev­ery­thing! From the per­fect set of salad servers to a Zip tap, I am hun­gry like the wolf!”

It’s not just Wor­ling and Mor­ton who are going gaga for kitchen equip­ment, gad­gets and ap­pli­ances with a zeal pre­vi­ously re­served for the lat­est It-bag or de­signer shoe. Peo­ple the world over are lust­ing af­ter shiny, colour­ful and ex­pen­sive ap­pli­ances and kitchen tools, from KitchenAids and Ther­momixes to bul­let blenders, steam ovens and hot­plates. Ap­pli­ances have be­come sta­tus sym­bols akin to luxury la­bels, and like high-end ac­ces­sories they come in a range of fin­ishes, colours and sizes.

Some are even mas­ter­minded by fash­ion de­sign­ers, such as Smeg’s new ‘Si­cily is my love’ range cre­ated by Dolce & Gab­bana. Thanks to the Ital­ian fash­ion house,you can now blend (pun in­tended) your love of food and fash­ion with a Dolce & Gab­bana printed toaster, food pro­ces­sor, stand mixer, blender, juicer, ket­tle or cof­fee ma­chine adorned with the fruits and sym­bols of Italy.

“In Aus­tralia, un­til re­cently, peo­ple were de­sign­ing kitchens not for them­selves but for the next owner, be­cause ev­ery­one was flip­ping prop­erty,” says Ta­mara Buchanan, head of brand for Smeg Aus­tralia. “But post-GFC, peo­ple are want­ing to put down roots and cre­ate the home they want to live in, so they are in­vest­ing in ap­pli­ances that will en­able them to do that while ex­press­ing their own per­son­al­i­ties.”

Con­sumers are choos­ing kitchen gad­gets for brag­ging rights as well as the busi­ness of pre­par­ing meals. “Small ap­pli­ances now are so gor­geous they’ve be­come show-off pieces in their own right, to demon­strate to vis­i­tors that you have taste and style,” Buchanan says. “Where once peo­ple kept them in the cup­board, now they leave them on the bench and use them ev­ery day. Just like fash­ion ac­ces­sories, Smeg small ap­pli­ances pro­vide pops of colour and style in the kitchen.”

Walk into any Har­vey Nor­man store and you’re con­fronted by bright stand mix­ers and other stylish ap­pli­ances.

“We started push­ing colour and de­sign with ap­pli­ances be­cause ev­ery­one was get­ting these fab­u­lous kitchens by the likes of Po­liform and the ap­pli­ances just weren’t keep­ing up,” says Har­vey Nor­man CEO Katie Page.

Stand mix­ers, multi-cook­ers (“We used to call them pres­sure cook­ers”) and cof­fee ma­chines are the top three sell­ing ap­pli­ances at Har­vey Nor­man, where Page says the im­pact of cook­ing shows and so­cial me­dia is also driv­ing sales.

“My 24-year-old daugh­ter and her friends are all into cook­ing but they want it to look beau­ti­ful and to use beau­ti­ful ap­pli­ances as props for In­sta­gram,” says Page. “The me­dia talks a lot about how the mil­len­ni­als are liv­ing with so­cial me­dia, but let me tell you, ev­ery­one is liv­ing like this to­day.”

As co-founder of Di­nosaur De­signs, aes­thet­ics are im­por­tant to Louise Olsen. “I just bought a new Miele dish­washer and I love my Bosch steam oven, which is the per­fect size for home. I’m look­ing at new hot­plates right now but I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Head of Ther­momix in New Zealand, Bianca Mazur, says long work­ing hours plus a de­sire for healthy liv­ing are also driv­ing peo­ple to buy ap­pli­ances. “Peo­ple are more health-con­scious than ever and want to cre­ate whole­some su­per­food from scratch with­out spend­ing hours in the kitchen,” she says.

For Page, ap­pli­ances are re­ally about giv­ing more time to con­nect with fam­ily and friends. “The kitchen is the heart of the fam­ily and these ap­pli­ances are mak­ing it eas­ier for peo­ple to cook re­ally well and share the re­sults with their chil­dren and friends.”

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