Benchtop Appliance Wish List
The latest high-tech kitchen gadgets will have you whizzing through food prep and serving up delicious fare in a flash, writes Georgia Madden.
Having the right kitchen gadgets to hand can be a lifesaver when you’re cooking for a crowd, allowing you to power through time-consuming tasks such as chopping, slicing and mixing.
But that’s not all they can do. Today, you’ll find small appliances that make it easy to achieve your daily dose of fruit and veg, cut your fat intake and even perform the jobs of several appliances in one.
Multi-cookers are gaining in popularity, says Gary Brown, senior brand manager for home appliances at Harvey Norman. “They offer several different cooking methods, including steaming, pressure cooking, browning, slow cooking and simmering. They’re great for busy cooks as they allow you to prepare dishes with minimal effort. Many are also appcontrolled, which guides you through each step of the cooking process.”
The trend towards multifunctionality is hitting other sectors, too; De’Longhi’s three-in-one digital MultiGrill, for example, transforms from a sandwich press to an open barbecue grill for meat, fish and vegetables. Tefal’s OptiGrill+ automatically adapts its cooking time to the thickness of the ingredients and indicates the precise cooking level, even when cooking food from frozen.
Meanwhile, the classic stand mixer has been reimagined. “Stand mixers have advanced significantly in recent years,” says Brown. “You can buy a raft of different attachments to transform them from pasta maker, meat grinder, food processor and spiraliser to frozen-dessert maker and more.” Kenwood’s Cooking Chef includes an induction feature, so it cooks while it mixes, plus 23 preset programs to help you make everything from curries to sweet dishes.
Appliances that make it easy to boost your nutrient intake are also on the rise, says Tania Grillinzoni, portable appliances buyer at The Good Guys. “Wellness is a big trend in benchtop appliances, and a lot of great personal blenders, juicers, air-fryers and health grills have entered the market.” Brown concurs, adding, “Blenders are going high-tech and we’re seeing more commercial-quality models appearing in domestic kitchens.” Notable new blenders include the Vitamix Ascent Series, which has wireless connectivity and uses a self-detect function to read the size of the container and adjust the blending time to suit. And the app-connected NutriBullet Balance can weigh the ingredients for your smoothie or soup and give you a breakdown of the nutritional content.
If a caffeine hit is more your style, you’ll find machines that offer sophisticated coffee-making functionality in compact bodies. “Home coffee machines are stepping into the premium end, with programmable steam wands offering milk-temperature control and texturing,” says Colin Jones, product expert at Appliances Online.
The latest appliances aren’t just smart; they look good, too. The new styles come in pretty pastels, bold brights and sophisticated metallics, often with a vintage vibe. According to Brown, matt-finish plum and pale-blue shades are the key sellers this summer.
“Benchtop appliances have become fashion accessories for the kitchen,” says Jim Kalotheos, managing director of Smeg Australia. “Use them to create a statement or focal point in an otherwise neutral kitchen, or to complement a major appliance, such as your oven.” Look out for Smeg’s recently released Sicily Is My Love collection of kettles, toasters, blenders and juicers, a striking range designed in collaboration with fashion supremos Dolce&Gabbana.
To find an appliance that makes your life easier rather than just cluttering up your kitchen, consider the beverages or dishes you make and the numbers you cater for. Seek out sturdy machines that will go the distance. “If you want longevity, simply buy a brand you recognise,” advises Brown, “because premium brands perform.”