Tobi Fairley is a Thermador brand partner.

How do you cook? That may seem to be an odd question, but the answer is so important for getting the most out of your kitchen. When I’m working with my clients on a kitchen remodel, it’s one of the first questions I ask because it will really help me deliver the very best design that functions perfectly for my client.

Here are some of the things I ask my clients to think about:

Are you a weekend-only cook?
Do you love to try new recipes and experiment with cooking techniques?
Do you cook for big crowds, like extended family or friends?
How often do you entertain?

Getting to the heart of how you cook helps you to select the right cooking surface for your style. One of the things I appreciate about Thermador is there are so many fabulous ranges and cooktops to choose from that any serious cook can find a perfect fit!

This summer I am gutting my own kitchen, so I’ve been reviewing my cooking style to decide which Thermador cooking appliance will be right for me. I have to say that it’s been one of the toughest decisions to make because both the induction cooktops and gas ranges offer amazing functionality and features.

Here’s a look at how my new kitchen will probably lay out.

Induction Cooking

One of the most innovative cooking surfaces I’ve ever seen is the Freedom Induction Cooktop – and no wonder because it features 30 international patents! It’s the first full-surface induction appliance with the flexibility of what Thermador calls “a natural-mapping user interface.”

What does that mean? The cooktop recognizes the size, shape and position of your pots and pans instantly! So, the surface delivers heat where you need it rather than in a defined boundary that is normally determined by an “eye” on the stove. As you cook, you can move your pan or pot around while cooking and the surface will let the heat move “with” the cookware.

I’ve seen this in action at the Thermador Experience & Design Center, and it is truly cutting-edge technology! By getting rid of conventional cooking zones, it offers 63% more effective cooking area on the surface. That’s a lot of space for a lot of cooking!

Plus, the Freedom Induction Cooktop offers all the benefits of traditional induction cooking: instantaneous and precise temperature control, and an easy-to-clean surface that lets you clean up spills and boil-overs with a damp cloth so they won’t scorch onto the surface. This is great for my daughter. She’s 10 and already a cook, so with ease-of-use and cleanliness in mind, this cooktop is ideal.

As a designer, I also like that Thermador offers two design options for this appliance: one with stainless steel trim, or a trimless option. The trimless option offers a more integrated design that lets the appliance virtually disappear into the countertop, with a sleek solid black surface that looks modern and chic!

Gas Ranges

My other choice for a cooking surface also provides a lot of options! On the Thermador professional-style ranges, one of my favorite features is the patented Thermador Star Burner, which is on all Thermador rangetops, ranges and gas cooktops. It may be cute, but it isn’t just for show — it creates a perimeter 56% longer than a round burner of the same size, giving you more room for more flame, with faster and more even heating across any size pan.

I also love the ExtraLow simmering feature – it gives a cook the widest variety of temperature control of any simmer system. It cycles the Star Burner on and off to maintain temperatures as low as 100◦ F, so it’s perfect for simmering delicate sauces, melting chocolate, or keeping food warm without scorching or stirring. Isn’t that genius?!

But, if you want to go to the other extreme, and heat at a very fast speed, there is also an Extra High Power Burner featured on the Pro Grand Steam Range. It is a powerhouse, with 22,000 BTUs for better searing and faster boiling! The surface of this 48-inch Ultimate Culinary Center offers your choice of six Star Burners plus a Professional Grill, or four Star Burners with a Professional Grill and a nonstick griddle. It is ultimate personalization for your style of cooking!

So now you can see how important those questions about how you cook can be! If you find yourself frequently using oversized or unusual sized pots and pans and want an appliance that virtually disappears when it’s not in use, the Freedom Induction Cooktop may just be the choice for you! Or if you are the type who loves to traditional cooking techniques and a stand-proud design, then a gas range that features that fabulous Star Burner could be just what you’re looking for.

Either way, Thermador offers the very best in cooking surfaces for real cooks like me! So, I’m heading back to my kitchen design to really determine which will be the right choice for my own home!


Tobi’s Seaside Stir Fry

When I am at the beach each summer, we keep pasta in the fridge for the kiddos so they can heat it up for a quick and healthy snack.  Tossing in some fresh seafood with local veggies from the Farmer’s Market makes it the perfect lunch or dinner stir fry and it’s delicious with a cool Sauvignon Blanc. Get creative and use whatever ingredients you like or what you have on hand. But here is my go-to colorful combination:

Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined

Asparagus, chopped in 1″ pieces

Mushrooms, sliced

Onion, sliced

Red and yellow bell peppers, sliced

Fresh spinach

Bow tie pasta, cooked al dente

Freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and peppers in olive oil until softened. Add mushrooms and asparagus, cooking several minutes until asparagus is bright green and mushrooms have softened a bit. Add shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes until shrimp are pink. Add cooked bowtie pasta and spinach and stir until combined and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with freshly-grated Parmesan.

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