While recently discovering the Milk Street’s Cooking School show on The Roku Channel, we became intrigued by the show’s mission to cover tools and appliances of “the modern kitchen” for home chefs, which inspired us to write this article.
Today there are a number of appliances that have evolved from initial concept to prototype to being commercially available for home chef enthusiasts and “culinarily curious” cooks of all types. Most, if not all, are adding efficiency, nutritional value and convenience to “old school” food and drink preparation.
Here are several products that we were excited to learn about, that can make virtually any kitchen more “modern”, convenient, and fun, including yours!
Table of Contents
- A Brief Take on the History & Future of the Modern Kitchen
- 6 Product Categories Defining Today’s Modern Kitchen
A Brief Take on the History & Future of the Modern Kitchen
In the late 1970’s, when the microwave oven was introduced for residential use, many people thought it would never catch on. There was fear about irradiated foods and concerns that the units were too bulky and that the average person just wouldn’t understand the need for such a “contraption”.
Fast forward to 2022, where we can’t fathom how anyone could live without this amazingly convenient appliance. We can’t think of a more convenient way to heat water and foods quickly, steam vegetables, or warm a flaxseed heating pad, just to name a few common uses.
The microwave has always been about convenience and speed, as we can accomplish so many tasks in less than a minute or two. Key proof of universal acceptance of the microwave as an invaluable household appliance is that not only have food products provided “microwaveable” instructions for decades, but the iconic appliance has also fueled new food inventions and trends such as microwavable popcorn.
The modern kitchen continues to embrace speed, agility and efficiency in cooking, while recognizing that today’s home chefs are busy and must be able to multitask, while preparing appetizing, home-cooked, nourishing meals.
When the first generation Air Fryers became available commercially, cooks saw the convenience and versatility, especially for foods that were still prepared the traditional way.
Air fryers gave new life to French Fries, Fried Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, and a myriad of other “slow cooked” labor intensive foods that were now a breeze to Air Fry – which, incidentally, soon became a verb.
Another trait of emerging new kitchen appliances is that many are also catering to more narrow lifestyles, culinary interests and capabilities. Here are a few examples of niche culinary passions and lifestyle needs that are being addressed in modern kitchens:
- Quick but nutritious meals
- Saving time with food & beverage technology
- Clean and healthy kitchen environments
- More energy efficient use of the kitchen
- Frozen treats (both healthy and indulgent)
- Easy-to-make social cocktails
- Appliances that are smart and provide proactive maintenance
- Gourmet and specialty coffee makers
- Wine storage of all types
- Smart cooking safety devices and assistive technology for the elderly and impaired
- Pass through windows to connect the kitchen to outdoor entertaining areas
- Anything that can make a space-challenged kitchen more functional and enjoyable
- Smart cooking assistant technologies to help home chefs improve and expand their cooking skills
- Ways to try out appliances and products before buying them
So whatever your culinary and beverage interests may be, there are likely “kindred spirit” inventors working on something innovative just for your tastes and needs!
1. Sous Vide Cookers
Whether you have a built in Sous Vide with your stove, a countertop appliance or a handheld immersion appliance, you can’t argue that sous vide cooking is a healthier more precise alternative to boiling, grilling and roasting.
Sous Vide, French for “under vacuum”, uses low-temperatures to cook foods in a pressured, vacuumed bag to cook delicate foods, maintain their appearance, nutritional value and shape, while improving their flavor and texture.
Sealing foods helps them retain their juices and increases their flavor intensity, due to precise temperature control.
Unlike roasting or grilling, both of which are prone to charred or undercooked spots, Sous Vide cooking is performed with low temperatures to “bathe” the food for even, precise results, and best of all, uses a “set it and forget it” approach.
- Instant Pot AccuSlim Immersion Circulator
- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
- SousVide Supreme Touch+ (11L)
Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator
If you are new to sous vide cooking, and still a bit apprehensive, then the Instant Pot Accu Slim Immersion Circulator may be the perfect, entry-level tool. With an easy to read LED display and a digital touchscreen, Accu Slim provides powerful heating in a completely waterproof, lightweight stainless steel model.
Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
From the top name in Sous Vide cooking, Anova, comes the Precision Cooker immersion tool which allows you to attach the tool to a container of any size (sold separately) to circulate water for even cooking.
Backed by a 2-year warranty, the Anova Precision Cooker works with the Anova Culinary app to guide budding sous vide chefs on temperature, time, and ingredients for perfectly cooked meals.
SousVide Supreme Touch+ (11L/3Gal)
With integrated Wi-Fi and programmable recipes, the self-contained, SousVide Supreme Touch+ is one of the most advanced sous vide machines currently available.
With a 5-year warranty, the design of the appliance has its controlled heating element wrapped around the entire bath base, to ensure consistent temperatures throughout for even, precision cooking, with silent operation.
2. Indoor Herb Gardens
As we move toward a healthier lifestyle, we learn the importance of herbs and curative plants, as part of a clean diet to maintain a stronger immune system and to cure everyday maladies such as the flu, upset stomach, headaches and even wound healing.
The ancient Indian practices of Homeopathy (curing) and Ayurveda (preventing) stress the importance of fresh herbs and plants such as basil, garlic, oregano, thyme and mint to replace harmful, man-made pharmaceuticals.
An indoor herb garden can provide you easy access to the most important of nature’s medicine chest year-round, right in your own kitchen. The herbs are fresh and readily available to allow you access for cooking, making tea or just as an aesthetically pleasing room deodorizer.
Click & Grow
Click and Grow (C&G) offers a variety of styles, sizes and price points to suit every gardeners’ kitchen. Perhaps the best known of the indoor garden products, C&G also sells a variety of plant pods to get you started on your journey to sustainable indoor gardening.
AeroGarden has a variety of seed kits, grow accessories and inspirational blogs to get even the “brownest” thumb started on building an indoor kitchen herb garden or micro-greens farm. Start with the Sprout Garden and build your way to the Farm Family.
Known for their self-fertilizing, self-watering, no soil, 36-plant grow tower, known as the “FarmStand“, Lettuce Grow is the first name in organic, home-hydroponics.
Available in five different sizes, the FarmStand can house as few as 12 plants, with full maturity in 3 to 4 weeks. Grow your organic herbs and vegetables year-round indoors, with the glow-ring attachments, while accessing nature’s bounty whenever you choose.
3. Beverage Dispensers & Home Bartenders
Hosting events at home can be taxing if you also have to play bartender to your guests. Why not let the many beverage dispensers and home bartender machines help manage their thirsty requests, instead? Well-designed bartender machines allow guests to help themselves with easy-to-use options that can cater to a wide-range of preferences.
bev by Black+Decker Beverage
Use your own premium liquors to create craft cocktails at home with bev by Black+Decker. The cocktail maker connects directly to five standard 750ml liquor upright bottles (e.g. gin, vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey) to allow easy loading and displaying of bottles. The machine also has a location for a glass water bottle, that is included.
Best of all, the Bev is exclusively compatible with more than 40 premium Bartesian cocktail recipe pods. Both the Bev machine and its pod-compatibility are a result of a strategic partnership struck between Black+Decker and Bartesian, announced in February 2022.
The benefits of this partnership include:
- More affordable pricing that will fuel the adoption rate of bartender machines and grow the market for Bartesian cocktail pods
- An influx of product innovation from Bartesian into Black+Decker’s expanding Home + Lifestyle product category
- Greater product distribution through more retail channels for both the Bev and Bartesian cocktail pods
- Access to scalable & reliable manufacturing capabilities and expertise from Black+Decker
Likely the most popular adult beverage cocktail dispensers available today, the Bartesian allows you to decant your premium liquor into their glass containers, which meter out “pours” of alcohol, based on the requested cocktail.
Together with their beverage capsules or pods, the company executed perhaps one of the most successful product launches in the product category, beating Keurig, who quietly disbanded their beverage dispenser production of DrinkWorks Home Bar in December 2021. Their success has not only been remarkable from the stance of a single company, but more impressively, they have fueled consumer demand in a new product category.
4. Ice Cream Makers
Gone are the days of laboriously churning cream with bags of salt and ice at the ready in order to create smooth, delicious ice cream – unless you prefer to milk your own cows and create ice cream from scratch!
Even worse, why settle for store brand ice creams that are often full of chemicals and stabilizers that you can’t even pronounce? Eat “clean” instead, while choosing flavors that you crave with homemade ice cream machines that are effortless and inexpensive.
Create healthy, frozen treats or indulgent concoctions with the Ninja CREAMi frozen dessert machine. Using Ninja’s proprietary Creamify Technology, the CREAMi finely shaves and churns ice particles to deliver smooth, creamy results.
The CREMAi is great for ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet, milkshakes, smoothies and gluten-free options to fit your nutritional and dietary needs.
The Ninja CREAMi is also available for purchase on Amazon.
Envisioned by two youngsters who wanted a way to create a better ice cream machine without all of the hassle, ColdSnap is a 2021 CES Innovation Award Honoree.
The Fonte Sisters’ concept is a Keurig-type machine that dispenses ice cream, and other frozen treats, using a proprietary, shelf-stable pod, which dispenses ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen coffee desserts, frozen cocktails, and protein shakes, all in 90 seconds!
When introducing innovative new products, patience is often necessary, as the ColdSnap machine is not widely available for purchase. The company’s FAQs page states that they are currently conducting a small commercial “beta” launch of the ColdSnap system in the Greater Boston area, and in limited locations throughout the country.
ColdSnap plans to do a broader commercial launch in the second half of 2023, while initially focusing on commercial settings such as offices, stadiums, car dealerships, hotels, healthcare institutions, convenience stores, and more. ColdSnap will focus on penetrating the home market in future years.
Cuisinart Pure Indulgence
With a patent-pending mixing paddle, the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence can make 2-quarts of your favorite ice cream, or other frozen treats, in 20 minutes or less. With its double-insulated freezer bowl, the machine does not require ice to cool the mixing core. Made of stainless steel, the Indulgence has a large ingredient spout so you can load up on the “mix-ins”.
Cuisinart’s Pure Indulgence ice cream maker is also available for purchase on Amazon.
Fruit SoftServe Maker by Yonanas
Create frozen fruit desserts that are dairy-free, such as sorbets, ice cream and parfaits, without the fat, sugars, lactose and preservatives of store-bought frozen treats.
The Fruit SoftServe Maker by Yonanas, is a quick, easy-to-use home appliance that is an alternative to banana bread for aging, spotted bananas and other fruits.
Just use any frozen fruit, feed through the Yonanas chute, and you have an instant soft serve treat of any flavor you crave. Perfect for vegan, keto, or lactose intolerant dietary needs.
Yonanas is also available for purchase on Amazon.
5. Air Fryers
Who would have imagined that it is possible to “fry” Southern Fried Chicken without deep frying and still getting a crispy, golden result without all of the oily mess and added fat and calories?
Air Fryers are the microwave of the modern kitchen, as we are starting to notice more recipes are now adding an “Air Fryer Method”, as these appliances use little to no oil, heat foods evenly and are fast. We consider the Air Fryer the answer to:
“How do I reheat french fries or pizza for the perfect texture?”
Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven
What we love most is that it can bake, broil, toast, warm, and of course, air fry with the turn of a knob. Foods are evenly cooked, crisp and perfectly browned with minimal effort. Clean-up is a breeze and after two years, the stainless steel appliance still looks brand new.
The Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven is also available to purchase on Amazon.
Cosori Air Fryer Pro LE 5QT
With nine one-touch cooking functions, the Cosori Air Fryer Pro LE 5QT lets you preheat the appliance and add personalized “shake” reminders.
Compact enough for even smaller kitchens (10.71″D x 10.83″W x 11.93″H), this air fryer is dishwasher safe with an easy-to-clean, nonstick basket, made without harmful plastics or resins.
The Cosori Air Fryer Pro LE 5QT model is also available for purchase on Amazon.
Ninja Foodi DZ201 2-Basket Air Fryer
With its Dual Zone, 2-basket design, the Ninja DZ201 is programmable with six versatile cooking programs:
- Air Broil
With separate 4-quart heating zones, with their own cooking baskets, the Ninja allows you to prepare an entire meal in a fraction of the time.
The Ninja DZ201 is also available for purchase on Amazon.
6. Wine Storage Products
Displaying and storing wine has reached artistic levels for some of the products now available that properly preserve the full body and flavor of your favorite grape beverage.
With easy access displays, correct temperature monitoring, and full integration with today’s kitchen, wine storage products are those items you don’t realize you need until you’ve tried them and can’t imagine life without them.
- Dacor 24″ Integrated Wine Dispenser
- Dometic DrawBar
- GE Appliances Cafe Undercounter Beverage Center
Dacor 24″ Integrated Wine Dispenser
With design and functionality, made famous by Dacor, the Integrated Wine Dispenser is a temperature-controlled, system for wine dispensing and preservation.
Able to hold four standard-sized wine bottles, the dispenser offers you a choice of a taste and half-glass or full-glass pours, with just the touch of a button.
Dual temperature zones keep reds and whites at their optimal storage temperatures, for as long as 60 days without flavor or aroma loss.
From three bottle racks systems to entire cellars of wall mounted displays, VintageView storage systems has a product to fit every budget, design and fancy of oenophile.
Accessibility, flexibility and scalability are inherent aspects of VintageView’s innovative design pedigree. Even customers that have state-of-the-art custom built wine cellars have use for simple, yet elegant, three bottle racks in their kitchen for convenient, daily access where the cooking “magic” takes place.
Unveiled at the 2022 International Builders Show, the Dometic DrawBar, draws from the company’s long history of absorption cooling technology for tight and compact spaces.
This sleek, well-designed wine cooler in a drawer can fit five regular-sized wine bottles, including those with larger bodies or longer necks, such as Champagne and Riesling bottles.
Satisfy your individual space needs by creating larger cooling systems by placing additional drawers side by side or on top of each other to maximize irregular space usage.
Visit the Dometic website to find a local authorized dealer.
GE Appliances Cafe Undercounter Beverage Center
The GE Cafe Undercounter Beverage Center allows all your beverages to stay perfectly chilled in one accessible space with aesthetic appeal for the most tasteful kitchen designs.
Dual Zoned to accommodate different beverage types, such as red and white wines, the GE Beverage Center is perfect for homes with frequent beverage needs that often requires opening and closing a full fridge resulting in energy loss.
Also store frequently accessed beverages, such as water, juices, soft drinks separately to reduce your main refrigerator’s energy consumption.
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