The Thermador Ultimate Culinary Center

I mentioned earlier in the week that I was in Scottsdale, visiting the Thermador showroom. Do I hear you cocking your head a wee bit to the left? Have you never heard of Thermador?!

If you’re not familiar with the Thermador name, you are likely familiar with their products. As an innovative manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances, Thermador has long been around the American foodie scene. Alice from The Brady Bunch cooked on Thermador. So did Julia Child. In fact, Thermador appliances now grace the Smithsonian, inducted there when they accepted Julia Child’s kitchen into the Museum of American History.

Thermador has been around for a yonkers long time. But, they’re not yo mamma’s kitchen appliances. What you will NOT find from Thermador is a dated, old-fashioned look or feel. Au contraire. They are top-of-the line ovens, stoves and stovetops, refrigerators, dishwashers, and steam ovens. So entirely un-run-of-the-mill that you might dare call them downright sexy. I would.

So would Anne. Shocked at the sheer gorgeousness of the Thermador appliances, we had to pick her jaw up off the floor more than once. They’re that purty.

So, why fly a bunch of bloggers down to Scottsdale to check out the Thermador showroom? Because, after revolutionizing the cooking industry last year with the creation of their Steam Oven, Thermador again decided to unveil a product so all-encompassingly cool that they had to do it in style. Are you ready for the big reveal?

Thermador president, Zach Elkin was there for the unveiling. So was trusty side-kick, Sung, wearing a slim-cut suit. A perfectly slick,  entirely appropriate look for one about to show off the Ultimate kitchen appliance.

What is it? What IS IT?! It’s called the Thermador Ultimate Culinary Center. And it’s absolutely splendid.

Shiny stainless steel, full-sized oven, steam oven, and SIX of the infamous Thermador Star Burners (which distribute a massive amount of heat underneath your pots, making the Thermador brand appliances significantly more efficient than any other gas stove on the market.)

I did not Photoshop the photo above. The baby just comes off gleaming like that all on her own. For reals. Doesn’t it look like little rays of light are singing from the oven? They totally are.

This trip to Scottsdale was the second time I’ve worked with Thermador. I love the leadership, focus, and dedication woven into every aspect of the company. They are intent on making the very best kitchen appliances on the market. And, they succeed in every way.

That said, Thermador is a luxury brand, with prices significantly higher than those you might find on…say…Craigslist. So, I’d always written them off as a future wish. Nothing we’d be able to or want to afford anytime soon. However, after having a chance to see, learn about, and cook on the Ultimate Culinary Center, it seems my opinion is prone to wavering. The control, power, and professional touch this appliance offers a kitchen makes it the must-have foodie item of the decade.  Indeed, the pricetag sounds rather steep (once officially launched, you’ll be able to own one for $14,000).  However, when you consider the high quality and incomparable features offered with the Thermador brand, the money becomes well worth the spend.

Several event attendees mentioned their own thoughts about the Thermador Ultimate Culinary Center being a must-have enthusiast accessory. Take,  for instance,  mountain bikers. I know it sounds like a stretch, but stay with me here.

If you are an avid mountain biker (or a marathoner, or a really great mom), chances are you’ll splurge a bit on the bike you purchase (or running shoes, or posh homeschooling gear). You want to get the most for your money, something that lasts. Something stylish. Something comfortable. Something that allows growth of performance and skill. To do this, you don’t buzz on down to the local 24-hour Mart for a $100 bike. You might not even pop into the big-box Sports store for a $300 bike. Rather, you are willing to spend a thousand or so dollars on a bike that meets your needs and allows you to pursue your passion to your fullest ability.

Which is exactly what the Thermador Culinary Center delivers to the home cook. If you’re passionate about cooking and entertaining, chances are you do it a lot. And chances are even greater that you want complete control over those opportunities to entertain. You want a a stove that is precise to the very degree, big enough to cook all of your creations, and easy to clean up when the party is over.  After watching the products in action, I can hands-down tell you that Thermador meets all of these needs in the most exceptional way possible. But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out their incredible, interactive online party at Experience Thermador. That beautiful website offers the most grown-up fun I’ve had online in a long time.

So what can you do with the Ultimate Culinary Center? You can cook like a chef that’s what. In fact, you can cook like Chef Kyle, who some bloggers (it has been rumored) say puts the “Steamy” in “steam cooking” there at the Thermador kitchens. I cut off his head in this picture so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one, gals.

Perfectly seared tuna on top, gorgeously browned duck breast on the bottom. This is what being a culinary enthusiast is all about. This is the sort of thing you can recreate flawlessly in your own kitchen with the Thermador Ultimate Culinary Center. Do you see how this is truly a need as much as it is a want?

Kathy and I were tremendously tickled by Thermador’s announcement. Tickled, and perhaps a little tired. We were hungry. You would have been, too, if you’d smelled the food that was about to come out of the Culinary Center.

Sara, Sandy, Amanda, Maria, and Maggy couldn’t rave enough over Thermador. Here, Maggy is saying (in her trademark bubbly-meets-intelligent-East-Coaster way) “It’s totally stunning!” to which Sandy wittily replied with a lady-like chuckle “Oui, c’est vrai.” No one knows why they were talking valley-girl French.  Things just happen when beautiful, stainless-steel kitchen appliances are unveiled right before your very eyes.

And when food comes forth from said kitchen appliances, like the edible bounty of a million Czars…why, that’s a whole other level of absurd pleasure.

After pulling together a few finishing touches, we dined on tender pork loin, melt-in-your mouth skewers of steak, edamame salad, crispy sesame-fried tofu, Thai noodles, and fresh European bread baked by the incomparable Chef Brad right in the Thermador steam oven. He said he’s tried every trick in the book to make crusty bread, and nothing has ever created professional, authentic results like the Thermador Steam Oven. I believe him. I ate his bread and thought for exactly fifteen seconds straight that I was back in Paris with a fresh loaf of breakfast bread. Another brilliant lesson from Chef Brad: the steam oven also allows you to can jams and jellies right inside, without a pressure cooker. No muss, no fuss. You can sterilize jars right in the steam oven, fill them, and seal them all with a single appliance. This is the stuff we dream about, and it’s real. Dreams do come true.

Speaking of dreams, how ADORABLE is Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod with her baby belly? This is the first, official online reveal of her working that cute little bump. So precious!


The trip to Thermador wasn’t just full of remarkably sexy products. There were also a whole slew of gorgeous creatures to whileaway the week with.

Above you’ll see a few of these friends, some new, some already adored. There are a few others not pictured and I hope you’ll take the time to discover their remarkable writing and passion for beautiful cookery.

  • Maggy from Three Many Cooks {Not Pictured}. Um, Love. There are a thousand things I love about Maggy, not the least of which is that she slathers attention and affection on everyone. She’s just full of love and that makes you love her all the more. Also, she’s brilliant. Also, she’s got a big, huge heart and amazing stories. You need Maggy in your life.
  • Dana from  Dana Treat {Not Pictured}. As pretty as a picture, sophisticated, and sweet, I fell instantly in love with Dana. She is authentic, talented, and vegetarian to boot. You owe it to yourself to discover her immensely gentle touch on fresh foods.
  • Kathy from Healthy.Happy.Life {Not Pictured}. You know that moment when a person you really admire becomes your friend and you just feel so endlessly grateful? Well, that was Thursday with Kathy. Not only are her Vegan recipe offerings inspiring, but she is gentle and good, with a heart of gold. I’m so grateful to call her friend. Chanchitos forever.
  • Jaden of Steamy Kitchen {Not Pictured}. You might know her as the uber-beloved blogger, TV personality, and cookbook author. And she is all of those things. But, I’ve come to know Jaden as a gifted mentor, teacher, and inspiring advice-giver. Opening your life to her unique approach to abundance, food, and life will be the best thing you do online all year.
  • Sarah of Tastespotting {Not Pictured} is one of the most brilliant people on the web today. Originator of the online “community potluck” sites, her early insight and innovation of the online the food world was nothing short of inspired. Also of note: rock awesome cheekbones. The girl is model-gorgeous.
  • Tabitha of Lady and the Blog {Not Pictured}. On assignment for Vera Sweeney, meeting Tabitha was a treat because she’s as down-to-earth as us normal people, despite the fact that she’s an accomplished fashion writer, model, and all-in-all noteworthy lovely pants.
  • Linda of Better Homes and Gardens {Not Pictured} is elegant and smart, with a keen eye for the needs of a rapidly changing industry. It was incredible to hear her insights during our Wednesday afternoon focus group. If only I had one-tenth the knowledge she does about the Kitchen Design industry and twenty-tenths the tennis know-how!
  • Leslie of KB Culture {Not Pictured} was one of my favorite people to listen to in discussions because she knows what the heck she’s talking about. Kind and wise, I think a cup of tea and lazy afternoon at Leslie’s side would be a fine way to enjoy a truly passionate, talented writer.
  • Susan of The Kitchen Designer {Not Pictured}. Talk about a gal I’d like to get into my kitchen. Susan’s design ability is exactly the sort of gift no one person should get. But there it is, she’s got it. And  I could admire her work and her understanding of the industry for a month straight. (Especially if it was in MY kitchen. Ahem, note to hubby.)
  • Robyn of Add a Pinch (Top Left) reminds me of the finest Southern Lady. She exhibits the divinest manners. She loves her family. She smiles endlessly. And she can cook up a storm. Just visit her blog and try not to get addicted.
  • Kate and Sarah of Our Best Bites (Top Middle) are the very sort of girls you instantly like. Devoted mamas, talented photographers and recipe writers, wok-flippers extraordinaire.  Two minutes with their shiny selves and you can see why they nabbed a cookbook contract in no time at all.
  • Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer (Top Right) has a mother’s heart. She wraps everyone in warm hugs and has welcoming, loving eyes. She can also work a cocktail dress like nobody’s business. So, yep. That makes her the ideal person to write about hostessing splendid parties.
  • Tessa of Handle the Heat (Lower Left) may have been the youngest of our group, but don’t be fooled by her fairy-like complexion and cuter-than-honey dimples. She’s a talented culinary student and no-holds-barred blogger. Her recipes are bright and brilliant, with photos are pretty as she is.
  • Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod (Lower Mid-Left) there with her better half, Josh, it was lovely catching up with two favorite friends. Maria is the heart and soul behind the famed Two Peas and Their Pod website, which has been featured on The Pioneer Woman website, and has received worthy praise for Maria’s talented take on simple foods. Plus, she’s expecting a baby in September and has the teensiest belly you’ve ever seen. Ca-ute!
  • Amanda of Kevin and Amanda (Lower Center) So, Amanda is entirely wondrous. Her website is a gift. It’s just a downright celebration, with to-die-for photos, stories, and recipes narrated by Amanda’s signature warmth and goodness. We ate cupcakes at midnight. So, that pretty much confirms to me that Amanda is a kindred spirit to all baked-goods lovers out there. The end.
  • Anne of Fannetastic Food (Lower Right) Looking for a vibrant, energetic way to indulge in food while taking care of your body. Anne’s blog (and very presence) is a happy little shot in the arm, which reminds you to live life to the fullest and never settle for anything but joyful fun.
  • Irvin of Eat the Love (Bottom Right) I find that I’m endlessly in admiration with people who’ve got personality, and Irwin fits the bill big-time. He’s whip-smart, feisty, and fun to be around. Especially when there is a midnight swim and waterproof camera there to celebrate 35th birthdays and such. I’m not the only one who finds Irvin fabu. Saveur recently named him  one of their 2011 Sites We Love.

Many thanks to Thermador for compensating the travel, room, and meals enjoyed during my stay in Scottsdale. While it was very generous of the company to cover my costs, I hope you’ll assume that everything written here is my opinion because…it is! The Thermador products are truly exceptional pieces. They stand out in the market as “the real thing” and ought to be high on everyone’s list of kitchen wants & needs. So there. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t express my particular gratitude to Beatriz for a dinner conversation about smooching on our cute children. Such a highlight.  Big thanks, as well, to the Thermador crew and kitchen staff, including Janne, skinny Amber, and Chef Brad.  Equal gratitude goe to Chris Yemma and Linda Klouta, who I know put a multitude of hours into planning a perfect event. All your hard work paid off. Thank you! It really was a delightful trip. Even the part where you followed my husband’s misguided wishes and embarrassed me for my birthday. Yep, even then.