Once upon a time, long long ago, just after Randy and I started dating, I fell in love with a stove. We went to a party at one of his friends’ house and after walking in, my eyes jumped immediately to one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. A Viking. Not a tall Nordic man but a stainless steel stove. It was a six-burner stunner with a gorgeous hand-painted tile backsplash. I don’t know that I had ever seen a stainless steel appliance at that point in my life and I had certainly never seen anything so beautiful and so useful.
At the time, I was living in a tiny house with a tiny kitchen and a tiny stove with a tiny oven and I thought to myself, “Someday, I want a Viking.” I told Randy as much, even though we were newly dating and it was probably the kind of thing you “shouldn’t” say to a guy you had been with for three weeks. But I knew I was going to marry him. And, because it was early in our relationship, he probably did not yet know that when I want something badly enough, I will talk about it ad nauseum until somehow, some way, some day I get it.
Fast forward to 2006 and our purchase of a new-construction house. Much of the home was done and many of the choices were made but we did get to do some of the fun stuff, like pick granite, backsplashes, paint colors, lighting, cabinet colors, etc. Much to my HUGE delight, the appliances were ordered and they included a massive 48-inch Viking range and also a Viking refrigerator. My range has six burners plus a grill spot and has one small and one very large oven. I was ecstatic and could not wait to put that baby to the test.
Almost immediately, there were problems. The small oven bakes 25 degrees cold and the large oven bakes 50 degrees hot, something we could not seems to fix despite numerous attempts to re-calibrate. There is no timer and no self-cleaning feature. Over time, the burners have gotten really finicky – sometimes they work and sometimes they just click endlessly. Sometimes they light but another burner on another part of the stove clicks endlessly. For something that is supposed to be a performance superstar, it was nothing close. It is a beauty still, but beauty only takes you so far.
So, when Thermador asked if I would like to take a look at the exciting new Pro Grand Steam Range that they will unveil this August, I could not say yes fast enough. Sure, a couple of days in Scottsdale with food bloggers from around the country sounded like a lot of fun – and it was – but I was really interested to see what the competition is doing.
It turns out that there is no competition. What I saw in the spectacular Thermador showroom is not an appliance. It is a dreamy, beautiful, innovative, no-holds-barred, no detail left out, rock star, race car of a range. Yes, I am talking about a stove and no, I am not exaggerating. As this beauty was unveiled to the 18 bloggers in attendance, there were sighs, there were moans, there were sharp intakes of breath, there was applause, there were lots of flashes going off, and there was lots of wondering – how can I get this beauty in my home?
So, what makes it so special? Let’s start with the superficial. It’s gorgeous. Sleek, tricked out, and with the cool retro touch of an analog oven temperature setting, this baby would be at home in the most modern of kitchens. But, unlike my Viking, this is not just a pretty face. Every last detail has been thought out. Big things like the patented star shaped burner (which distributes heat much more efficiently with more intensity and fewer cold spots than a circle) and their innovative steam oven (which uses a combination of steam and convection to bake food gently but efficiently) are there. Or how about three oven racks that glide out smooth as silk unlike the fits and starts of my Viking. Those racks have a special slot for your oven-mitt-covered hand so you can pull them out easily. And both oven doors close with a soft touch so you can kick the door closed without a slam.
This range has six burners plus a grill and griddle (I had to choose either/or with my Viking) which are easily switched out. That griddle has a titanium coating so it doesn’t rust or scratch and there is a small, easily removed repository where you can scrape pancake bits into after using that griddle, you know, the one that can go in the dishwasher.
The cooktop gives you burners with incredible power and also with a gentleness that can allow you to place a paper plate with chocolate chips on it for the length of an afternoon. As we were learning about the stove, someone mentioned this fact which, I have to be honest, I did not believe. But after the unveiling, we were invited into one of the incredible kitchens in the Thermador showroom to cook lunch and I witnessed it first hand. That paper plate stayed on the stove the entire time we were there and never caught fire. Amazing. All in all, the Pro Grand Steam Range offers seven different ways to cook in one unit – steaming, convection baking, burner cooking, simmering, grilling, griddle cooking, and warming.
(Kathy and I manning the tofu station.)
My time at Thermador was incredibly interesting and a lot of fun. We got to stay at a gorgeous resort and ate so much terrific food. I met some lovely people with lovely blogs and my only regret is that I did not take enough pictures. Some of my friends have written up terrific posts about our time together and I invite you to check them out for great photography and some more info about this amazing range.
(Full disclosure – Thermador flew me to Scottsdale and paid my lodging, meals, and airport transfer. There was no pressure to write a glowing review, or even to write anything at all, it was my pleasure to do so.)