01 October 2010

The shape of induction cook tops to come

I love induction cook tops. I say it all the time. They're smarter, faster and more efficient than any other cooking technology out there. Induction may be new in the US, but it is here to stay. I keep up with new developments in the induction world and yesterday I stumbled upon this photo.

Big whoop, right? Well it is a big whoop because it's the first induction cook top on the market that dispenses with circular coils. here it is up close.

That's the 93cm Continuum Induction Hob from De Detreich, and the the world's first flexibly zoned induction cook top. Right now, it's only available in the UK but this is how they will all look and operate within the next two years, mark my words. By flexibly zoned I mean that the surface interacts with whatever pot or pan gets placed on it, regardless of the pot's size. You use the same controls for a Dutch over as you would a small saucepan and the cook top "knows" how big the metal surface is that's sitting on it and adjusts itself accordingly.

Let me explain a little bit.

Here's a particularly good induction cook top from GE Monogram. See the circles? It has round electromagnets underneath those circles. They're round because that's what people expect a burner to look like.

Electric burners are also round and they're round because gas burners are round.

Gas burners are round partially due to the way that gas functions, but that was lead by the woodstoves that proceeded the widespread adoption of gas. Since pots have been round ever since the dawn of pottery, it made sense to have round burners. However, not all pots and pans are round.

This is an All-Clad roasting pan. I like to make gravy right in the roasting pan after I remove a bird when I'm making a big meal.

Similarly, if I'm trying to boil sweet potatoes, boil regular potatoes, steam broccoli, reduce a sauce and make gravy at the same time, I run out of burners. With a zoned cook top, I'm not limited to the number of available burners. I'm only limited by the number of pots I can fit on the cook top.

It's genius. It's genius and it's definitely the shape of things to come.


  1. You are amazing Paul! It makes perfect sense that I would learn this first from you! I love induction and I can't wait for my next kitchen so I can have one for myself. I'm going to do a little investing to see when the next generation of induction is going to be available in the US. Maybe Miele has some insights. Happy October to you!

  2. Thanks Debbie, I've been predicting this for a while and I've been on the lookout for the first manufacturer to introduce a model. And here we go. My next cook top's an induction too, no question.

  3. Bookmarking this page.

    We should be remodeling our kitchen in about two years, so I'm hoping that lovely cooktop has made it to these shores by then.

  4. You and me both sister, you and me both.

  5. Wow, just had a "Why didn't I think of that?" moment. I could've used flexible zones so many times. I can't wait till we get these in our showrooms so I can test drive it! Thanks for the introduction, Paul

  6. Hi Paul I have cooked on induction for 20 years. (present kitchen excluded, because hubby wanted gas) It is the best!!!!!! Next kitchen I want both. Viking tried an experiment where they did one of their professional range tops in induction. It was 24 inches and matched the gas range top. When planning my last kitchen I was going to pair these two together to have the best of both worlds (making my my hubby and I happy). But for what ever reason it was on the market for 2 seconds and then disappeared.

    This cook top looks amazing. Maybe it will be here for my next kitchen. Sue

  7. This is a perfect example of pushing past what's always been done.

    I think we're all looking at it with a "why didn't we think of it" moment.

    Gravy, mmmm....

  8. Julie: I think we have to wait for a manufacturer who distributes in the US.

    Sue: KitchenAid makes a hybrid gas and induction cook top but they only distribute it in Germany and Italy unfortunately.

    Kelly: Yes, gravy. A friend refers to my gravies as "silken." I love that description. I swear, I'd drink a well-made gravy out of a glass if I could.

  9. That is why I like cooking on an Aga so much. OK, the hotplates are round, but also huge, and you can stick 3 saucepans on one, or one huge roasting tray, and cook away. So much easier to cook for a huge crowd with that sort of flexibility, so I can completely see how that clever induction hob would be great to work with (even for an aga cook!)

    It is getting a lot of advertising and press here in the UK, I'm sure a US launch isn't far away!

  10. Melissa: There are few things I enjoy more than hearing from people in places other than the US. Thank you. I love the idea of an AGA and if I had my way that's what I'd use as my every day cooking appliance. However, I live in a tropical climate and AGAs and the tropics are a bad mix. It's the very characteristics you describe that draw me to them --the huge burner surfaces. If climate change were working int he opposite direction and AGA'd be perfect but since that's not the case, a flexible induction is what it's going to have to be. I hope you're right about the eventual US launch and I'm happy to hear that this hob is getting so much attention over there.

  11. Ahh, too kind! There are few things I enjoy more than hearing from people who live in tropical climates while I listen to the horizontal rain lash against the window and think "I must put my pjs on the Aga to warm up before I get ready for bed"..!
    In a choice between life in the tropics and an Aga, the 5 tonnes of cast iron would be tossed aside faster than you could say "Pina Colada", I'm afraid to say!

  12. Great post Paul...love it when technology solves a latent problem...thanks for sharing:

    Reminds me of favorite old ad:


  13. Melissa that's hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. I can imagine that AGA-warmed PJs do take the edge off things.

    Mike: Great ad, thanks!

  14. Hi Paul, We have had induction hobs here for quiet a while in Ireland. I think the great thing about induction is that it only heats the saucepan content. I seen a demonstration recently where the sales assistant put a piece of paper between the bottom of the pan and the hob and the paper was intact while the water in the pot boiled!! I think its important to note that not all saucepans work with induction. I think the saucepans need a metal base rather than stainless in order for the hob to work.(or something like that) Neff appliances are really ahead of the competition in this area. Their oven have a technology called circotherm which eliminated the need to preheat an oven and allows you to cook lets say a chicken on one shelf and an apple pie on the other without cross contamination of the foods or flavours!
    That's enough waffling from me for now. Keith.

  15. Hey Keith, thanks for checking in. We've had them for a while over here too although it's only now that they're catching on. What's so cool about these is the idea of a flexible induction zone, that's one thing that hasn't crossed the Atlantic yet. It'll get here eventually though but it can't happen soon enough.

    So far as which cookware works with induction, I always tell my clients to take a magnet with them when they shop for pots and pans. If a magnet sticks, then induction will work on it.

  16. Didn't Bosh or Electrolux, maybe Miele already have this for a year or something available?

  17. OOps! "Bosch".

  18. Bosch and a couple others have something similar, but this one takes a different approach. Previously, these flex modules used two round burners side by side with graphics that made it look like a single burner. This one is a single burner.

  19. Paul - great post.
    Refreshed and updated our knowledge on Induction Cooking.
    Wonderful addition to any kitchen.


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