As palates grow ever more refined, so do the gadgets home chefs reach for to fulfill their foodie fantasies. Some new small appliances—like a juicer that can sense the difference between the flesh of a blood orange and its peel— make us wonder if they’re smarter than we are.
Technology has enabled us to shrink commercial ovens to the size of a microwave, so we can turn out personal pizzas and flatbreads at a backyard barbecue. And we can buy microwaves in a rainbow of colors to match the décor of our indoor and outdoor kitchens, home offices and man caves.
While we salute the new, we also renew our appreciation for the classics—like a trusty Mr. Coffee and the pans that have been used in French kitchens since the 19th century. For those who appreciate both new and old, flash and finesse, here are the gourmet tools to have on hand.
Like your reliable Swiss Army knife, this timeless collection—also by Victorinox—will be a go-to in the kitchen. Handling all but the most specialized chopping, cutting and slicing chores, it is ideal for your second home or pied-à-terre. Grand Maître forged knives seamlessly transition from blade to handle with a subtle thickening of the steel, which acts as a bolster at the point where the two meet, preventing slipping. The set includes kitchen, steak, carving, Santoku and chef’s knives, plus multipurpose kitchen shears. $500, www.swissarmy.com.
Freshly baked pizzas in 60 seconds? The portable, insulated stone-floor Roccbox does just that, thanks to its oven reaching 930 degrees, heated by gas or wood. You can create movable feasts on the deck, the beach, at tailgates, pool side or wherever else you’re entertaining. It also cooks meat, fish and veggies faster than you can place a takeout order. Hopper tool, pizza peel, thermometer, recipe book and online recipe library included. $699, www.gozney.com.
The Northstar retro microwave combines high-tech features with vintage vibes. Made by Elmira Stove Works, it’s equipped with 1200 watts of power and a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet. It also features Genius sensor cook, which allows chefs on the fly to microwave food without setting the time. And it’s stylish, with nine standard colors and more than 1,000 custom shades. $699, www.elmirastoveworks.com.
Professional chefs and French foodies have been cooking with carbon steel for more than a century. Made in France, the Blue Carbon Steel is a hybrid of a cast-iron skillet—with its heat retention, seasoning and non-stick properties—and a stainless-steel frying pan. It also offers non-stick convenience and cooking speed. $269 for a three-pan set, madeincookware.com.
Even the slightest bit of rind can take your mimosa from superb to subpar. Vinci Housewares’ hands-free juicer makes certain that doesn’t happen, thanks to a high-torque, motorized base that automatically raises the reamer and a filter that extracts the most juice possible, stopping before it hits the rind. This dishwasher-safe tool can accommodate fruit as small as limes and as large as grapefruits. $99, vincihousewares.com.
Cedar planks from Wildwood Grilling infuse salmon and veggies with the fragrance of freshly cut wood. It’s also a rustic way to display and serve the fruits of your culinary labors. Made in Idaho, the planks are low-tech. Just soak them in water, add food and seasonings, and cook in the oven or on the grill. $10.99 for two, www.wildwoodgrilling.com.
Pour-over coffee allows for custom cups, barista-style. The technique is trickling into the mainstream thanks, in part, to Mr. Coffee’s All-In-One Home Pour Over Coffee Maker. It offers an integrated auto measure scale to calculate the precise amount of coffee and water, a temperature-controlled gooseneck kettle that heats to the optimal brewing temperature and a cone-style brewer that allows water to flow evenly through the grounds. $140, www.amazon.com.
For many tea lovers, being able to watch tea steep and adjust accordingly makes glass teapots the preferred vessel. And glass doesn’t absorb odors, so you can brew different blends without spoiling each tea’s unique aroma. Tea Repertoire’s handmade teapot is mouth-blown from pure borosilicate glass for heat-resistance, durability, radiance and clarity. The pot comes with two removable filters, a stainless-steel infuser and a coil filter to accommodate various types of tea leaves. $33, tearepertoire.com.