Hey Design Fans! Last week I had the opportunity to attend a couple of very interesting design seminars at the annual NeoCon trade fair at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. One of the seminars was about creating an “intelligent” kitchen and I thought I’d share with you a couple of things that I learned. One of the products discussed in the seminar was Induction cooktops. Induction cooking isn’t new- it’s been in Europe for quite some time, but isn’t as widely known here as I think it should be. It’s a really safe and “green” way of cooking, utilizing magnets. Intrigued?? Ok, here’s how it works: The cooktop is a type of glass, so there aren’t any raised burners- so far, kind of like an electric cooktop. Here’s the cool part (pun intended- you’ll see) underneath the glass is a coil that electricity flows through creating a magnetic field. With me so far? Don’t worry, you won’t need to have gotten A’s in high school physics to appreciate this. Now, you have to use pans that are either cast iron or stainless steel as these are magnetic. The cooktop will only work with these kinds of pans, you can’t use copper or aluminum. Once the pan is on the burner and you turn the burner on the magnetic field creates heat in the pan! Only the pan heats up, the cooktop remains cool. What that means is that most of the energy is actually being used to heat the pan – that translates to faster cook times, and a cooler kitchen. Nice to know that you can cook faster and stay cool during the summer, huh? Induction also has immediate heating, cool down, and adjustments- like gas cooking, and because the cooktop itself doesn’t get hot, it’s safer and easier to clean. Some even have a lock mode so the elements can’t be turned on. If you have little ones in the kitchen, or even for the safety of older cooks- those are features that are important. Have I mentioned looks yet? Talk about sleek and sexy! You can get them framed with a stainless frame around the cooktop or one that’s frameless and sits level with the countertop. Very unobtrusive. Now, you’re probably asking about cost- yes, induction cooktops are more expensive than electric or gas. If you’re on a really, really tight budget this may not be the appliance for you. However, if you appreciate the ability to have a sleek look, great control, and a cooler, safer, kitchen this would be the appliance to splurge on.