Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Miele Experience Centre: The Kitchen of the Future?

There is an episode of The Simpsons where the eponymous family grow tired of their old kitchen and purchase a state of the art culinary behemoth voiced by Pierce Brosnan.

It turns out to be so advanced that Marge, the familial matriarch, is left with almost nothing to do: the kitchen prepares and cooks by itself and even clears away the detritus and dirty dishes.

No doubt owing more than a mere nod to Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, the kitchen develops an awareness of its own consciousness and power and begins to take over, leaving the Simpsons with little choice other than foist the technology onto Patty and Selma, Marge’s sisters, and revert back to their old appliances.

I couldn’t help thinking back to this episode when cooking at the Miele Experience Centre, a futuristic temple to cooking just outside of Oxford.

I’d been invited, along with four like-minded bloggers who’s lives revolve around food as much as mine, to test out some of the gadgetry and cook up an Irish themed feast in honour of St. Patrick’s Day.

[Beef ready to be cooked in Guinness]

And the gadgetry is certainly impressive: ovens with a seemingly endless selection of pre-set programmes, indoor barbecues complete with lava rocks, self-opening dishwashers and pressure ovens that appeared more intelligent than some of the lecturers I had at Cambridge.

But I learnt to cook on an AGA. I learnt by instinct, about why things happen, how they happen and how they can be improved. I’ve burnt and ruined and undercooked countless dishes and each one has made me a better cook.

I love the hands on aspect of cookery. The trials and tribulations of the kitchen, the ongoing process of creation. Put too much faith in technology and, for me, as a committed foodie of the old school, this link is lost.

There is no doubting the quality of the appliances, the professionalism, friendliness and sheer knowledge of the Miele team or the potential fun to be had in the test kitchen.

[Veggies on the indoor barbie]

But as to whether you want a kitchen that gives NASA a run for its money in terms of technology, that’s up to you to decide.

Fancy having a crack at playing in the kitchen of the future? Sign up for a Miele ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ day and you can. See here for more info.

For other bloggers take on the experience see Joanna's Food, the Cycling Cook, Princess and the Recipe and Almanzo’s Belly.

For more from me, just scoot on over to Twitter.


Dee said...

While having a top of the line kitchen is a must for most people, I'm happy as long as I have a gas range top and convection oven. And timer. That's all I need.

This reminds me of the kids currently coming out of uni with science degrees. They may know how to use the latest and greatest equipment (or not), but ask them a question about basic theory, and they're not sure.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Good heavens - an episode of the Simpsons that I haven't seen!

I am so annoyed - I was invited on that one too. I would have liked to meet you and Sam.

Joanna said...

Yes, I'm not too keen on the kitchen taking over the functions of the cook - all that business of timing things exactly, the real world isn't like that (you forgot to take the meat out of the fridge, the eggs are 2 weeks old etc etc). But the engineering is superb, and coupled with the design integration - there's very little contest. Especially as the place where all this stuff is going to go is where the Aga currently stands. And that's another piece of kit that is wonderfully well made (although I hear the newer ones aren't all they used to be ...)

It was good to meet you, albeit briefly


Just Cook It said...

Darlene - I'm with you on that one. Nice analogy too.

Foodycat - It is Treehouse of Horror XII (according to Wiki). Shame you couldn't have made it.

Joanna - Totally agree with you and of course, cannot deny the quality of the products. Horses for courses, I suppose. Lovely to meet you too

Angry Brit said...

I love the Simpsons...

One of the aspects I love best about cooking is the ability to immerse myself completely in every single nuance of the food. If I had a kitchen that did it all for me, I know I would not enjoy it anywhere near as much.

Although I wouldn't complain if it wanted to do the dishes.