Gaggenau started as a blacksmith forge in Germany’s Black Forest more than 300 years ago. It now makes kitchen appliances that embody the essence of luxury — a dedication to quality above all else, and a wish to enrich people’s lives on many levels.
The company creates its appliances not simply as tools for cooking, but more profoundly as part of a greater culinary culture. Gaggenau’s restaurant, its celebrity haute cuisine events, its kitchens around the world that employ renowned chefs to teach cooking — all of these initiatives cultivate an appreciation of the fine cuisine for which Gaggenau’s appliances are made.
Gaggenau also produces a magazine — Gaggenau: The Magazine — about craftsmanship and design, featuring interviews with architects, photographers, chefs, potters, and other artisans and artists. It fosters the philosophy of craftsmanship and ingenuity that is Gaggenau’s foundation.
“The whole mission of the company has been to design and produce products with a view to quality first and performance, and not built to a price point or to a cost structure,” says Steve Preiner, director of marketing for Gaggenau. “You wind up with product that is for people who also don’t shop by price, they look at performance features.”
For example, Gaggenau makes oven doors out of cast metal, which is much more expensive than using the standard sheet metal. But it is more stable and heat resistant. “If that’s the best way to make a door, that’s how we’re going to make a door,” Preiner says.
“In any manufacturing process, the most expensive way to do something is by hand,” he says. “[Gaggenau’s] products are as close to handmade as you can get in a modern manufacturing environment.”
Where other companies may stamp out the seams on their appliances with a machine, at Gaggenau, someone grinds them down by hand and feels the surface to make sure it’s smooth. Each wiring harness is put in place by hand.
Chef Nikko Jacino, the official chef at Gaggenau’s kitchen in Toronto, shares with us how Gaggenau’s attention to detail and quality makes for the very best cooking experience.
“The food I cook in the Gaggenau steam oven comes out tasting more vibrant, and I’m able to play around more with the textures,” he says. One of the unique features of Gaggenau’s steam oven is that you have more precise control over how much steam you use. You can balance steam heat and radiant heat.
Gaggenau has also picked up on the new trend of sous-vide cooking, which involves placing food in a vacuum-sealed bag and using steam heat to cook it. Jacino says the Gaggenau sous-vide system helps him cook food at lower temperatures and with greater control, locking in the flavour.
Gaggenau’s signature Vario cooking system is a customizable and comprehensive kitchen setup — it gives you an electric grill, a deep fryer, a steamer, a sous-vide cooker, and more, all ready to go, right in your countertop. It offers the choice of gas, glass, or ceramic cooktops, and its zoneless cooktop delivers heat to exactly where you need it.
All of Gaggenau’s cooking systems will soon be integrated with open-source smart technology. This allows you to control your appliances from a distance, including preheating the oven on your way home or monitoring your cooking while you relax on the patio.
Jacino loves diverse ethnic cuisine. He says he uses the full-steam mode on the steam oven for many staples of Chinese cuisine, including dumplings, bao buns, “or just a bunch of bok choy.” He makes slow-roasted pork belly in the low-temperature mode, or Peking duck in one of the steam-convection modes.
“This oven really allows the consumer at home to experiment and play with different foods and ethnicities,” he says.
Gaggenau opened a flagship showroom in Chengdu, China, this year that is its largest in the world. Its design incorporates China’s aesthetic; it is a contemporary take on the Siheyuan (an ancient courtyard-style residence common in China). But the design also expresses Gaggenau’s German heritage, with a mini forest scene featuring large tree trunks from the Black Forest as a centrepiece in the courtyard.
Appliances are a big part of a kitchen’s aesthetics, and Gaggenau has developed an expertise in interior design in keeping with its holistic approach to its craft.
In the United States, Gaggenau Restaurant 1683 is a pop-up restaurant that has opened for a few nights each in different cities. The restaurant’s design has received as much attention as its food and celebrity-guest roster. Gaggenau created a magical setting for Restaurant 1683 that evokes the feeling of being in Germany’s Black Forest.
Much as a tree needs sun, water, and rich soil to thrive, Gaggenau’s appliances grow out of an environment in which fine cuisine, quality craftsmanship, and thoughtful design are plentiful.
Photos Courtesy of Gaggenau