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Interview with Cook-N-Dine

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They are unusual and expensive. Many consumers are buying the Cook-N-Dine line of residential teppanyaki style cooktops and tables from Germany. Many are asking questions before deciding, so here are some answers about this unusually elegant and versatile appliances and Cook-N-Dine new approach to cooking and dining. Appliancist talked to Bea Gebhardt, Vice President and Director of Marketing of Cook-N-Dine International, Inc. in Miami, Florida.

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Cook-N-Dine flameless cooking table grill

Your products are quite unique in the US market. Please give us some company background and history. Do you have any competition in Europe?
It all started back in the seventies, when mechanical engineer, industrial designer and passionate hobby cook Paul Schacht III of Munich, Germany, came up with a sparkling idea that everyone can capitalize on. Paul was fed up with standing alone in the kitchen preparing dinner at night while the family members lingered around elsewhere waiting for the food.

It was a challenge for him to transform the Cook-N-Dine idea into reality, but not a real problem. His grandfather, Paul Schacht, who founded the family business in 1887 in Stendal, Germany, manufactured fancy horse carriages and later custom bodies for automobiles.

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Built-in round cooktop

Paul Schacht III gained fame introducing several groundbreaking innovations to the automobile industry. Quite a number of CDS or Creativ Design Schacht products are part of today's standard equipment of Mercedes Benz and BMW automobiles.

Cook-N-Dine is on the market in Europe for more than 15 years now and was introduced to the trade in the US in 2004. Sure, there is competition like with any other product. However, a Teppanyaki style cooking device with these properties in a sleek, elegant design for residential use is absolutely unique.

How are three different temperature sections achieved with Cook-N-Dine? How is a concave pit formed from what we understand is one steel piece?
The worldwide patented Cook-N-Dine product concept is based on the reaction of specially pressed 304 food-grade German stainless steel to the direct contact with a new, high-tech heating element. When on, it causes the center of the unit to gently bow downward, thus containing all the fine food juices in the middle of the cooking center.

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Concave pit when is ready for cooking

This heating element, combined with the physical properties of true 304 stainless steel and the way it was pressed also results in a 2-3 inch wide area around the cooking center, where the temperature reaches about 50% of the set temperature. This warming zone allows to keep ready-to-serve food warm while other ingredients of the meal are cooked in the center.

Cook-N-Dine cooktops emulate the cooking principle of a very flat wok. Stainless steel tables also feature a third zone, the so-called "dining area". This area stays absolutely cold and offers enough room to accommodate plates, silverware, glasses, napkins etc.

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Smoke, shrimp, red wine

All models have one important thing in common - when switched off the surface reverts back to completely flat as if nothing ever happened.

When it comes to buying, can consumers buy direct? Are there distribution centers?
Cook-N-Dine is distributed nationwide, as well as in Canada, The Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand. It can be found at appliance dealers, kitchen + bath showrooms, specialty outdoor/grill/patio stores, or ordered through designers, architects or countertop and cabinets dealerships.

When it comes to repairing your products which likely never needed but still, what are the consumer options?
We maintain a group of highly skilled technicians who are available nationwide on request. The default rate is under 0.5% in over 5 years in the US. Should however a unit fail to perform under the warranty, the unit would be simply replaced.

How fast does it warm up and is ready to go?
The warm-up time to 250° F or 120° C is just 1.25 minutes. From there to the highest 450° F contact temperature setting it takes only 1.45 minutes.

How do you clean the cooking surface?
Contrary to the common perception, stainless steel is super-easy to clean. All you need to do is warm up the unit and cook off all remains with a little plain water. Wipe clean and polish with food-safe mineral oil or a quick spritz of no-stick cooking spray.

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Ultra-slim built-in cooktop

Can some of your outdoor units be installed and used on boats or RV’s? What about salt water – will it cause any damage to ANY parts?
All Cook-N-Dine models are approved for outdoor use, even on a yacht. The electrical and electronic components are sealed in to withstand the elements. Simply wipe the exterior clean on a regular basis to prevent small particles from sticking to the stainless steel surface.

If a consumer wants a custom layout, will CND make it?
That’s the beauty. A Cook-N-Dine can be custom-made to the customer’s specifications. We have made halfmoon-shaped built-in’s, full-size kitchen island countertops and even a complete bar-top cover which really cooks, thanks to the ultra-slim heating elements.

What new products, if any, are coming to the market and when?
This year’s big introduction will be the "MarinYaki" yacht table. On May 22, 2008, it will be launched at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

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MarineYaki Table

In the US the "MarinYaki" will be presented to yachting enthusiasts at the International Ft. Lauderdale Boat-Show, held October 30 to November 3rd of this year. The fiberglass table models feature a centered, built-in 20" x 15" CND cooktop unit.

We are very proud about the successful introduction of the CND-Joko Teppanyaki grill cart earlier this year, a great collaboration of clean Italian design and craftsmanship, paired with German engineering. This model is an exclusive for the American market.

Currently we are working on a larger size, more powerful CND Portable Unit - 27-9/16" diameter versus 23-1/2", which is scheduled to be released in August/September 2008. For more information see Cook-N-Dine.

Posted in Insider Interviews at May 15, 2008 1:56 PM

 
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