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Better Together: Kitchen Remodelers and Luxury Appliance Dealers

Renowned Chef, Andrew Forlines talks about how luxury appliance dealers can work with kitchen designers and remodelers to create the best possible kitchen renovation outcome.

Topics discussed on the Pocast about luxury appliance dealers working with kitchen designers and how high-end appliances and how they can complement a kitchen remodel project

The kitchen remodeling industry is a competitive one with contractors vying for the attention of homeowners. To set themselves apart, some contractors work with luxury appliance dealers to use high-end appliances as a focal point in their designs. These kitchens can be attractive and have items that are used for complex cooking and made of higher quality materials than those offered by bargain brands. In this podcast we will discuss how these appliances can complement your kitchen remodeling business and why you should consider them as part of your design strategy.

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Audio Transcript

Hi there, this is Michael Goldstein with the crushing it with kitchen or modeling podcast and we are so lucky today to have with us chef Andrew four line to talk about all the appliances that might be helpful in a kitchen remodel and we’re gonna talk about that just after this, are you looking for some fresh ideas to jump start your kitchen remodeling business. Welcome to the crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcast, your host, Michael Goldstein, founder of kitchen remodeling, etc. Oh, the digital marketing agency, working exclusively with kitchen remodeling contractors and also the author of the ultimate internet marketing guy for kitchen remodeling contractors will provide insights on proven tips and strategies from top experts in this space so that you can take advantage of industry best practices. Your host, Michael Goldstein join Mike as he shares his knowledge each week with an insightful interview or educational segment about how to turn your online marketing efforts into more kitchen remodeling leads and sales opportunities than ever before. Hi there. So it is Mike Goldstein with the crushing it with kitchen modeling podcast again and again. We are here today with Chef Andrew for Lies, who’s going to tell us all about some of the hottest appliances out there today and how they can be used to enhance the kitchen model. So with that said Andrew, welcome to the show, Hey, thanks so much for having me on. Oh my pleasure! So Andrew, I I know that you’ve, you know, you’ve spoken quite a bit at industry events and you know, and people, you know, have, you know, have a great respect for kind of, your, your overall, just a chef and, and kind of how you take the home chef and turn them into, you know, into something so much better with great appliances and right set up and all that. But for for anybody, you know, who hasn’t seen you before, tell me a little bit about yourself, you know, who are you, how did you get into all of this? Yeah, so you’re right, I have done quite a bit with national Kitchen about association, represented at cave is the last two years, which is the national uh convention for Kitchen and Bath design. My background is in fine dining, so I spent several years in fine dining restaurants and hotels. I was trained at the Broadmoor hotel here in Colorado, they have their own working apprenticeship. So I went in as a teenager and said, hey, I want to learn how to cook, it was a three year apprenticeship under you know, acclaimed chefs from, you know, all over the world. International chefs is a five star resort, five diamond resort. So I worked about eight years there working my way up from an apprentice to running one of the kitchens, one of the restaurants, there a lot of fine dining focus, but I’ve always been passionate about food science and also the technology that enables us to create delicious cuisine. We do um you know, I came up when molecular gastronomy was really becoming a big thing, which is the fine dining, you know, kind of real, real finesse food. Um you know, you hear terms like deconstructed cuisine and so that was really a passion of mine is learning some of the newer technology that was coming in to the professional space through, you know, we were borrowing lab tech emergent circulators for savi cooking, um induction probe thermometers, all the real fine tools, which has come to the rest of the residential space. So um I’ve transitioned into a role as a customer educator, kitchen design, educator and sales staff, um educator for manufacturer reps, retailers, um, anyone in the residential space. So there’s a bit, there’s a huge influx of advanced technology that’s come from fine dining that’s come from the commercial space now in the home space. And um I’m kind of feeling that education gap, so teaching people how to select it, you know, what picks pick the right things for their lifestyle and their cooking style, but then also how to use it and harness its potential. That makes a lot of sense. I mean obviously you’ve worked with quite a few of the other newer or the, you know, the latest technology and all that and you know, I think a lot of people with the advent of the food network and all, you know, all this education and youtube and what not, you know, they get excited about different cuisines and different things, but they just don’t know how to do it or they just don’t know, you know what they need to make it happen. Um So you know with that said, you know, if I was looking at a kitchen remodel, you know, and I’m gonna turn my kitchen into something new, something that I can maybe try and mimic some of my favorite meals that I’ve seen. You know, what are some of the hot items right now that I really wouldn’t want to make sure I incorporate into my remodel. Sure. So um, you know, you’re gonna think about steam ovens, combi ovens are really taking off those are where we’ve got a convection oven that also has a steam generator so it can inject steam into the oven cavity and you can control the humidity level. Um and there’s quite a few of those on the market now that, you know, all of this technology migrates in premium side and then trickles down and so we’re starting to see it all really take hold in the mid market tier appliance brands. So a lot of people able to harness uh this technology regardless of the brand they go with. But steam ovens I think are really fantastic saying to to start experimenting with getting people involved with getting their hands on because you know, that’s the gold standard in restaurants and fine dining and banquet is a combi oven, we call it combi, which is short for combination. So that’s dry heat plus humidity control. So it gives you the most control and precision that you could have with food. So you’re controlling the humidity points, you’re able to steam poach things um or do straight conviction. It’s a smaller oven, so it’s gonna preheat quicker. Some other technologies I would definitely encourage looking at with the induction, which is uh made the old electric top stove obsolete in my mind, right? So it’s electric powered, which potentially could be from renewable sources. Um but it’s going to be much more powerful than electric than what you think of a coil top or radiant heat is going to use a magnetic generator to interact with the metal itself. So inductions fantastic for its heat, heat conversion efficiency. It’s clean cleanliness, both in the working surface, but then also how it cooks. You’re not creating a lot of um nasty chemicals in the house. You’re not burning gas. Um You know, I I personally prefer induction indoors for its clean ability for better air quality. And then I do a lot of gas cooking outdoors. So our outdoor kitchen market is growing and we’re seeing a lot of high powered btu gas burners that can be put outdoors. Um So you’re not having to deal with ventilation or restriction on your your heat output. Um And then we’re seeing a lot of integration of Bluetooth and wifi. So most brands are tinkering with this in some way. Um And so we’re seeing a couple of things, you know, a lot of the selling point is like, oh you can preheat it on the way home. But that’s that’s one thing what I think of as other room cooking. So if I’m having a guest over, you know, my Bluetooth enabled range or oven is going to be able to show me in my app what temperature at that where the foods at. And we’re able to cook more confidently and more comfortably with having that information. And another thing that that wifi connected appliances going to do is do self diagnostics, but also tell the, you know, if something ever fails on it or you need service, you’re going to get of technician there already knowing what’s wrong with it and bring in the right part. So we’ve got fewer trips to get things back up and running. Yeah, so I think those are the three big things yeah that are, that are really taken off. It’s interesting you talk about the the wires, I mean I know myself, I’m kind of an amateur smoke smoker and one of the things that, you know, I’m doing a lot is I might be making a pulled pork or doing a brisket or something that’s 12, maybe even a 16 hour cook And I sure don’t want to get up at 3:00 AM, I’m putting putting the thing on the smoker. you know, it’s so helpful this to be able to turn around. I mean, yes, sometimes the phone is going to be back and say, hey, you know, you’re reaching X temperature and you want to no doubt that they are godsend. Um, so with that set and let’s talk about, you know, kind of smoking versus grilling and all that kitchen. So with outdoor kitchen, I know one of the things that people really worry about is kind of there having this brand new kitchen put together, they’re having this beautiful, beautiful walls or so, you know, the ceiling is set up, it’s not drop ceiling outside anymore. You know, it’s something kind of nice. Is there a way that they can have, you know, smoke or either either through a smoker or grill where it may not damage the kind of the, the exterior of the kitchen. Yeah. So, you know, you’re gonna be mindful of what kind of ventilation or air movement you’re gonna need. Most of them are going to be, you know, that there’s code and then there’s building spec that are gonna say, hey, it’s gotta be a certain amount away from the walls. It’s gotta be a certain distance from, you know, in preference to like from doors and windows and things like that. We’re also seeing a lot of uh, you know, spacers and heat blockers were doing a lot of wind blocking. So in Colorado, here, we actually have um, a lot of outdoor kitchens because we can grill quite a bit he around, but then also we’ve got a lot of wind. So uh, the reps always tell me, hey, you know, in Colorado, we sell more wind blocking units than anywhere else because of that wind. So you gotta take all that stuff into account if you’re right under a, directly under an overhang, you are going to want to have some kind of, you know, ventilation system there. But there’s ways of getting creative and maybe moving your kitchen a little further out just so you’re not restricted with ventilation because the more BTU the more gas were burning, the higher the ventilation is going to need to be. So you do want to be mindful of those um, you know, he heat output, smoke output and that kind of stuff, but there are, there are uh solutions there for sure. That’s great. Um, you know, now moving kind of back inside, you had mentioned that, you know, you’re more of a fan of the induction than than the gas stove and, and what not now, I know a lot of people when they’re putting together the, especially the luxury kitchen, they’re looking at more than one of it. Um, you have, you have a preference, I mean in terms that you keep it all the same or do you have one of each, how, you know how, what’s the best way to go about that? Yeah, so when we’re talking to a larger kitchen, a premium uh, kitchen design. Usually we’re going to the cooktop separated from the oven. So not a range. Um Some people do it if they want that style, but we’re seeing a lot of cooktop and then a dual oven set up. So your cooktop when you separate it from the oven. So not a range, you’re able to have someone cooking on the cooktop and then someone getting in and out of the oven without everyone on top of each other, right? So you’re able to kind of space out a little bit there and get more people using the kitchen at once the cooktop. Usually then it’s gonna be a 36 inch instead of a 30 inch. So you’re getting more space, more burner space. Um And when you do induction, you can do a lot less ventilation. So you don’t need the huge hood because you’re not putting out most your ventilation needs are dependent on the BTUs. You’re burning of gas and it’s actually the carbon monoxide, we’re trying to get out of the house, Not necessarily the smells of the particulates. Um Yes, you’re gonna want some ventilation with induction to get rid of those smells in particular, but you’re not by code needing a huge ventilation cfm cubic foot per minute leaving the house. So the induction can really save you on that, but to couple with an induction cooktop or any kind of cooked up. You know, they were gonna do double oven. So for a long time a double convection oven was the standard, we saw that in a lot of builds, right? And then people were using one of the most of the year and they turned the second of it on for the holidays, right? Yeah. What we’re seeing now, um respecting out a lot of specialty oven. So we’ll still get our conviction wall oven. That’s your large convection hot oven dry oven. It’s gonna the, you know, the the beast of the kitchen. And then above that we’re gonna have a specialty oven. And this is where we’re seeing the steam ovens get put in. So, steam ovens are usually a little bit smaller than your standard oven there, your european model. Um So we’re seeing more precision and control than necessarily space and power. Um but, you know, personally as a fine dining chef, I’m always more drawn to precision and control than just the horsepower or the, you know, the Btu output. Um so we’re seeing smaller ovens above that, that standard convection oven. So the steam ovens are a great thing for reheating proofing, steaming. You can bake bread in there. Um and we can talk more about the steam ovens. But the other specialty of what we’re seeing is what we call speed oven or convenience oven. And that’s a microwave with convection built in. So those are usually multi element heat source. So your traditionally you’ll have basically you have a conviction of them plus a microwave, the microwave can boost the speed and the cooking, but then the baking um is going to help get you that nice browning on the outside. You’re not sacrificing quality of food. Now, there’s gonna be a few different models and some of them brands are gonna have proprietary rights to technology. So some of them will have a broiler, uh, heating a conviction fan, some have a baking element. So it’s really about mixing those. And one thing the note in those um is that microwaves are a little tricky. Um, A standard microwave, when you put, say 30% power because you don’t want to overcook it and dry everything out. Most microwaves are going to do 100% power, 30% of the time. So it’s cycling on and off. Right? So like if I’m melting or softening butter in a, in a microwave and I lower the power, you can still get those melted holes in the middle because it’s a lot of energy, but just less frequently. Whereas when you get a real nice speed oven or conviction convinced convenience of them, we’re actually seeing a power inverter or regulator that can diminish the power output. So then we’re talking about having a microwave that’s truly at 30% of power. So we’re not over cooking it. Um we’re just boosting a little bit and that’s where the magic happens because you’re able to bake or roast embroil food in there and get the quality of food a little bit quicker, but not sacrifice, you know, the taste and the quality of the meal because you microwave a lot. It’s just a little bit to boost so you’re cooking from the outside in and the inside out. And another nice thing about the convenience ovens is for the families, you know, we see a lot of young people, families with young kids um that are there need a meal quickly. They want convenience and speed. The other thing is you’re gonna let kids use the convenience of it because it is a microwave based oven. Like I’m setting it, it’s going to start and stop even though it’s using baking elements and broiling elements. It’s using some microwave. It’s gonna act like a microwave and we’re more comfortable with young Children age appropriately using microwaves before the range of it. Right? So that’s something to consider too. You know, it’s funny you’re talking about this. I’m gonna imagine if you, if you saw back to the future part two. Yeah. You stick a little pizza in the oven. Slater comes out all hydrated. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I have to, I have to work against that when I’m in the showroom. So I’m cautioning people against that a little bit. There is no appliance that’s going to do everything perfectly all the time. Um, put it in, pull it out, you know, we’re still gonna, we’re still in charge, we’re still checking our food, making sure it’s done as automated as these ovens are with pre programmed recipes were still in charge, we’re still making those decisions. So um yeah, we’re starting to see that in the in the market place, a lot of ovens, you know that the old style is I tell the oven what to do, I turn it on to the setting, I put the food in and out. Um I’m in control and I’ve got to shut it off and now we’re seeing a lot of automated features, a lot of automated recipes built into the ovens where the oven tells me what to do and that’s great for someone not as comfortable in the kitchen or not savvy or have the experience where they’re getting a cooking lesson as they cook. Um So we’re starting to get there, we’re getting there. But yeah, we’re not, we’re not back to the future level. Yeah, but you know, it does sound though that, you know, the technology now can make the cook, whereas before the cook had to make the technology correct, correct? Yet we’re seeing a nice infusion their life nice mix. So with all the new technology that’s coming out and you know, and obviously, I mean you have different sizes, you have different pieces. I imagine that, you know, you have a lot of opportunity, you know, you are even someone like you and depending on where we are in the country would have to work with the kitchen designer or even with a modeler, you know, to make sure that not only does does someone get a great design and functionality, but that everything kind of fits and that it’s all planned out appropriately. What’s the process, you know that you have at least, you know, when you get to work with a designer and installers and all of that. Yeah, so it’s actually kind of turned around in the last few years. So I even have the kitchen design firms that, you know, it used to be a customer will go in and say hi, I’m designing a kitchen and the designer and say, okay, where’s your house? What’s your space? Let’s mock it up. Now, go to the appliance retailer and fit it. Um but we don’t have that standard package that we don’t have the range fridge, dishwasher triangle that, that used to be the big set and go and the sizes didn’t shift much. Um Now I’m getting a lot of kitchen design firms that are saying, did you pick your appliances first and then come to design the kitchen because what happens is I’m in the showroom, I’m in a lot of these retail showrooms and other chefs are doing it too, but you know, I get clients in and they say, hey, here’s our kitchen design now, let’s pick the appliances and we say, well wait a second, Things have changed in the last five, 10 years, um your package is gonna be larger or differently shaped than it was before. Um And so once they see all the technology and I don’t do any direct sales, I only do the education piece and I always say, hey, I want to do education based decision making, I want to educate you and what’s available and you make the best choice for your lifestyle and your budget. Um But at least know that technology is out there and so it’s changing in a faster pace that we need to slow down the process. I do client consultations, selection consultations. Um I work in a lot of the retail showrooms and then I also do like a post project celebration dinner. Uh So a kitchen design firm or builder remodeler might hire me in to do an education. So say they came in, they talked to me, we selected steam ovens and induction and some of those automated stuff. I’m doing a lot of in home dinner parties after the project finished, to cook with them and give them a hands on tutorials through the product. Um I do that in the showroom, uh pre imposed purchase, but then we can also do it with the consumer. You know, we’re doing a lot more speaking with, you know, uh it’s a selection process and it’s changed, you know, so to have that mindset remodelers can get a good partnership with retail showroom, you know, a lot of people think, oh, I gotta go to the box store or you know who sells appliances. You know, it’s not a process that people go through enough to be savvy with it, right? So how often does somebody a consumer actually remodeling or getting a kitchen, You know, it’s 5 to 10 years that cycle sometimes even longer people aren’t moving and they’re, they’re aging in place. So, you know, having getting someone on the inside and as, as savvy as a remodel or kitchen designer is even the kitchen designers who work in this space, they’ve got to have a retailer that they trust who they work hand in hand with, who they can send clients to and are comfortable. But this retailer, this sales person is going to have their best interests at heart and then also know what’s available because it changes, you know, think of, think of the industry, that appliance industry this way, you know, we’re the third largest purchase, there’s home automobile and then large appliances, you know, it’s expensive purchase. So we want to get it right. And we’re are funny spot because our premium showrooms, our showrooms are like every car dealership under one roof. So, um, you know, there’s a lot of competing brands, there’s a lot of competing messaging and there’s a brand rep for each brand coming in telling the salespeople why their products are back. So we have to sit through all this information, we’re in indicted all the time and then match people up with it. So it’s really a process that you need to a lot, a little more time for. Um, I encourage kitchen designers and remodelers, hey, bring your clients in, come in with them. Um, just to, to get that relationship going. There’s more to see now than ever and find your, you know, I say premium showroom, but I work with, you know, private independent showrooms that um, you know, every city, every market has them that are not a box store, their uh, their, their specializing appliance and they’re doing all the installing themselves, which is important. All right. And you know, I also know that when you’re looking at, you know, picking up your appliances, it’s not just picking out the right technology or the right brand, all that, but it’s making sure that it’s going to fit in, you know, and especially, you know, maybe, you know, more upscale areas where it may be condos that you’re doing in Manhattan, you know, in san Francisco in boston and places like that. You know, it’s a smaller kitchen where countertop space is at a premium. I mean, there’s, you know, there’s a lot, I think where the designer and the alliance people, they really need to kind of work together because it’s just, you know, ultimately the customer is not gonna be happy if they don’t have to design they want and they’re sure it’s I’m not gonna be happy if they don’t have, you know, the stove, the oven, whatever it might be, because, you know, the kitchen maybe the heart of the home, but let’s be real, it’s where you’re going to cook, you know, it has to serve that function for sure. Yeah, and that’s what the retailers, you know, we have spec sheets for everything, the brands have to update us. So it’s really getting that partnership going between a remodel, our kitchen designer with the retailer with the salesperson, um, who can help give all those specs, you know, we’re all about making sure things fit, let’s get it right. Um, because if it doesn’t fit, you know, that’s a problem for everybody. Um, and then, yeah, we’re just seeing, we’re just seeing a lot of opportunity to collaborate in that space and then talking about counter space. So yeah, the smaller, the smaller kitchens are really advancing. Uh, we do a lot of that here in the ski, the ski towns, a lot of ski condos or second homes and those kinds of things. So we’re seeing that smaller and that’s been a huge influx on the american brands have had to keep step with the european brands where european brands are always a little bit ahead on efficiency because energy costs so much more over there and a little bit ahead on space because they have less space, right? Um, so we’ve seen this huge influx of premium brands offering, you know, 24 inch, 15 in burners. You know, a lot of smaller stuff. A lot of your modern um, minimalist layouts are going to be smaller burners or smaller, different styles, you know, linked together. Um, but you can do a lot more in smaller spaces than ever before. And we’re seeing that the huge growth area and then you were talking about counter space. Hey, that’s another win for induction because when it’s off, you can’t turn it on unless there’s a metal magnetic metal panda interact with. So I treat those as counter space. You can set up a cutting board on one of the burners because at the flat glass top, um, which you can’t do with gas, Right? So if you’re using one burner for a quick saute or whatever you’re making, you can set up account a cutting board right on your induction top. So it does, you know, I can come in and put all my groceries on the induction top and not worry about it accidentally turning on and burning it. Yeah, definitely. We said that I’d be concerned with. So, I mean, you’re giving up a lot of great information and I’m sure a lot of people who watch this would love to kind of get more from you. So if somebody wanted to get in touch with in touch with the Andrew, how would they find? Yeah. So since Covid, I’ve gone independent, I’m not full time with any particular showroom here in colorado. Uh, I’m with my own website is Chef Af dot com and I do education and content creation around um, appliances, brands, food technology, food science, all that good stuff. Um, you know, I work with, I’m certified with in KB, A National Kitchen about Association and the American Society of Interior Designers. Um, I’m certified in both of their continuing education program. So I have my own curriculum, which is an hour program on advanced technology, restaurant technology in the home kitchen. So I do a lot of presentations for chapters of the trade associations. Um, I just did the national webinar for N. K. B. A. So I do that educational piece. So I am available to do virtually or in person chapter meetings or even just um, you know, if a manufacturer wants to bring me in for a lunch and learn those kinds of things. So I’m always about it, teaching and letting people know more and more, um, keep an eye on the website. Chef Af dot com because I’m building more and more uh content and resources. So, you know, I’m, I’m working on a appliance selection guide for end users and for designers and remodelers. So that’s gonna come um in the next several months. Yeah, let’s go into, it’s good someone able to find you on facebook or youtube as well. Yeah. So I do have a youtube channel, Chef Af or Chef A. F. L. L. C. That’s on there. You can link through from my website, The website gets everyone started and integrated with my Youtube. I have some social stuff, but I’m not as active there as I as I probably should be. Um, but you know, we’re all pivoting constantly and focusing on on what we can. I’ve been doing a lot of um, events now locally here. A lot of showroom events since covid restrictions have looked at a little bit, so in person is starting to happen a little smaller scale. But um, definitely keeping me busy. Well, that’s great. I want to thank you for coming on the show today. I mean, I think that the big takeaway here for anybody is make sure you look at induction heavily, definitely be big on that. And you know, again, if anybody wants to find out more about this, check out Chef Af dot com talk to Andrew, he seems to be the absolute source on anything Kitchen technology based, whether it’s colorado or I’m sure you can be happy to talk to people across the country and guessing. Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me on my pleasure. Well, again, this was Michael Goldstein. This is the crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcast. Thanks everybody for tuning in live and we will check out soon. Alright, bye bye

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