Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens.
The rooms where we cook, eat, and schmooze can no longer be described as just "kitchens." Visit an event like the International Contemporary Furniture Fair that recently wrapped up in New York City or check out well-trafficked blogs like Dwell.com and you will see that kitchens have become full-fledged design statements.
A top-of-the-line kitchen from, say, uber-hip Italian design shop Valcucine is fabulous and environmentally correct, but I personally couldn't care less. The kitchen as bowling alley or jet runway or whatever is not part of my eat/drink/consume caffeine DNA. What I do care about, being a tech geek, is simple: the oven.
Boxes that bake and broil have become crowded with different offerings. Oven makers, under pressure to be more energy efficient and find a niche in this jammed arena, are cramming every possible feature into their ovens: convection modes, microwaves, yet more fans here and there, heaters of every possible material. It's all pretty dizzying.
But before you dive in to the world of oven tech, a word to the wise:"You need to know what types of cooking gear you can use in each setting," says Jay Brewer, editor of Kitchen Contraptions, an online kitchen testing and information service in Arlington, Mass. "You have to have two sets of stuff - one that works in microwave only, one that works in convection and some that work in both.
So assuming you can handle this sort of complexity, here is what's hot right now in making things, well ... hot.
TurboChefOVEN30" Double Wall Speedcook oven (Approx $7,500 uninstalled)
If it's good enough for Subway, it's good enough for you. Dallas-based TurboChef should be familiar to some investors. This one-time stock highflier supplied the ovens to the nation's Subway sandwich franchises. Now the company has rolled its commercial oven expertise into a line of consumer products.