Connect with your kitchen

In today’s world, we are all connected in one way or another to everything around us, so why not be connected in your kitchen as well.  Thanks to Monogram’s WiFi Connect, you can talk to your appliances from anywhere – giving you the ability to monitor and control your appliances with your smartphone.

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How will Monogram’s connected appliances help you? So many ways!

Ovens:

  • Preheat your oven, no matter where you are
  • Set timer alerts when you are baking or roasting
  • Change the oven temperature from anywhere

Dishwashers:

  • See cycle time remaining
  • Lock and unlock door
  • Track pods and rinse aid
  • Get alerts if something is preventing you from the best wash

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Learn more and share your thoughts on the NKBA Connect blog today.

The Smart Kitchen Evolution

Written by Molly Ford, Monogram Experience Center intern

We have all seen the home become increasingly “smarter,” or more device-central, but large kitchen appliances have not kept up at the rate that smaller technologies have developed. The heart of the home is finally seeing some long-anticipated upgrades that bring the kitchen up to speed with the rest of the house. The idea of connecting intuitive technologies with powerful appliances creates an impressive duo- with relatively untapped potential.

The Amazon Echo has been on the scene for about a year, and has rapidly grown from a novelty gadget to a hub for home-automation. The Echo is a voice-enabled wireless speaker – think of a stand-alone Siri with a longer list of skills. Here at the Monogram Experience Center, we wanted to see how we could use the Echo in our day-to-day work and personal lives. We have made “Alexa,” the Echo’s trigger name, our assistant chef, secretary, entertainer, and more.

Alexa will provide us with meal ideas, food storage information, beer and wine pairings, measurement calculations, create a synced grocery list, among a constantly growing list of skills. These are fun to play with, and legitimately helpful, but the real “smart kitchen” came when we connected the Echo with our wall ovens.  We can control these ovens with our voice saying something like,

“Alexa, turn on the upper oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes.”

Alexa will confirm and immediately start the oven. Similarly, we can control the range hood and lights, and the team is constantly collaborating with developers to add kitchen elements to blend appliances with devices.

Voice-enabled appliances are a just a peek at how technology could change the way we cook and spend time in the kitchen, and we are eager to see the next convenience we can offer our customers.  The program is still in it’s infancy, but we expect to see everything but the kitchen sink connected to our Echo soon – and who knows, they might throw that in too!

The Amazon Echo and our Monogram wall oven in the Monogram Experience Center.

The Amazon Echo and our Monogram wall oven in the Monogram Experience Center.

Monogram Modern Home in Houston September 9 and 10

Join us on for the fourth stop on our cross-country modern design road trip with Dwell. Our first destination in May was Seattle, Washington; then we stopped in San Francisco, California; followed by Los Angeles, California; and this weekend we’re back on the road and traveling to Houston, Texas!

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The Monogram Modern Home will be heading east to Houston, Texas where it will join the Houston Antiques + Art + Design Show at Silver Street Studios on September 9 – 10. The Monogram Modern Home will be open for tours, live product demonstrations and culinary tastings prepared by our tour chef on Saturday, September 10.

For accredited industry professionals, please join us on Friday, September 9, for a day of continuing design education. For additional details and to register for the CEU’s, visit the Dwell website.

Find Monogram on Twitter and Instagram.

Find Dwell on Twitter and Instagram.

First Half Recap of the Monogram Modern Home Tour

We recently interviewed Alex Skobel, Monogram Designer Development Manager and lead for this year’s Monogram Modern Home tour, to find out her thoughts on the first half of the tour. The Monogram Modern Home tour will resume next month (September 9 and 10) in Houston, Texas.

SRFD: What have you learned from the first three tour stops?

Alex: The first three stops have been a huge success for the Monogram brand. I would say the biggest thing we learned is that it is key to tie the Monogram Modern Home to an event that is going on in the local market to help drive traffic.

SRFD: What do you think you will do differently in the next three tour stops?

Alex: We have done a great job connecting with the designer community, but we are going to really amplify the communication through the local NKBA and ASID chapters for the rest of the stops.

SRFD: Favorite experience so far?

Alex: My favorite experience so far was the panel discussion we had at the DODLA show. The panel consisted of Michela O’Connor-Abrams, CEO of Dwell; Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances; Jamie Derringer, founder of Design Milk; Gretchen Hansen, founder and CEO of Decorist; and Lisa Blecker, Director of Marketing at Resource Furniture. What a great group of smart, creative and experienced people. The audience was so engaged with them and I loved it!

Alex's favorite panel at DODLA

Alex’s favorite panel at DODLA

SRFD: The city you’re most looking forward to?

Alex: I’m really looking forward to the Miami stop, since we are tying that event to Design Miami which happens November 30 – December 4.   Should be a fabulous couple of days in Miami with the designer community.

SRFD: A city you would love for the tour to visit?

Alex: I would love for the tour to visit Denver because it’s an up and coming city with lots of culture to it.

Designer Profile: Ellen Cheever

Written by Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

We had the pleasure of having Ellen Cheever join us for one of our Monogram Training Sessions at our Chicago Monogram Design Center this past July. She has spent the past 44 years significantly outlining the kitchen and bathroom design world, not only for consumers, but also for the industry. From just having come off her trip at EuroCucina in Milan, she went through the upcoming trends pertaining specifically to kitchen and bath. While going through all of the sleek, contemporary images of kitchen design concepts she noted, “This is the first time I’ve seen Europe and America sharing similar trends across the design.” She continued explaining how this is an exciting time of collaboration throughout metals, technology and also appliances. While speaking with her, you get this immediate sense of knowledge of all she’s learned throughout her career, but in a way that is approachable, which is why we wanted to interview her!

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Ellen Cheever with Ellen Cheever & Associates in Wilmington, DE

 

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Ellen: While I was in grade school, my mother gave me a hundred dollars if I could complete the task of remodeling our bedroom. Ever since that initial challenge, I was addicted and wanted to learn as much as I could about design. In the 70’s we didn’t have “Design Majors”, so the next best option was Home Economics which did focus more on home planning, but in college that was the closest thing.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Ellen: We were working on a show house in Wilmington where they wanted our firm to do a Master Bath. It’s always challenging to make a functioning bathroom while still maintaining that showroom impression. We wanted to have that “wow” factor but with functionality, which I think we accomplished.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re over?

Ellen: Glazed white finishes.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re excited about?

Ellen: Contemporary wood veneers that are produced in manmade materials and also, innovations within appliance technologies. I think focusing on making equipment smarter and more intuitive but still friendly to Cooks that are a little uncertain about operating technology.

SRFD: What did you learn at the Chicago Monogram Design Center?

Ellen: It allowed me to expand my knowledge on the possibilities with induction cooking. I now appreciate more “combination appliances” like the Advantium. By seeing Chef Jon cook in it teamed with your presentations given on the versatility behind the product, it really made me understand its use, especially for smaller spaces.

SRFD: What is your favorite Monogram product?

Ellen: I loved the 30” integrated refrigerator with the combination drawer. The flexibility is fantastic, as well as, the look.

Lou’s views: observations from a retiring Design Director

Written by Lou Lenzi, retired GE Appliances Director of Design

This will be my last “Save Room” blog entry. After 36 years in the Design profession, it’s time to down-shift and pursue my hobbies and interests on a full-time basis. Like most designers, this will involve trying to create something of beauty, only on my time this time. I’m delighted that my successor, Marc Hottenroth, a 24 year veteran of the GE Appliances Design team, will assume the role of Design Director by the time you read this.

Before signing off, I’d humbly like to share some observations on the state-of-our-art, along with some predictions.

Technology: a Healthy Dialog

While connected appliances are in full bloom in the kitchen and laundry room, connectivity itself is still in its infancy. Yes, we’re providing new levels of convenience and performance through our WiFi enabled products, but the next meaningful wave has yet to hit the shore. That will come when we fully integrate kitchen design, rich information services, and connected appliances. What’s the “killer app”, to use an old phrase? I believe it will come in the form of quick and convenient healthy meal planning and preparation. Let’s face it, reducing the cost of health care in the US begins with our diet, and as key influencers in the kitchen, it’s time we all step-up and play a role here.

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The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy

 

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The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy

 

We will also begin talking to our appliances. And unlike adolescent children, they will dutifully listen and respond. The cost of voice recognition technology is coming down and accuracy is improving, helping to ease access to those amazing technologies and features we’ve been incorporating into our products. Why press a bunch of buttons or dive into a multi-layered menu system when you can simply say “heat the upper oven to 350 degrees” or tell the water heater you’ll need more hot water for the guests coming to visit this weekend. For those nay-sayers convinced we’ll never talk to machines, it wasn’t too long ago that people said we’d never read our favorite authors on a piece of glass because it wasn’t as cozy or inviting as the printed page.

The disappearing kitchen

Just as the kitchen became the focal point of our home, so too will it look less like a kitchen. Certain appliances will begin to “disappear” – first through finishes and user interfaces that blend into the surrounding cabinetry, followed by appliances that become the cabinetry. Small form-factor housing and alternative living patterns – think multi-generational households – will also contribute to us rethinking the industrial design of our products, transitioning from a machine-art to a furniture aesthetic.

Where's the kitchen?

Where’s the kitchen?

The mobile home, built by a robot?

Today’s mobile workforce, coupled with our desire to sample a variety of living environments means we’ll delay owning a home and being tethered to a mortgage. That’s not to say we won’t seek out well thought-out, intellectually stimulating and comfortable communities, we’ll just rent a home in that community, then simply move on to the next experience whenever we’re ready for a change.

Home construction building methods and techniques will dramatically change. The skilled-trade workforce that home builders have historically relied upon has dramatically shrunk since the great recession and they are not likely to return to the levels necessary to support traditional stick-built style home construction. Modular and automated factory-based manufacturing processes will finally take root after many false starts, followed by the emergence of large, on-site 3D printing techniques. After 200 years, the stick-built home, along with its associated material waste and inefficiencies, may be a thing of the past.

I hope these thoughts will stimulate further discussion among the Monogram design community. It’s been an absolute joy to chat with you.

 

 

Interview with New York Monogram Design Center Executive Chef Michael Sherman

Susan Cozzi, manager of the Monogram Design Center in New York City, recently interviewed the New York Monogram Design Center Executive Chef Michael Sherman.

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Susan: Tell us about your background as a chef.

Chef Michael: As with most professions these days, professions have broadened in scope, so as a chef I am also an entrepreneur and a consultant to the food industry.

I’m from Hartford, CT, and began in the business in the front of the house at several restaurants throughout New England. In these roles you really learn about customer service along with the mood and vibe of the restaurant and the diners. My move to New York City brought along with it a desire to cook. During stages at several high-end restaurants, including March with Wayne Nish, I headed to The Culinary Institute of America for my degree in Culinary Arts.

While researching at school, I decided I wanted to work with one of the best up and coming chefs in the country, Charlie Palmer. I landed an extended externship at Aureole working directly under Charlie’s tutelage for nine months.

I then heard about Gray Kunz and what his cooking was about at Lespinasse. When finishing school, I was determined to work with Chef Kunz and when I was told to “get to France,” I did exactly that, working as a private chef for Andre Balazs’ family after a year working with David Bouley at his original namesake restaurant. During my time in France, I continued to write (yes, we had to write letters then) to Chef Kunz. When I arrived back in the US, Chef Kunz offered me a position in the pastry department and then I landed a spot on the hot line working with Andrew Carmellini, Floyd Cardoz, Fabrizzio Salerni and Troy Dupuy. After two more years developing as a cook, I went to work with Waldy Malouf and helped The Rainbow Room achieve three stars!

After working with these great chefs, as an entrepreneur, I opened Chef & Company and later The Riverdale Garden and Moxie Events Catering, and Cloud Catering. And as an industry consultant, I started up restaurants including Crosby Street Hotel, Maison Kayser, and Tutu’s Brooklyn, and have consulted with eateries known around the world such as Sushi Samba, Le Midi, Biba Williamsburg, and The High Line Hotel.

Susan: What is your cooking philosophy?

Chef Michael: Buy the best product you can, treat with respect and cook simply.

Chef Michael shopping one of the early local markets for fresh produce

Chef Michael shopping at one of the early local markets for fresh produce

Susan: What’s always in your fridge at home?

Chef Michael: Mustard, thyme, shallots, good vinegars, extra virgin olive oil and grass fed butter

Susan: What makes you happy?

Chef Michael: Watching guests enjoy my cooking. My daughter. My dog. Eating great food. Not necessarily in that order.

Susan: What do you see in the cooking world that you wish you could change?

Chef Michael: Too many high volume restaurants, caterers, food service that do not take advantage of local produced food.

Susan: What have you learned from working at the New York Monogram Design Center?

Chef Michael: I’ve relearned the incredible cooking experience capable on Monogram’s Induction Cooktop which includes sous vide cooking—this is a great bonus. And, that GE Appliances really is a technology and engineering company first and they bring great new ideas to luxury home appliances.

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Susan: What can home cooks learn from you?

Chef Michael: Simple, basic cooking techniques which I find to be the best, particularly when using the best product!

 

Coffee Time

Written by Wilberto Badilla, FirstBuild Digital Storyteller

Every year, especially in the warmer months, coffee drinkers look towards the colder counterpart of their usual cup of joe: iced coffee. In many cases, iced coffee is just older coffee that is poured over ice. In recent years, a challenger to the cold coffee throne has emerged and its name is “cold brew.” Cold brew has gained popularity exponentially in the last four years, and a simple trend analysis shows that it has no signs of slowing down.

So what is cold brew? Cold brew is coffee that is brewed for extended periods of time using room-temperature water. The result is a more balanced, less acidic, and in general, different flavored beverage to both hot coffee and iced coffee.

As mentioned, the traditional process is an extended one, often taking 24+ hours to brew a batch of cold brew coffee. This presents a problem for those out there who want their coffee “now” – as we’ve grown accustomed to – as well as for coffee shops who essentially have to estimate the next day’s demand for the cool beverage.

Enter FirstBuild and the Prisma Cold Brew Coffee Maker. Prisma makes cold brew coffee in 10 minutes, a drastically shortened timeframe to the more traditional 24 hour brew time. FirstBuild engineers have developed a vacuum pump system inside Prisma’s base that degasifies the water within the brewing chamber and increases the solubility of coffee compounds.

To this point, being able to brew a batch of cold brew right when you want it has been impossible. Although Prisma is still a prototype, it does function and produces great-tasting cold brew coffee. In fact, Prisma took home 2nd place in the “Best New Product” category at CoffeeFest, two months ago.

Prisma was released via crowdfunding on Indiegogo in August, which allows interested individual to get in early in exchange for a lower price than the eventual $299 retail price.

To learn more about Prisma or to sign-up for future updates, visit our website!

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DODLA 2016 Recap

Written by Greg Finnicum, Monogram Learning Manager

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Ideafest 2016 was the theme at this year’s Dwell on Design event at the Los Angeles Convention Center last month. With over 300 exhibiting brands, 2000+ modern furnishings and products, and 271 speakers presenting at 96 sessions, all aspects of modern design ideas came to life at America’s largest design event. As part of the six-city modern design tour with Dwell and Monogram, the Monogram Modern Home was onsite during DODLA. The home hosted over 5,000 attendees at DODLA featuring Monogram Executive Chef Jon Liddell demonstrating his culinary magic on the new induction cooktop and Advantium Speedcook oven.

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To step outside the kitchen, Resource Furniture was also on hand to transform both the Monogram Modern Home and the showroom floor with their modern and innovative space-saving wall bed systems, tables and seating … making every space an exciting and stylish multi-purpose room with the flick of a finger.

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Woodworker and sculptor Greta de Parry was also featured at the show with her unique, elegant handcrafted designs.

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What if you could change the art on your wall to match your mood? Electric Objects can let you change the art on your wall to whatever you find on the internet, or choose from their curated selections. Choose the art pieces from your iPhone and send your selections to your Electric Objects wall hardware.

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Dwell on Design LA is a must for your 2017 planning!  See you next year!

NeoCon 2016

Written by Georgie Vetter, Product Specialist at the Chicago Monogram Design Center

Last month, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago held its annual designer exposition, NeoCon. NeoCon is one of the most recognized and attended trade shows in the industry. This year, more than 50,000 designers walked the halls of the Merchandise Mart viewing the latest and most innovative solutions in commercial design. NeoCon has remained focused on being at the forefront of changing commercial design and business trends.

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The Monogram Design Center was buzzing throughout the three-day exposition, with many designers walking through showing a lot of interest in induction cooking. During NeoCon, the Monogram Design Center showcased Sous Vide cooking, a method of cooking in which food is sealed in air-tight plastic bags then placed in a temperature controlled water bath which brings meats, fish, and poultry to the perfect internal temperature each time. We also introduced designers to the new pizza oven, which will be making its debut in the Chicago Design Center later this fall. The Amazon Echo made an appearance during NeoCon. Designers were shown how Monogram appliances are able to be integrated within a smart home. The designers that came through were very intrigued by the pizza oven and expressed a lot of enthusiasm toward the new product. We know they are looking forward to seeing it in person!

On the Tuesday of NeoCon week, Sheri Gold, National Showroom Manager, presented a CEU to a group of designers on how to grow their business through social media. The Social Media CEU offers in-depth explanations of four social media platforms (Twitter, Houzz, Instagram and Pinterest) and how best to use them within the design world. The CEU also provides a brief overview of Hootsuite, Periscope and Snapchat. During the CEU, we had a panel that included Julie McCrary, Social Media Manager for White Good; Monogram Lead Product Specialist Christina Dragota; and Monogram Product Specialist Georgie Vetter to provide their input during the presentation.

Overall, NeoCon was a great week for the Monogram Design Center. We were able to make many new designer contacts and enjoyed being able to give more information on Monogram appliances and what we are doing next.