There are plenty of kitchen essentials that have stayed basically unchanged for hundreds of years. We’ve seen pottery that is thousands of years old and looks and feels pretty similar to pots today. A pan’s form hasn’t improved much, and the gentle curves of most knives would be recognizable to anyone working long ago. Bottom line: we still cut in the same ways and still need a burner and a pan to boil water.
But we can now boil water in a minute, with no flame, thanks to today’s miracle of modern technology- the Fissler CookStar Induction Pro. Certainly not the only model like it on the market, it is incredibly sophisticated, and puts many other stoves and any other hotplate to shame. And even knives have changed- fiberglass and injection-molding make for a stable, attractive, durable handle and the steel is now chromium molybdenum vanadium steel in the Fissler Perfection Chef’s Knife.
Hot stuff first. Induction is a pretty fun addition that changes the old gas/electric balance. You’ll need pans that are induction-capable, though many are, just not copper or aluminum (basically anything that a magnet would stick to). We’ve checked out a bunch of them, including some we tested recently that are perfect for induction use, and found this cooktop the perfect size for a variety of purposes. At first, you might wonder why you would need another burner, and so did we. But after a few weeks with the Induction Pro, it was hard to imagine larger parties without it. Serving as an all-around warming plate or portable stovetop, you can cook things right at the table or next to your bed, or keep the pot of soup warm while you’re serving it. We loved the range of settings- it’s not as analog or controllable as a gas range, but there are nine power levels in total and that’s plenty of flexibility. And while it isn’t exactly lightweight at 9 pounds, it is easy to setup- a single cord and you’re cooking with… er, magnets?
We didn’t try out the feature, but feel that we should illuminate nonetheless: there is a one-touch “Booster” function for chocolate fondue, removing the need for a double-boiler. What we did notice was the awesome surface, much easier to clean than any other cooktop. And this is a burner that is sexy as well, sleek glass and black, with touch sensitive controls. We did notice a few quirks- you don’t want to leave anything that could be harmed by magnets near the unit, and removing a pan (say to flip something) will shut it off- but these are true of any induction product. It’s faster, and more efficient, than any other stove; we were able to boil a large pot of water in about half the time of a gas range. All in all, this is a great extra addition, and is durable enough to be used as a primary cookstop for your dorm or office. At almost $300, it’s certainly not cheap, but does feel worth every penny. Does everyone need one? Not really. But we’re thrilled with the novelty, safety, speed, and style.
And then there is Perfection. Fissler also produces a Professional line of cutlery, but why would you want anything but Perfection? They also have two sizes of chef’s knives, a larger and smaller, and ours was the shorter 16 centimeter or 6.25 inch model. While not the most striking knife in our cabinet- the KAI Shun Ken Onion still gets immediate curious stares- this is fast becoming our go-to knife for tasks requiring a shorter and more precise touch. Made in Germany, the blade was super-sharp, and the tip as well, meaning we could poke and pry into our vegetables when needed. The ergonomic handle was good, but a bit slippery for us when in use- a couple of people asked for a bit more texture on the grip or some indentations to allow a more solid grasp. The surfaces were lovely, cleaned up well, with no rough cracks or edges or burrs. At $70, it’s priced competitively with any others out there, and offers elegant looks along with a great edge.