333 years in the making: Gaggenau’s Denise Tan, Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Head of Cooking Category, reveals how a tradition of invention and ingenuity has placed the luxury brand at the undisputable forefront of design for more than three centuries.
August 2nd, 2017
It is staggering to consider that there is a leading appliance brand in the market whose origins precede the advent of electricity.
What began in Germany’s Black Forest as an ironworks in 1683 eventually transitioned into Badenia bicycle manufacturing, and thereafter, enamel signage. After Gaggenau’s factories sustained bombing during both Great Wars, the company resurfaced in the 1950s as an expert in kitchen technology, a position of providence in the golden age of the home cook.
“What has been constant throughout all of these periods of societal change is that Gaggenau has been able to continually adapt, and cater directly to people’s needs over time,” says Denise Tan, regional head of the brand’s cooking portfolio. “One of our early leaders, Georg Von Blanquet, was a passionate hobby chef, and I think that enthusiasm for food and technology remains a strong feature of the business.”
For its 333rd birthday November last year, Gaggenau threw an enormous celebration in four cities across Asia Pacific. Three chefs were called in to coordinate the gastronomic spectacle in Auckland: two New Zealanders, Auckland local Des Harris and Jonny Schwass from Christchurch, as well as the Michelin-starred Ivan Brehm from Singapore – all cooking on Gaggenau equipment.
“It was an epitomous, once-in-a-lifetime event,” says Denise. “Every morsel, every bite, I remember very clearly”. In keeping with the brand’s enduring heritage, it is crucial that their contemporary cooking methods maintain the integrity of traditional foods. “My parents love to eat madeleines. And with our steam technology, it’s possible to retain all of that moisture.” Aeons away from the customary Chinese bamboo vessel atop a wok, their Combi-steam ovens – according to Denise – are also perfect for cooking dim sums. But, she emphasises, “I still make them by hand”.
In today’s food-focused society, home cooks now aspire to culinary heights previously only achievable in the professional kitchen. “This is our challenge: to give these expert techniques a very human touch,” Denise says. To a global brand, this translates to the ongoing development of high-end products that reflect a nuanced understanding of the way we live locally.
As compared to compact apartments typical of population-dense countries such as Hong Kong or Taiwan, Australian kitchens are typically expansive spaces at the core of the home. “In this country, the kitchen becomes your playground,” says Denise. An apt environment, perhaps, to showcase Gaggenau’s signature 90cm oven, named and revamped in honour of their 333 years. With a huge 83-litre capacity and rotating rotisserie function, “You can actually cook an entire leg of lamb!”
Similar to their range of sleek ovens, the 400 refrigeration series generously accommodates our love of feasting and entertaining. “The concept of a beautiful fridge was not well known when we introduced this range, but these are visually stunning objects that you don’t want to hide in a kitchen,” says Denise. “Wine chillers, for instance, could sit in a den or even your living room.” Pillar lights create an unbroken source of illumination, with a robust steel lining adding to the quality of finishes both inside and out.
For our regional neighbours in Asia, it is more common to visit fresh markets on a daily basis; thus cool storage space is less of a necessity. Capacity, however, is a particularly important point in Australia, with many families making a ritual of stocking up bulk supplies during the weekly grocery shop.
After your meal, Gaggenau can also help you with the washing up. Their newly released DF481 161 dishwasher features a full wall of light, to ensure you’ll see that tiny shot glass in the back. Using zeolith, a naturally occurring mineral, the units ingeniously absorb heat from the washing cycle and retain it for the drying cycle – thus minimising the amount of incoming energy required.“We cook, we store, we clean – pretty much everything you need to do effectively in a kitchen,” says Denise. “We design with authenticity and quality, geared to perfection.”
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