Appliances: Grand Designs

A new take on a classic range—not to mention a bevy of other innovative gadgets—are bringing impressive cooking power to the home kitchen.

The choice of celebrities and British royalty alike, the Aga Traditional Cooker has been the centerpiece of high-end kitchens everywhere for the past two decades. Those who adore the Aga claim that its solid construction and weight (900 pounds for the five-oven cooker pictured below) create a uniform cooking environment that locks in moisture and nutrients better than a conventional oven. Unfortunately, the British-made cast-iron behemoth, designed in the early 1900s, comes with just two settings: on and off. And because it takes eight hours to preheat and lacks individual oven and cooktop controls, it’s often kept on all day, every day. While a 24/7 heat source may be desirable in North Country estates, it’s certainly not during Boston’s hot summers. Enter the Total Control series, introduced to the American market earlier this year. It has the same body style and heft as the original, but also features five individually powered electric ovens, which preheat in just 30 minutes; the stovetop reaches temperature in about eight minutes. Here’s what you need to know to cook with the mother of all ranges. $26,730, Yale Electric and Appliance.


1. Each oven is designed for a different job. The slow-cook oven, for example, is set to 248 degrees, perfect for cooking casseroles and stocks.

2. A warming oven (165 degrees) keeps plates and dishes heated until they’re ready to serve.

3. The Aga’s two cooktops, which are large enough for a few pots, include a simmering plate (392 degrees) and a boiling plate (626 degrees).

4. The baking oven (365 deg-rees) has a top shelf for biscuits and small cakes, a middle rack for fish and soufflés, and a bottom rack for cheesecake and shortbread.

5. The roasting oven (465 degrees) comes with various racks for grilling, roasting, and contact grilling, and can fit a 28-pound turkey.

6. To steam veggies, cook rice and pasta (no stirring necessary), soften onions and garlic, and bake your pudding, use the simmering oven (212 degrees).


Everything you’ll need to sear, freeze, brew, and clean.


1. Miele 24-inch coffee system, $2,999, Poirier. 2. Viking 30-inch gas cooktop, $1,629, Yale. 3. Wolf warming drawer, $1,859, Boston Appliance. 4. Electrolux trash compactor, $1,040, Yale. 5. Sub-Zero 27-inch wine storage, $6,899, Boston Appliance. 6. Viking convection microwave oven, $1,299, Yale. 7. Miele “Diamond” dishwasher, $2,649, Poirier. 8. Sub-Zero 36-inch refrigerator and 36-inch freezer, $11,898, Boston Appliance. 9. Sub-Zero 36-inch refrigerator/freezer, $6,999, Boston Appliance. 10. Viking 30-inch double oven, $5,199, Yale. 11. Miele 24-inch wine storage, $7,495, Poirier. 12. Bosch Benvenuto coffee system, $2,049, Yale. 13. Wolf convection steam oven, $3,849, Boston Appliance.