Sarah Hanson rounds up the latest kitchen gadgets
Dump the kettle
If you like convenience and minimalism you'll love the Zip HydroTap that delivers boiling and chilled filtered drinking water instantly. "But is it safe?" I hear the parents cry. The tap stays cool to the touch and has a safety lock, so it's fine for family homes as much as bachelor pads. It is a little on the expensive side (£1,965, excluding VAT), but with no more water to boil and no more bottled water to buy this brilliant gadget will eventually pay for itself.
Scrap that old cooker
Inspired by Avsh Alom Gur's signature designs from the catwalks of London, Milan and Paris, Britannia's new Couture range cooker is the ultimate showpiece for your kitchen. A limited edition of Britannia's Dynasty range cooker, performance should match its looks. You can choose from three designs: Cubism—a bold black and red geometric design; Identity—a pattern based on Avsh Alom Gur's thumb print; and Freedom—swallows flying in a sky blue background. Features of the range cookers include two nine-function Quickstart ovens, electronic programmer, a choice of hobs and triple-glazed doors. Prices start at £4,899.
Ditch the hood
No, it isn't a really posh disco ball—and yes, it really is a cooker hood. The clever folks at Elica's research labs have taken the humble cooker hood to new heights and turned it into a design product and a decorative element in any kitchen. Thanks to Evolution, a super-compact system including ventilation unit, filters, lighting and controls that fits magically inside a simple steel cylinder, the cooker hood can be decorated in myriad original and eye-catching styles. The clear favourite is the Star model at around £1,150.
Improve the mix
With surgical stainless-steel blades that rotate at 240 miles an hour this gadget is certainly one to keep out of the reach of little hands. But the beauty of the Vita-Mix is that it pulverizes whole foods down to microscopic pieces, making available to the body valuable nutrients locked inside the pulp, skins and seeds of fruit and vegetables that aren't usually absorbed. But the powerful machine can also cook four pints of soup to steaming hot in a matter of minutes or turn frozen ingredients into ice-cream in seconds. You'll wonder how you lived without it. Prices from £399.
Wake up and smell the coffee
No kitchen is complete without an espresso maker. Check out Illy's revamped FrancisFrancis X1 by Italian architect Luca Trazzi. Not only does the retro style look great, it is easy to use so you'll be making perfect espressos, cappuccinos and lattes in no time. Prices from £335.
Open the cellar drawer
Not so much lock up your daughters, as lock up your wine collection. Sub-Zero's wine storage unit is the ideal way to protect and display your valued collection—and it can be connected to the home alarm system, too. It has two different climate zones that can be set to the ideal temperature and humidity for storing and/or serving red and white wine—no longer will you have to compete for fridge space or stuff a bottle of white among the frozen petit pois when you've forgotten to put it in the fridge. The glass doors are UV-resistant to protect the wine from harmful sunlight, while the motor is in an anti-vibration housing to avoid unsettling the sediment. How very civilized.
Sharpen up your act
Even for the smallest kitchen or the most infrequent cook, a good, basic set of knives is a must. They make food preparation faster and easier and the best will last for years. With the skill and expertise that goes into samurai sword making, it is no surprise that the Japanese produce some of the best knives in the world—the only problem is getting hold of them. Tony Murland of Kin Knives has solved this problem, by importing very high quality knives from small, exclusive Japanese manufacturers (£40-£225). Just watch your fingers.
Product cycles are becoming shorter, but German kitchen appliance company Gaggenau distinguishes itself with sustainable design that stands the test of time. Its EB388 oven is a design icon that has been popular for many years and is now on display in New York's Museum of Modern Art. One of its latest innovations is the Combi-steam oven—hailed by Gaggenhau as the cooking technology of the future—that uses hot air and steam to produce beautifully tender meats and perfectly baked breads. Or you can use the steam element on its own to preserve vitamins and flavour in vegetables, or for cooking a succulent piece of fish. It is sure to be a hit with design lovers and gourmet health nuts all over the world.
Keep it clean
First there was the dishwasher and then came Fisher & Paykel's DishDrawer—a dishwasher in a convenient pull-out drawer design that can be installed at worktop height for easy access (great for anyone with a bad back). It has two separate compartments that can run different wash programmes simultaneously. This means you can put all your delicate crystal in one drawer, and those heavily soiled pots in the other. And because it's got an AAA energy rating, it ticks that all-important eco-friendly box as well.