Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of EnjoyMint baking cookies in her new SKS Pro Range at home. (Photos: Lisa Stewart Photography)

As a Lifestylist®, I’m always curious about what appliances chefs and celebrities have in their own homes. Do they really cook, or is take-out or a personal chef their lifestyle choice?

I was recently having lunch at EnjoyMint — the newest concept for restauranteur Nikky Phinyawanta — and discovered that she was one of the first people in the country to be cooking on the new Signature Kitchen Suite Pro Range. She shared that it’s the only consumer range that has built-in sous vide. I couldn’t wait to see it in person and discover how it works.

Catching Phinyawatana at home isn’t an easy task. Between running EnjoyMint, and her two Asian Mint restaurant locations, teaching cooking classes, and keeping up with her two children, this Dallas dynamo is always on the move. She just launched Nikky Feeding Souls — a YouTube journey of Thai culture, food, and travel that will use the kitchen in her new home as its hub.

One of the fresh Thai fusion offerings at EnjoyMint.

Should I stay or should I go?

Phinyawanta was living in a home that she and her husband had remodeled, and it was just what they wanted. When their family and business was outgrowing the space that they had, it was time to make a hard decision. With as busy as this family is, they didn’t have time for another remodel or to build, but kismet stepped in, and they found the perfect new home that was ready to move in.


This live Thermador kitchen in the Capital Distributing showroom is one of the multiple areas that you can “try before you buy.” (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

You never know where the research for an article idea will take you. When the editorial team started talking about doing some myth busting on how long your appliances should last and the difference in longevity between American and European appliances, it sounded right up my alley. What I didn’t expect was to be talking about technology that looked like science fiction.

When I watched The Jetsons on Saturday mornings, no one dreamed we could actually have cooking in our home be so automated, but a connected kitchen is probably in a home near you. After seeing these new trends, you will never look at kitchen design the same way again, and you’ll be wishing it was time to change out all of your appliances! (more…)

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By Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

I hate my range. Cooking on it is something I do almost every day when I’m home, and every time something cooks unevenly or dinner burns I regret spending a lot of money for something I had no knowledge of.

When I bought the Home Idea Factory, it truly was an old factory in Oak Cliff that was being used as a live/work space, but the previous owners spent money on the work side and neglected the live side. That worked out for me (I would have gutted it anyway), but the range that came with it was dangerous and had to be replaced right away.

I went to a national store that I had bought appliances from in the past and let the salesperson talk me into a really pretty new model with lots of fancy knobs and features, but after I got it home and cooked on it I discovered “pretty” didn’t translate to “function.” Even though I bought the extended warranty, the convection oven has never cooked evenly — in fact their warranty department told me that convection isn’t supposed to be an even heat. What? I’ve still got this albatross, and now that the convection function doesn’t even work I’m saving my money to buy my dream machine.

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Last week I was invited to visit the Thermador showroom in Irvine, Calif., with a group of esteemed kitchen specialists from all over the country. I wanted to not only learn more about the Thermador advantage, but to also use their appliances so I could really understand the difference. After we talked, played, and “looked under the hood,” we shared what we thought with the Thermador team, which was flown in from all over the world to hear our thoughts.

Thermador was founded in 1916 and they aren’t just another pretty face — every detail contributes to helping consumers create the perfect meal for ourselves, our guests, and our families. Getting to help cook a meal in their beautiful kitchen was such a delight, and yes, the food tasted as good as it looks. They also have Chef Kyle there, who cooked for us all day long to demonstrate how the different products work. The results were so good they might have me either considering a move to California, or talking Chef Kyle into coming back to Texas with me!

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I pretty much winged my contribution to our group meal — I made dessert, which was crepes covered with fresh bananas and a brown sugar sauce. No recipe, just making it up as I went but it worked. The signature Thermador star burners helped me to cook the crepes perfectly and the simmer feature helped keep the sauce at just the right temperature without burning or turning it into a crystalized mess. When I got home I decided to spend some time perfecting the recipe which I have now named “Mardi Gras Banana Crepes” which can be found on my Lifestylist® website.

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Trying to replicate the dish on my pretty but perplexing range as compared to cooking it on the Thermador Pro Grand Steam range made it very obvious that you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt about it after this exercise, my next range will be a Thermador. Replacing my current appliances with a dependable, luxury brand like Thermador makes financial sense as well as practical sense. One of the biggest selling features in a home is the kitchen, and a luxury appliance manufacturer shared with me that they have seen an average of a 4 percent increase in value if you have well-known luxury brands in your kitchen when you are ready to sell your home. Any good inspector would not approve my current range to a seller, and by replacing it now I get to enjoy my new appliances until I do decide to sell my home.

The Dallas Sur la Table store has Thermador appliances in their cooking school, and Capital Distributing now has two working Thermador kitchens in their showroom. Before you decide which appliance you want to upgrade to in your kitchen, find a place where you can actually cook on them and see how they perform. It will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your home-buying and remodeling decisions.

Suzanne FelberSuzanne Felber is a design and branding expert who runs the website An Oak Cliff resident and lover of all things design, keep up with Suzanne by following her on twitter.