Jan. 9, 2012 at 12:59 AM ET
Thermador Freedom cooktop doesn't have circles where you put your pots — you put pots and pans of any size anywhere on the surface, and the system identifies them and heats them up, as needed. And when you move a pot, say, to make more room, the cooktop follows it, and keeps things hot.
It heats with induction, like many high-end cooktops in Europe and Asia, but it uses 48 separate 3-inch heating elements to apply just the right amount of energy for your needs. Like other induction burners, it requires pots that have enough iron in them to permit the magnetic process, but in my experience, most higher-end cookware from All-Clad, Le Creuset and others — and of course, those good old cast iron skillets — tend to work fine.
The touchscreen interface lets you select your pan and apply power settings and even cook time. And there's a "Boost" feature to crank the heat, with 4,600 watts of power, to give you the kind of heat needed for stir fry, you know when you really need to wok out.
The thing will cost $5,000 when it comes to the U.S. in July, so it's a bit of an aspirational product for editor types who are also cooking enthusiasts. But if you do have the coin, and a chance to remodel your kitchen, this sounds like it should be on the top of your list.
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