Is there a better way to launch a new piece of kitchen
equipment than throwing a lavish party at Guastavino’s in Manhattan?
The people at Turbochef don’t think so, and judging from the hip and
enthusiastic crowd that turned out on April 11, they’re probably right.
But the marketing dilemma seemed to be this: at the launch of the new Turbochef
residential oven, how can they make an oven seem sexy and cool, yet still show
it producing food of the highest quality? The answer was to create a three-oven
sound stage and bring in internationally renowned Chicago chef Charlie Trotter,
who gave the event an instant element of foodie credibility. To add a touch
of cool, they brought in Ted Allen, who in addition to being a hip dude is
also quite funny on stage. But what about the sexy part - can an oven be sexy?
Well, yes, it can be when Kim Cattrall, the still-sexy 50 year-old actress
from Sex and the City fame, is in front of it. Cattrall appeared behind the
long chef’s table with her boyfriend Alan Wyse, a 29 year old Toronto
chef who has single-handedly given hope to today’s young chefs, proving
that while you may not find stardom on the Food Network, you can still woo
a star actress and get paid to bake lamb and broccoli on a fancy stage in New
While guests snacked on delicious appetizers made with some back-room
Turbochefs, chef Trotter got busy showing how quickly and perfectly a rack
of lamb can be prepared. While it was ironic that most people in the audience
were either in the business of getting people to eat out, or most likely preferred
to eat in fancy restaurants, Turbochef made a pretty good case for staying
home and cooking on their $7800 oven, even if you only have, say, 10 minutes
While the technology is impressive (its Airspeed technology cooked the rack
of lamb in 5 minutes, and will cook a 12-pound turkey in about 40), the real
challenge will be entering a very high end market when the technology has been
seen in places like Subway, and convincing people to spend eight grand. The
look of the oven is certainly a plus – they come in a variety of bright
reds and oranges among others.
During the exhibition, Ms. Cattrall got a laugh from the audience when she
divulged that she and Wyse sometimes cook in the buff. I didn’t ask a
Turbochef representative, but I’m pretty sure they would recommend wearing
at least an apron while operating their equipment.
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