Dacor’s Modernist Collection at Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival

Aran Goyoaga

A couple of weekends ago, Dacor invited me to the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival to experience their new Modernist Collection. There were many cooking demos, dinners and cocktail parties to attend that showcased the new design and features of the Modernist Collection appliances. I have cooked with Dacor appliances in the past always to great results and I was eager to see the new design and performance elements. As I suspected, I was not disappointed.

Dacor, whose products are designed and manufactured in California, has been a market leader in ultra-premium appliances for 50 years. With this Modernist Collection, Dacor reinvents the luxury aesthetic by taking the premium finish and grain of brushed stainless steel and forging it in graphite. I wish I could describe the texture of the finish… “It feels like velvet” I said at one point as I grabbed the refrigerator door handle. Smooth, dark grey matte with a velvety sheen. In general, I don’t like a lot of bells and whistles in products. I would say I tend to enjoy minimalist design and functionality, so I love how Dacor has integrated many user interaction points in the appliances making it easy to select functions, yet feeling very minimalistic and easy at the same time. All of these features come from smart innovation and technology that make our job as entertainers that much easier and enjoyable.

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Friday night, I was lucky to attend a 5-course dinner and cooking demo hosted by Chef Fabio Viviani and Molly Sims in the Dacor Modernist kitchen: “Dinnertime meets Showtime.” Chef Viviani created recipes based on Molly’s memories of what food meant in her family while she was growing up, how she likes to cook in her current life and what modern entertaining means. Fabio and Molly cooked together, laughed, drank wine and had a great conversation in front of an audience while utilizing Dacor’s new Modernist Collection. There was such chemistry between them and all of us sitting and eating in the audience. This is what modern entertaining is – filling a kitchen with friends, great conversation and food that is memorable yet easy and rustic.

Chef Viviani and his team prepared antipasti with housemade charcuterie when Molly talked about her preference for salt vs sugar, there was the most delicious braised octopus, pork tenderloin and with a braised pistachio sauce as Molly recalled her childhood casseroles, a lesson on farro risotto when Molly shared her many failed risotto attempts and finally, a Captain crunch budino with caramel sauce. Throughout the dinner, we were able to witness the ease and comfort of cooking in the new Dacor Modernist kitchen.

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Saturday morning, I attended the Dacor on the Rocks event where we were able to do a bit of respectable day drinking while Dacor presented its new column refrigeration units that feature the Dual IceMaker with Cocktail Ice in the freezer. And what is Cocktail Ice? Larger ice cubes so your cocktails don’t dilute as easily. Genius. There were mixologists making three varieties of fancy cocktails and we were able to really see how this Cocktail Ice truly makes a difference. That was fun.

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The fun part for me came Saturday afternoon when I was allowed time in the Modernist kitchen to cook a quick snack and test the appliances for myself. I started by admiring the refrigerator and freezer column duo. As I mentioned earlier, the graphite exterior feels so smooth and actually great to touch. Also, important to note… almost no fingerprints left behind because of the horizontal grain in the stainless steel. Big plus in my eyes. The doors are heavy duty with Push-To-Open Door Assist – just a quick push and the doors pop open. This allows the seal to break easily. But my favorite feature in the refrigerator is the iQ Remote View with dual cameras for peeking into the fridge via a smartphone while shopping. This means that you know at all times what is inside of your refrigerator. Genius, right?

I didn’t have much time to cook so I decided to make one of my usual simple lunches. Roasted asparagus, watercress, and a fried egg with Manchego cheese. I prepped the asparagus with a little bit of olive oil and salt and broiled them for 5 minutes in the oven.

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I love the LCD Touch Panel in the wall ovens with guided cooking and many options for different ingredients and cooking methods. Although I didn’t get to use the steam (Chef Viviani had used it in bread baking the previous evening), I was excited to see that Steam Bake and Steam Roast feature utilizes the largest water reservoir in the industry. I bake a lot of bread at home and having this steam feature would make my job so much easier as I wouldn’t have to spray the bread every time and rush to close the door. It would contain the steam in the oven helping with rise and crust.

Another cool feature is the iQ Control with app that lets users remotely monitor and even control the oven using their smartphone. You can be away from the kitchen and check to see if your stove and oven are on. Just for those times that you can’t remember if you did in fact shut off the oven and range. That happens to me often actually.

Aran Goyoaga

I also got to play around with the 48” gas rangetop. One of my favorite features is the Bluetooth Connectivity for seamless integration with hood. The range automatically engages the hood for immediate ventilation. I loved the brass ring plates (I thought it was a nice design feature) and the 22K BTU burners for power and speed.

Aran Goyoaga

I have to thank Dacor for the opportunity to bring me to Pebble Beach to the launch of the Modernist collection. I left genuinely impressed with the design features and how they are using technology to make the lives of entertainers that much easier.

This post has been sponsored by Dacor.

Appliance close-up photos courtesy of Dacor.

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