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Friday, July 1, 2011

Putting GE Monogram to the Test

GE Appliances have been on my radar for a long time, primarily with their Profile line. Well made, and well priced, Profile is a brand I would suggest for clients looking for something better than “spec” appliances. Monogram was introduced to me a couple years ago as GE’s “high end” line. I’ve seen a couple fridges, but quite frankly Monogram doesn’t really register in my area (Attention GE! Marketing opportunity available for you!)  At the GE Monogram Experience Center we were introduced to the full line of Monogram appliances: ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, ventilation, dishwashers and refrigeration. Very few high end manufacturers can boast a complete appliance suite. It’s not essential for every kitchen, but it’s a really nice option to have.

After two days of cooking and learning, one thing became abundantly clear: GE has done their homework. When Monogram introduces a new appliance, they do so knowing that it possesses features its competitors do not. We spent the better part of an afternoon examining 3 of Monograms competitors in the Pro-Style Range category, and suffice to say Monogram came out well ahead in several areas

  • A “true” simmer that will cook your BĂ©arnaise sauce at a “food-safe” 140°F
  • Porcelain coated grates and full-extensions racks that can be cleaned using the “self-clean” function in the oven.
  • The ability to be levelled in place! All adjustments are accessible without having to move the range.
Don’t underestimate that last item. Easily the biggest challenge I have when dealing with a monstrous pro-style range is the installation. Hundreds of appliance installers have just breathed a huge sigh of relief. And it’s that sort of attention to detail than allows me to say that the GE Monogram Professional range is the best I have seen.

When we were introduced to GE’s Advantium Speed Oven, I was sceptical. An oven that can cook foods four to eight times faster than a conventional oven must have some pitfalls, right? I expected results similar to a microwave oven: foods not browning, tough texture, uneven cooking, etc. We had the opportunity to cook with the Advantium and I can confirm that this is not just a dressed up microwave.

True, the Advantium does feature a 950W microwave, but that is just part of a system that includes a true European convection oven, a radiant ceramic heater and halogen light cooking. All these elements combine to create an oven that can cook a 5 pound chicken in 35 minutes, and give it a delicious crispy skin in the process. There are 175 pre-programmed foods to get you started, but there’s also the ability to customize the cooking process to suite your needs.

High end refrigerator manufacturers like to fill their product catalogues with multiple sizes and configurations. Flexibility is seen as a good thing, but in my experience it really just creates confusion for my clients. GE’s Fully Integrated Refrigerator is available in three configurations (bottom drawer fridge, bottom drawer freezer or bottom drawer wine storage) and three styles (Custom Panel, Professional or European). The thing is, they’re all the same fridge. The conversion for the bottom drawer is internal to the fridge, and how you want your fridge to look will depend on the panels you order. The same options are also available with a glass door.

I really appreciate the simplicity of this fridge from a design point of view. The fully-integrated installation is top notch, the drawers will line up with a standard base cabinet, and the interior fit and finish is as nice as anything I’ve seen on the market. Interior lighting (LED) is even throughout the fridge compartment, and the glass shelves are sleek and uncluttered with heavy supports. The only shortcoming I see (and I’m about to contradict myself) is the lack of an all-fridge and all-freezer model. We were asked about that while at the Experience Centre so I expect we’ll see some additions to this line in the near future.

For any designer wanting to understand the appliance they spec a little better, or for the home-owner selecting appliances for their dream kitchen, the opportunity to use the appliances first is invaluable. My time at GE’s Monogram Experience Center was invaluable on all fronts. After two days of hands on experience, I can safely say this is a line that deserves your attention.



*My trip and expenses are paid for by GE but my words, opinions, tweets, quips, etc. are nothing but my own.

2 comments:

  1. Now THAT is how you write a GE post! Excellent! Who needs wizard magic when you have, you know, facts and information. ; )

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  2. Very well said, Arne. It was an amazing expereince for me as well. I have full confidence when I talk to clients about the GE Monogram or any of their other lines, that they will be getting the best appliance for their money. That leveling in place thing is HUGE!

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