At home with my AGA

At home with my AGA

We like to visit celebrated and less well-known AGA devotees in the comfort of their own kitchens to find out why they think the range cooker is so very special.

  • Jamie Oliver Read more

    Testimonial Jamie Oliver

    "I think the AGA makes people better cooks; they're generally technically better cooks because they understand cooking."   Jamie Oliver - TV chef and food writer

  • Gérard Depardieu Read more

    Depardieu Banner

    "Cooking with an AGA is Fabulous" - Gérard Depardieu

    Acclaimed actor Gérard Depardieu (above) has transformed a former theatre in Paris into a home that reflects his larger-than-life personality. It is expansive, but with secrets - just like the Golden Globe-winning star of Green Card and Cyrano de Bergerac...

    Click here to read the exclusive interview with Gerard.

     

  • Daisy Lowe Read more

    Daisy Lowe"My AGA Total Control is very, very lovely. It's easy to use, makes food taste delicious and all in all I'm a very happy bunny. It's great having an AGA Total Control because I can turn it on and off.

    One of the best things it is that I could stick it in the island because my kitchen isn't very big. But I also go away a lot, so I won't be using energy when I don't need to and that makes me happy." Daisy Lowe - model

  • Jasmine Guinness Read more

    Testimonial Jasmine Guinness "An AGA is the heart of the home - it makes life so much easier and warmer." Jasmine Guinness - fashion designer and model

  • Mary Berry Read more

    Testimonial Mary Berry"I couldn't be without an AGA. They are brilliant. They are always on, so it tempts you to cook and they keep the house beautifully warmed and aired."

    Mary was recently a guest on the Chris Evans Breakfast show where she said "I love cooking by an AGA, it's lovely to lean against and all of the family want to be there with me." Mary Berry - TV chef and food writer

  • Mitch Tonks Read more

    Mitch TonksAward-winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger Mitch Tonks is synonymous with all that's good about seafood. Here, the author of The AGA Seafood Cookbook tells us why he's passionate about AGA cooking…

    I LOVE THE SIMPLICITY of the AGA - you just bung a dish in and leave it and the AGA works its magic, leaving you with food that always tastes great.

    The AGA is brilliant for fish stews. You cook them long and slow in the simmering oven. I also love cooking red mullet ragu tossed with pasta. You just throw in the red mullet, red wine, garlic and some parsley and let it all simmer down. It's fantastic.

    The simmering plate works perfectly as a plancha. You can cook scallops straight on it or just throw a handful of clams, with some salt and olive oil, on to a piece of Bake-O-Glide on the simmering plate and wait until they open. They have a delicious, almost charred taste.

    Mitch Tonks 2The AGA is great for braising. Perhaps my favourite thing to cook is braised lamb on the bone or maybe ox cheeks and red wine. Also, the AGA is so easy to use the whole family can get involved. My children make bread or cook pizzas on the floor of the roasting oven. It's a real family affair, with everyone choosing their own toppings.

    I've had an AGA for about seven years and just love it. It's a nice solid bit of kit that looks like it will do what it says it would do.

    It's a great centrepiece in the kitchen and people can't help but be drawn to it.

    Images by Chris Terry and Jason Lowe

  • Jane Bennet Read more

    Jane BennetAfter carrying the first bowl of soup up the steep spiral staircase from her basement kitchen to her ground floor dining room, Jane Bennett knew she had to create a new dining space next to the kitchen.

    Her stunning Shrewsbury home is on five levels and at the same time as altering her kitchen from traditional farmhouse style to something more fitting to the house's Victorian character, she added an impressive and elegant combined dining and living space which meant no more tricky manoeuvres up the stairs with plates and dishes of food.

    Cordon Bleu trained, Jane has had a love of food and cooking for as long as she can remember and recalls the days when she cooked sumptuous dinner parties for her 12-year-old friends and insisted they dressed in formal attire. A graduate of Eggleston Hall finishing school, featured on TV's Ladette to Lady, she is accomplished not only in cooking but a range of social skills including etiquette and flower arranging and relishes dressing her table for special dinners.

    Jane Bennet 4She has lived all over the world from Cornwall to Canada and in all but one of her homes she has had an AGA that she loves cooking with.

    In her current kitchen she has a gas-fired, 2-oven cream AGA in her spacious kitchen. Before the renovation work, the AGA was set into a recess that Jane felt was rather gloomy. As well as removing the two walls on either side of the AGA to give it more space, she also raised it onto a small plinth that suited her height better. Iridescent Fired Earth tiles completed the look Jane wanted. Pine wall and base cupboards were replaced with new ones made of walnut providing Jane with the storage space her large family and frequent entertaining demands.

    "I've always loved walnut and really wanted the cupboards made from that. I also loved this oak chest of drawers that I wanted to have in the kitchen, as I like to mix old with new.

    Jane Bennet 3"I felt built-in units were a better use of the space we had and we removed the false ceiling to create more height which makes the whole room feel bigger and lighter," Jane explained.

    The addition of the dining and living space leading from the kitchen creates a perfect place for dining, with the option of seating up to 28 people in a formal setting.

    It was no doubt in part to this fabulous kitchen and dining layout, and of course Jane's superb cooking credentials (she also teaches at nearby Brompton Cookery School), which led to her being selected to appear on TV Michael Winner's Dining Stars in 2010.

    Jane Bennet 2Having cooked for caustic food critic Michael and five of her own girlfriends, Jane was the only one of the six contestants to be awarded a coveted two stars from Michael and won her way through to the finals which she narrowly lost to fellow contestant Justine.

    "It was an incredible experience and it has changed my life. It was quite pressured and I really let that get to me but it taught me things about myself as well as opening new opportunities, including the chance to demonstrate alongside some celebrity chefs at last year's Shrewsbury Flower Show.

    "Even now, a year later, people still stop me in the street and congratulate me on my cooking in the show. It's amazing."

  • Emma Heathcote-James Read more

    Emma Heathcoate cooking on her AGA cookerPeople often talk about AGA cookers being fantastic for making stews and soup in or turning out the perfect scone but it seems the iconic cooker does more than boost the owner's culinary prowess - it can also get the creative juices flowing too as one Worcestershire business woman has discovered.

    Emma Heathcote-James was in just her mid-20s when she bought her pretty cottage in one of the county's most picturesque villages, Bretforton. A little tumbledown, the cottage needed plenty of work doing to turn it into the characterful home it is today but first on the 'to do' list was the kitchen.

    "The whole cottage was in a pretty rough state but the kitchen really was close to falling down," Emma recalls. "Parts of the cottage are 15th century but the kitchen was around 100 years old but had just been built directly onto the old dirt floor without any foundations."

    Structural work, including a new roof and attractive beams, was completed and Emma had long decided she wanted an AGA for the kitchen.

    "I'd never lived in a house with an AGA before but friends and neighbours had them and I just thought they looked lovely. I knew nothing about them at all - how to cook on them, the fact you could choose from gas, electric or oil - but I just knew I wanted one."

    Her gas-fired, blue, 2-oven AGA was installed seven years ago and she has never looked back.

    Emma Heathcoate's final kitchwen with her blue AGA cooker"I immediately went on a couple of courses for Christmas entertaining and breakfasts and just loved it straight away. People think they are difficult to cook on but I have never had any problems at all. Perhaps it helps that I'd never learned to cook on a conventional cooker first," she laughs.

    AGA installed, Emma gradually set to work on completing the kitchen of her dreams - a flagged floor, oak cupboards and a skylight to allow more natural light to flood in.

    "It's all come together gradually really. I wanted it to complement the cottage but not be a twee country kitchen."

    The AGA is her solo source of cooking, as she believes she really doesn't need anything else - particularly a microwave that she describes as 'ghastly'.

    It was the AGA too where her soap business really began. Working in both PR and as a writer, she was looking for a creative, hands-on outlet to let off steam and began making handmade soaps as a way of escaping her laptop. Her soaps quickly found a legion of fans and in 2008 she set up her business The Little Soap Company.

    Products from the Little Soap Company originally made on the AGA cookerWithin six months the soaps were being stocked in Waitrose and within a year the National Trust had started selling them in their gifts shops. Two years since starting her business she has a core range, including deliciously fragranced soaps such as Lavender and Orange and Rose Geranium, as well as a Little Beast Bar to help spruce up grubby pets. She also supports two local foodie events, the Asparagus Festival and the Pershore Plum Festival, which each has their own soap.

    As her business has grown production has inevitably moved out of her kitchen into a workshop at the rear of the house but on really cold days, Emma admits to still dragging her equipment back indoors to enjoy the warmth of the AGA as she sets about mixing her concoctions.

    Visit the website to order online.

  • Kathryn Ireland Read more

    kathryn ireland

    Kathryn Ireland, Celebrity Designer, Star of "Million Dollar Makeovers" and AGA Owner

    "The AGA Total Control is totally fabulous! Even though I have had a traditional Aga for the last 10 years here, it's genius that Aga has come up with this.  The design is unbeatable and never to be touched, but having the option to turn it on or off without compromising the cooking capabilities of this stove is something the US has been waiting for.

    The color range of the Aga is so unique and makes this iconic stove the focal point of a room.  I own the claret, cream and pistachio.  Each one works so well in each kitchen, it would be hard to have a favorite color."

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