Take one bite of Chris Shaw's buttered steak and you'd think you were sampling a $100 cut at the finest steakhouse in town. A get-out-the-good-china kind of meal.
Chris could easily pass as a professional chef with the caliber of meals he creates, but he is perfectly content cooking for family and friends in the comfort of his AGA kitchen. We sat down with him to talk about the inspiration behind his swanky matte black kitchen design and how his AGA Elise induction range keeps pace with his multi-course menus of gourmet food.
What was the inspiration for your kitchen design?
My house is quite unique, as is every house in this area. There are no walls dividing the living, dining and kitchen spaces. I wanted to extend the kitchen footprint into the dining room space to give a huge kitchen and entertainment space all in one.
Are there any unique personal touches you included?
Absolutely. Since my fridge is a black stainless, and AGA appliances were going to be black, I wanted to keep that style going. I really didn't want anything a status quo stainless steel.
I also wanted to display my grandma's cast iron pans she gave me long before she passed. What I couldn't wait to build was a pan rack of sorts, using a butcher block as the wall for the pan rack. So I used a pre-built butcher block slab of wood that was 6-feet tall, 2-feet wide and about 2-inches thick. All I had to do was cut the length to fit on the fridge cabinet panel. I stained it and used natural gas piping (black of course!) and hardware for the racks themselves.
And, not wanting to pay upwards of $2,000 for a black stainless farmhouse single basin sink, I purchased a stainless steel version. Its a 36" single basin farmhouse sink. This thing was beautiful. But, it had to be black. Painting was not even an option as it would chip with the abuse a sink goes through in no time. What I ended up using was Rhino-lining coating. It's that rubberized coating that most pickup truck beds have on it. I applied it myself and it too, came out beyond my expectations. So I have my black farmhouse sink all for a total cost $350 for the sink and the coating!
I also wanted bookshelves for all of my cookbooks. They were stashed on a shelf in my pantry before. I wanted them not only accessible but visible as well. I had my cabinet maker build these bookshelves on each end of one of my base cabinets. These as well really complimented the whole kitchen.
Why did you choose the AGA Elise induction range for your kitchen remodel?
My range I had before the remodel was an induction so I wanted an induction for the new range too. My contractor suggested an AGA. So when I started researching the company and products, I quickly learned me getting an AGA was fate. I immediately loved the unique touches the appliances offer, such as the cross top style knobs. LOVE THEM!
With this purchase, I then had to build my kitchen around this unit.
How does your new AGA kitchen enhance your cooking style?
I mainly cook using cast iron and absolutely love to entertain. Among my friends, they wonder why I'm not a chef. Having so much more room on my 'workbench', allows me to cook more, much more, at the same time; thanks to the additional real estate I have with my AGA. The performance of this induction range is awesome! It seems like the ovens heat up a lot faster than my old unit. The same increased performance with the cooktop burners, and the heat adjustments are very precise.
What is your favorite meal to prepare on your new AGA?
STEAKS!!! I master my steak creations by way of butter braising them in my fully seasoned cast iron pans. Let me just say that, when we go out to dinner, I never order steaks anymore. No need to as I 'taste' it.
What’s the most you’ve ever cooked at one time in your AGA?
I've had three huge dutch ovens going at one time on the cooktop. I was braising chicken thighs for several friends we had over at the time. I also had two of the three ovens roasting bread and some veggies too (love that broiler!). It's a lot. Cooking for me is my therapy. I take my time. Let say too that I LOVE this range; the knobs, and the bars and handles' style of the oven doors. I'll never not have an AGA.