Back in 2016, when we started to think about and plan our kitchen makeover, one of the things that was most important to me was to sort out the situation with our cooker hood. At the time we had a very cheap, poor quality recirculating hood, which had long since stopped working.
We had an issue in our flat with humidity which was causing some mildew problems in the kitchen and in the girls’ bedroom which is directly opposite. I was acutely aware that this problem was being exacerbated by our lack of a powerful cooker hood that was ducted out and would properly remove all of the humid air and cooking odours from the kitchen.
So when it came time to do our mini-renovation, getting an adequate and effective cooker hood was on the list of priorities along with getting a new hob to replace our old electric hob that was looking very worse for wear and was increasingly difficult to keep clean.
One of the main criteria that I had to bear in mind was space, given that we have a very tiny kitchen and were already severely lacking in space to work with. So I started my hunt for a cooker hood that was powerful, quiet, efficient, effective, space-saving and looked good. It wasn’t easy and if I knew then, what I have learnt since I would have made very different choices.
This is always the way, and designing your home is, of course, a journey on which you learn a lot. But I do like to share my journey so that perhaps you can learn from it and use those lessons to improve your own home.
So what exactly have I learnt? In recent years, the kitchen design industry has witnessed the rise of extractor hobs: hobs with an integral downdraft extractor. You’ve probably seen downdraft extractors before, you know those boxes that rise up out from the worktop and suck away all the cooking fumes? But these new innovations are actually built into the hob itself.
At Eurocina last year (2018), Elica, the world’s leading manufacturer of cooker hoods for household use, introduced its new range of NikolaTesla extractor hobs. Since then, the company has gone on to win numerous awards for the product range, which was designed by Fabrizio Crisà, such as the Compasso D’Oro ADI, the International Design Awards, the European Product Design Award, the Reddot Award and many others.
The NikolaTesla range of extractor hobs features six different models, including a gab hob (Flame) and an induction hob with integrated kitchen scales (Libra). It offers the perfect synthesis of cooking and extraction.
Before I could write about this new collection, I wanted to experience it for myself to see just what benefits it could offer. In January, I attended Living Kitchen along with some American kitchen designers who were new to integrated extraction hobs and they seemed quite sceptical about the effectiveness of the integrated downdraft extraction.
So a couple of weeks ago, I drove down to the Kitchen Kit showroom in Truro so that I could see it in action for myself. I was met by the lovely Olivia who gave me a full demonstration and talked me through the benefits that this kind of extraction hob could offer.
It was the NikolaTesla Prime induction hob with integrated aspiration system that I was shown. What I really liked about this hob, based on initial impressions was how successfully the designer had managed to balance aesthetics with functionality.
The glass hob has four independent induction zones, and in the very centre sits an elegant cast-iron grille. Beneath this grill is where the extraction system is housed. I thought this was a very clever addition as it also doubles up as a trivet to place hot pans on when you have finished cooking. This negates the need for additional trivets that clutter up valuable work surface space. The grill can also be removed and placed on the work surface should you need to do this and it has protective feet on the underside to protect the work surface. It is also dishwasher safe which makes cleaning it a non-issue.
The NikolaTesla Prime has a very professional look with a minimalist control panel stationed at the front of the hob. This controls the induction zones and also the extraction system with a simple slide of your finger. What I found to be a really nice touch was the fact that when in standby mode, the control display becomes completely invisible giving a very sleek appearance to the hob.
An added innovation that comes with this hob is the Autocapture function, which means that the aspiration system automatically adjusts based on the number of cooking zones being used and their power setting. I almost always forget to turn the setting on my hood up when I’m using three or four induction zones, so this is a really handy benefit to have.
I was actually really impressed with how effective the extraction system was when it came to capturing the cooking fumes and steam. I did worry how much vapour would escape as it rose up away from the cooking pot. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it didn’t get very far and almost everything was sucked back down into the grill. A lot more escapes my overhead hood at home, I can tell you.
When it comes to cleaning this extractor hob, it’s actually pretty simple. As I said, the grill can go in the dishwasher and once removed it reveals the heart of the aspiration system. This contains the charcoal and ceramic filters which can be easily extracted for cleaning and replacement. It also contains the aluminium grease filter.
There is also a liquid collection safety compartment located here which protects the motor in case of leakages where a pan may overboil and cause cooking liquids to enter the grill cavity. You can simply remove the compartment and use the drain valve to empty the abundant overflow of liquids.
The Nikola Tesla Prime comes in two versions, one which can be ducted out and one which simply recirculates the filtered air back into the room. If you opt to duct your extractor hob outside, the cooking vapours are conveyed to the outside by means of compact pipes that pass into the free space found under the base cabinet units. This does mean that you will lose some storage space in the cupboard immediately below the hob. It also means that you cannot have an oven in the space below the hob.
At first, I found this idea quite strange, but for anyone who plans to install the hob on their kitchen island instead, this won’t really be that much of an issue. Also, as Olivia pointed out to me, not needing a separate wall-mounted cooker hood means that you are free to place the hob wherever works for you, even in front of the kitchen window.
This idea really appeals to me. Most people have the sink in front of the window for practicality with plumbing and so they can look outside while they wash up. But since we got our dishwasher earlier this year (I’ve never had one before but I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life), I spend no time at all admiring the fabulous valley views we have outside our kitchen window while I wash up. It would be brilliant to locate the extractor hob beneath the window though. My husband loves to cook and I’m sure he’d rather look outside than at a blank wall while he cooks. This would also make ducking it out a lot easier. Obviously locating appliances needs careful planning and consideration but at least the flexibility is there.
Overall, I was really impressed with the NikolaTesla Prime extractor hob. I think it blends fantastic functionality with timeless design. This innovative hob with integrated extraction combines all the best functions of two household appliances, in a design that is clean and minimalist. It’s definitely something I would consider having in my own home.
What about you? Have you come across these dual functionality appliances before? Would you consider opting for a hob with integrated extraction for your kitchen?
If you are considering an extractor hob, there is currently a great deal on from the exclusive UK distributor for Elica. If you have received a promotional code and purchase an Elica Nikolatesla SWITCH, LIBRA, a ONE-HP or an UPSIDE from an authorised UK retailer between 1 September and 30 November 2019, you can claim a cashback of up to £100 from D R Kitchen Appliances Ltd, the exclusive UK distributor for Elica. If you purchase a ONE, PRIME or FLAME you can claim £50 cashback.