Whether you are a home cook or a professional chef, it takes time to prepare a meal or more complicated recipe.

Doing most of my own “prep” work over the past year has led to some pretty long days at KITCHEN. To help carry some of the load, I got a “prep” cook. But I didn’t hire an employee. Instead, I bought a new oven.

My new oven is called a RATIONAL and it is made in Germany. This country has always been known for its automotive engineering, and I believe they should add kitchen equipment to their “famous for” list.

This new oven does so much work for me at KITCHEN it’s like having another set of hands. The oven is about the size of a small front load washing machine, and it’s hooked up to my water line allowing me to program the oven to generate steam for moist cooking applications.

Where I once had to stand over a hot cook top to brown pieces of beef for a beef stew, now I simply toss the beef with seasonings and oil, place in the oven, insert the probe and leave the rest to RATIONAL. The oven tells me how long to cook, when to add liquid, keeps a constant temperature so the meat doesn’t overcook and get tough, and of course, buzzes when everything is done. This is just one of a thousand applications. As a example, I can make bacon on two baking sheets and my RATIONAL cooks it to perfect crispness in 9 minutes with no grease, no mess and no fuss.

And here is the best part – when the oven get dirty, you simple add tablets like you would to a dishwasher, hit a few buttons and the oven washes itself sparkling clean in only 2 hours!

I can use my oven for canning, as a pressure cooker, to slow cook over night, make stock, cook pasta, steam vegetables and grill steaks. Truthfully, it is so much more than an oven. The possibilities are endless.

My family laughs at me when I talk about my new kitchen toy. It’s like the cooking version of an iPhone or iPad because it is that much fun. But my RATIONAL is more than just a nice to have kitchen gadget. As a research and product development chef for food service, I have to create dishes and menus that match what manufacturers or large food service providers would have in their own kitchens. The RATIONAL is an example of the new equipment they are purchasing as the oven maximizes yields, eliminate mistakes, provides consistency and most importantly, helps to make food taste better.

Because even the best cooks and chefs among us can use a little help from time to time.