Back to School


This month is all about learning new things; from little tricks in the kitchen to kitchen fitting and a whole degree course in kitchen design! So don’t wait for the new school term to start – get those brain cells flexing now…


I was thrilled to hear that Buckinghamshire New University are introducing the first-ever Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design this September. At a meeting hosted by Blum, representatives from the kitchen industry and Bucks New Uni unanimously endorsed this exciting new course – a first for the industry.

The course will take the form of blended learning, an online course with residential periods every term. For two and a half days students will eat, live and breathe kitchen design. Being accessible to everyone, no matter where they are, and with industry bursaries on offer, it’s set to make a huge difference to the kitchen industry. A small number of places are still available and you’ve got until 10th July to apply.

I can’t wait to see what the kitchens from the class of 2014 have in store…

Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design @ Bucks New University

Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design @ Bucks New University


I’d heard about the new AEG SousVide oven so was really keen to see MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson demonstrating how to use it at Grand Designs Live recently.

Tim Anderson demonstrating how to use the AEG SousVide oven at Grand Designs Live

Tim Anderson demonstrating how to use the AEG SousVide oven at Grand Designs Live

I love the idea of being able to use professional techniques in my own kitchen and Tim did make it look so easy. The ProCombi SousVide brings this precisely controlled cooking method to AEG’s multifunction steam oven and with the vacuum-sealer drawer below, you have everything you need to create mouthwatering dishes such as sous vide beef (see pics below). It works by sealing in the aromas, taste and nutrients of food under vacuum then applying gentle steam to cook at very low temperatures.

The great thing about this appliance is that it’s not just used for sous vide – it’s also a multifunction oven so you can still do your usual conventional cooking, baking, grilling and steaming. Available at the end of June, it will cost around £1,400.

NB: Tim Anderson’s first cookery book, Nanban: Japanese Soul Food, is due out from Square Peg in September.

AEG SousVide oven

AEG’s new SousVide oven

Sous Vide Beef - prep

Sous Vide Beef – prep

Sous Vide Beef - vacuumed

Sous Vide Beef – vacuumed

Sous Vide Beef - the result!

Sous Vide Beef – the result!


Space-Plug is a simple method to secure kitchen units to the wall

Space-Plug is a simple method to secure kitchen units to the wall

Space-Plug is a new invention patented by former kitchen fitter Cliff Petit. It’s basically a simple method to secure kitchen units to the wall. With fewer fixing points needed, it’s faster and accurate too, as there’s no need to mark. Simply fix while the unit is in the exact place you want it. It’s also more accessible as the screw heads are inside the unit, even after the worktops are installed.

This independent company manufactures its products in the UK and is already proving a big hit in the industry. It’s said to be faster, more professional and far more flexible than anything else on the market and with ‘flushback’ furniture combined with Space-Plug, you get a service void yet save board, cubic capacity, fitter hassle and cutting off edge banding.

Even better, uneven walls are no longer a problem so it can also be used in period properties. Check out the video…


Did you know that slow juicing is one of this year’s big trends in food & drink? Well apparently, pressing the fruit gently instead of squeezing it retains more of the goodness. With this in mind, Tefal has launched the Infiny Press Revolution juicer and I must admit, it’s already making my mouth water.

The Infiny Press Revolution juicer from Tefal

The Infiny Press Revolution juicer from Tefal

According to research by Mintel, high fruit content in juice is one of the key features that appeals to consumers and vitamins are maintained at maximum strength for the first 15 minutes after juicing, so making it at home seems to be the healthiest option. Tefal’s new gadget has a slowly rotating screw mechanism that presses fruits, vegetables and even herbs delicately to get the best out of them. Compact, quiet to operate and with dishwasher-safe parts, it’s priced around £199.


I’ve also just learnt that, according to research by Mintel, food preparation machines such as processors, blenders, liquidisers and mixers have seen “buoyant demand” of late with 35% of Britons claiming to bake from scratch at least once a week.

Largely in response to the rise in TV shows covering home baking, sales of kitchen gadgets have increased 21% over the same five-year period to a record high of £93 million last year.

I have a feeling that my baking skills would be significantly better if I just had the right tools… so I have my eye on Kenwood’s White Chef Titanium, which is the ultimate kitchen machine.

Kenwood’s White Chef Titanium

Kenwood’s White Chef Titanium

It’s not cheap, at £649.99, but in a limited edition Titanium with a white gloss finish and glass bowl, I know it’ll look stunning on my worktops, even when I’m not using it!

Hayley Gilbert, interiors writer / @HaylGilbert /

Share this article

About Hayley Gilbert

Hayley Gilbert is a freelance interiors journalist with 20 years’ experience in the industry. Specialising in all things kitchens, Hayley has contributed to a wide range of consumer titles such as Beautiful Kitchens, EKBB, KBB, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and Ideal Home, as well as national newspapers including The Sunday Times.... @HaylGilbert /

  Email:  Hayley Gilbert


Leave a comment