Christopher Charnaud explains that luxury kitchen appliances and tools are the new protagonist of luxury homes. The kitchen has gone through a transformation: from a reduced space for the preparation of food by the domestic helper, to an open, spacious, luxurious and technological space for the ‘foodie’ owner of the house who enjoys simultaneously entertaining and cooking.
We interviewed Christopher Charnaud of La Cuisine International in Costa Rica, a store dedicated to selling high performance luxury kitchen tools and appliances, to get to know more about this issue and about the tendencies in the luxury kitchens in Costa Rica.
1. How would you define a luxury kitchen appliance? What is the difference?
Luxury kitchen appliances are products of high quality and style of life. They are part of extraordinary living… top of the line kitchen appliances are like luxurious cars, watches, art, luxury homes, etc.
Luxury kitchen appliances contain the “wow factor”, a differentiated style that impresses at first sight without sacrificing comfort or function.
The design and style are impressive as well as its high-end technology. Clients identify with luxury kitchen appliances – a way of life, luxury living – and fall in love with its technology – simple, with interactive screens, pre-defined programs for preparing or cooling food, the list goes on -.
A whole different service is offered when buying these products, so much goes into understanding what the client needs, as well as in the pre-installation, installation, repair and maintenance of the products.
2. Is there a difference between the luxury kitchen and the gourmet kitchen?
In my experience, the luxury kitchen becomes a gourmet kitchen.
The professional equipment used in restaurants is brought to the house. For example, Wolf began manufacturing products for the home when clients began buying the equipment designed for restaurants to install in their houses. Wolf realized there was a market interested in owning the same technology that restaurants use for kitchens and grills, and it open a totally new line for home use. The luxury kitchen then is used to make gourmet food, with the best technology.
The captivating kitchen at Il Piacere Penthouse in Escazú.
3. What is the most undervalued kitchen appliance or tool?
The hoods. Clients think that the only function of the hood is air extraction. Some say that their kitchens have big windows and therefore no hoods are needed, but the hood has more functions to it. The hood is important to minimize smoke and odors in the kitchen and to allow for an adequate circulation of the air in this area.
Faber and Best are two important hood brands. The most impressive hoods are truly a work of art. The hoods can also be customized according to the kitchen size, grills used, etc. Some hoods come with light and even a dimmer that creates the best environment in the kitchen, for example, when it’s time for coffee and dessert, many clients use the dimmer in their luxurious hood, a work of art and technology, to create a different ambiance.
4. What luxury kitchen brands are most wanted in this market?
In La Cuisine we identify two distinct segments: luxury clients and premium clients. The luxury clients have little or no budget restriction and for them, the most wanted brands are Gaggenau, Subzero and Thermador. These clients buy rangers, ovens, grills, dishwashers, refrigerators, wine chillers, top of the art hoods, etc.
The Premium clients, a broader segment of the market, prefer brands like Bosch and Smegg, and buy complements like luxury coffee systems, expresso machines, ice machines, among others.
5. What defines La Cuisine in the Costa Rican market?
Buying in La Cuisine is a point of differentiation. We offer great brands and services. Three years ago, the luxury kitchen appliances and tools we sell were not available in Costa Rica. Today, La Cuisine’s Showroom is hands-on…it is meant to help the client feel the product, use it, test it. All the appliances are connected, the client can experiment.
6. How would you define La Cuisine’s typical client?
La Cuisine’s client is very sophisticated because he or she knows exactly what she wants and for that same reason, comes to La Cuisine, we have the best international brands in luxury kitchens, and these brands allow us to customize, to satisfy the most sophisticated clients. Some clients want to customize their kitchen, for example, that the handles and boards are the same. Others want the installation to be flush, that everything be integrated. They want a specific size of refrigerator or freezer…
7. In your experience, what are high-end luxury home owners in Costa Rica looking for in their kitchen? Any trends?
That the product be a “show,” that it can be visually appealing or intriguing at first sight.
That it has an excellent cooking capacity and that it offers many possibilities for it. For example, there are pre-program settings to cook. A client can put her turkey in the oven, put the pre-defined turkey roasting program and forget about the turkey, the oven will generate the necessary steam necessary for cooking, the apprpriate length of time, etc.
The wine chillers, the clients want different requirements, like three different temperatures for each type of wine, also different sizes to store Magnum bottles.