Wolfgang Puck is arguably one of today's most recognized celebrity chefs. It is not surprising that he has begun a foray into kitchen appliances and tools for the home cook. After all, who could be better at developing items for your kitchen than someone who has dedicated his entire life to food? So does the Wolfgang Puck Toaster Oven stand up to his impressive reputation? Or is it just a knock-off of a cheaper model with added name recognition and a fancy price tag?
First, a bit about the chef. Wolfgang Puck was serendipitously born to a pastry chef in Austria in 1949 (only then he went by the name Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig.) He grew up surrounded by food and truly embraced it. He worked, quite successfully, in Paris before making the move to the United States at the young age of 25. After a short two-year stint in Indianapolis, Wolfgang Puck moved to Los Angeles, where he really made a culinary difference. He helped shape what is now known as California Cuisine, along with a handful of other chefs. They all had an incredible passion for food that is prepared fresh and as naturally as possible. They believed in letting the inherent goodness of the food shine through. They held themselves to incredibly high standards and made California a first class food destination for the entire world.
Now on to the Wolfgang Puck Toaster Oven. Upon opening the box, the world-famous Wolfgang Puck dedication to quality is immediately apparent. This toaster oven doesn't have the flimsy, cheap feel to it that some celebrity chef items do (I won't name names, but I'm sure most home cooks have been disappointed at one point or another by the mass-produced garbage out there with a familiar name stamped on it.) It also becomes quite obvious that this is so much more than just a toaster oven. Most notably, this oven also includes a pizza drawer and rotisserie spit.
The Wolfgang Puck Toaster Oven has an attractive modular design clad in stainless steel, which will go beautifully in most modern kitchens. The digital controls and blue LCD display make it clear that this is not the same toaster oven used in the 70's. This toaster oven just looks expensive, and I suppose at this price point, it should.
The term multi-functional barely scratches the surface with this toaster oven. A quick glance at the nine cooking options will give you an idea of the versatility of this handy appliance. They are: defrost, keep warm, standard bake, convection bake, slow cook, roast, broil, rotisserie and lower oven (for baking pizzas up to 12 inches round.) A common complaint with many countertop convection ovens is the inability to turn off the convection feature when desired. Not so with this one.
The Wolfgang Puck Toaster Oven comes ready to use with 2 baking racks, rotisserie spit and fork, a rotisserie removal tool, a baking pan with a removable broil pan insert, and two crumb trays. The non-stick interior makes it easy to clean.
So how does it cook? Perfectly. I have used this oven countless times and it has yet to disappoint. It heats up quickly and cooks the food evenly. The rotisserie is perfect for roasting a small chicken or cornish hen. The controls are very easy to use. I have checked the temperature with my own thermometers and it is always spot on. This unit is small enough to fit on my countertop yet large enough to do most of my cooking. Since I have gotten the toaster oven, I almost never use my regular full-sized oven. This model is very well-insulated so it doesn't heat my kitchen, just the food. It is able to heat up and cook more quickly than my regular oven; I love the time it saves me when preparing meals. It gets hot enough to really brown the food, not just heat it, which makes it easier to make delicious food. All in all, this is a solid appliance with tons of versatility.
All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible rating
Appearance rating: 9
True to set temperature rating: 10
Even heating/cooking rating: 10
Overall rating: 10