Jenn-Air has been one of America’s leading luxury appliance brands for over seven decades. They were founded by Louis J Jenn in Indianapolis, Indiana. Previously an airflow engineer, Jenn sought to manufacture the finest in kitchen venting. This eventually led to the development of the first downdraft hood, which gave consumers the option to not have an imposing hood hanging over their range or cooktop. The company subsequently brought this forward-thinking spirit to refrigeration and cooking appliances. Here, we’ll look at one of their latest offerings, a Jenn-Air modular cooktop package. It consists of a 2-element induction cooktop, a wok element induction cooktop, and a downdraft hood. They all have a “True Flush Installation” option available to seamlessly blend into your countertops.
For those unfamiliar with induction cooking, click here for our previous blog post that discusses it in detail. This particular induction cooktop has two elements. Each is capable of emitting an impressive maximum 3,700 watts. With this sort of power, you could easily flash sear a king cut steak in preparation for finishing it in a convection oven. They can, though, be set low enough to melt cambozola triple cream cheese without scorching or adversely affecting the camemberti/roqueforti flavor bursts within.
The two individual elements can be combined using a bridging element. This forms an expanded oval element. With this, you’ll be able to use larger cookware such as a griddle or Dutch oven.
Control on this cooktop is exceedingly intuitive. Each element has its own digital slider so you can easily adjust the power level from 0 through 9 with just a touch. They both also have a pause function which will stop cooking temporarily and allows you to restart the element at the same setting. Pan detection is an essential safety feature. An element will not turn on unless compatible cookware makes contact and, once cookware is removed, the element will automatically turn off after 30 seconds.
Due to the vessel’s mostly rounded bottom, wok cooking with conventional induction cooktops has been problematic. Because the wok’s bottom has only limited contact with a flat surface, it’s unable to fully take advantage of the induction power. This specialized cooktop, with a concave element, more ideally encases the cookware’s unique bottom.
Like the cooktop above, this one can transmit a blistering maximum amount of 3,700 watts. It also has a “Performance Boost” function which allows you to set the temperature above maximum for up to 10 minutes. This is a perfect high heat to quickly stir fry a mixture of sliced pork, tofu, egg, bok choi, and shitake mushrooms. Though induction cooking is touted as being extremely safe (which it is) because the element doesn’t directly get hot, some take for granted that ambient radiant heat from the cooking vessel is conducted to the cooktop. That’s why this unit has a hot surface indicator which vividly displays the word, “HOT” to notify of a burn hazard.
Here’s one of the successors to the appliance that put Jenn-Air on the map, a downdraft hood. This unit can extend when you need it and retract discreetly into the countertop when you don’t. It sports a 350 CFM blower. This may seem a bit underwhelming with many traditional hoods capable of 650 CFM or more, but consider that downdraft models sit right next to the cooking surface and don’t hang several feet above. Thus, they don’t need to be as powerful. As an added benefit, they operate at a much lower volume.
Controls consist of four simple buttons. The power button, obviously, turns the hood on and off. Two buttons activate a high and low setting depending on your venting needs. The last button sets the unit to run for 15 minutes. Ambient LED lighting illuminates the downdraft vent, showcasing how the cooking vapors are being whisked away to dramatic effect.
Though the default configuration of this hood is vented, which uses ducting to remove smoke and odors to the outside, Jenn-Air will soon be releasing a recirculation kit which will filter air. This eliminates the need for ductwork and allows for more flexible installation locations.