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Sub-Zero & Wolf – bringing professional appliances to the everyday kitchen

At Davonport we’re delighted to be able to work with suppliers of some of the highest quality appliances and products from the world of kitchens. With that in mind, we’re putting a spotlight on some of our best-loved suppliers, their products and the amazing work they do. 

This week we spoke with Ricky Davies, Managing Director at Sub-Zero & Wolf UK. 

For the uninitiated, please give us some background on Sub-Zero & Wolf UK

Sub-Zero & Wolf UK is the official distributor of Sub-Zero & Wolf luxury kitchen appliances for the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. 

Founded in 1945 in Madison, Wisconsin, Sub-Zero was the pioneer of built-in and later, fully integrated refrigeration and wine storage. Wolf was born in the year 2000, when Sub-Zero purchased the residential arm of a commercial cooking appliance company that had a 70-year history of providing commercial cooking equipment to restaurants and hotels. Re-designing these commercial products for domestic use, Wolf’s Dual Fuel range was launched in 2004 and continues to be ever-popular; complementing all styles of kitchen design. Wolf’s cooking range of appliances now includes everything from convection steam ovens to coffee systems and built-in ovens, as well as gas and induction cooktops, speed ovens and ventilation.

Today, all appliances are hand-built in the USA by a third-generation, family-owned company. At the helm is James Bakke, the grandson of the inventor of Sub-Zero refrigeration, Westye Bakke. 

Renowned for their high quality and high performance, Sub-Zero & Wolf appliances are beloved by professional chefs and home cooks alike. They are designed to last decades not years and are manufactured with as little impact on the environment as possible by reducing the amount of waste-water and energy required during the manufacturing process, as well as recycling much of the stainless steel and plastic used. 

What’s new at Sub-Zero & Wolf UK at the moment, or what are you just about to launch? 

There’s a lot of research and development taking place at Sub-Zero & Wolf HQ with the new Innovation Centre due to open in early 2022. This new building will focus on developing products and manufacturing processes, to continually improve and evolve both existing and new product ranges. 

Coming soon product-wise, will be the new, enhanced Dual Fuel ranges, with technology in line with Wolf’s M Series ovens, plus new small luxury appliances from Wolf Gourmet including a stand mixer and speed oven to complement the larger Wolf appliances. 

What are your best-selling products currently and why do you think they are so popular?

Sub-Zero’s 1067mm wide French Door refrigerator/freezer is our top seller and it’s easy to see why, especially when you open the two fridge doors and see the fantastically wide, eye-level refrigerator capacity, ideal for accommodating extra-wide platters when entertaining. Bright LED lighting and the slimmer 610mm depth make locating your desired food items so easy; even in a fully stocked unit.

The Air Purification System, based on technology developed for NASA, removes odours, bacteria, mould, viruses, and ethylene gases; which all hasten the spoiling of fresh foods. Combined with the Dual Compressor System which keeps the air in the freezer and refrigerator separate at all times, you have superior food preservation for both fresh and frozen foods – all wrapped up in a hand-built unit, designed to last decades.

Aside from great products, what else should people know about Sub-Zero & Wolf UK? 

Sub-Zero & Wolf place energy efficiency and its impact on the environment at the forefront of everything it does, which is borne out in its commitment to sustainability. 

Over three-quarters of the stainless steel and up to half of the plastic in Sub-Zero’s refrigerators are recycled materials. We recycle over 566 tons of scrap every year that would otherwise go into landfills. Additionally, all wastewater has been eliminated in the manufacturing process and we recycle almost 200,000 gallons of water per year.

Currently, over thirty of Sub-Zero & Wolf’s appliances have earned the Energy Star rating for outstanding energy efficiency. These appliances are required to use about fifteen per cent less energy than non-certified models. Finally, new LED lighting in Wolf’s manufacturing plant saves over one thousand-kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

What Sub-Zero & Wolf products do you have in your own home?

In my home, I have a wide variety of Sub-Zero & Wolf products including large appliances such as an integrated fridge and freezer, two single ovens, a transitional convection steam oven, as well as integrated wine storage and warming drawers. In addition to the large appliances, we also have various small appliances such as the Wolf Gourmet knife set and Wolf Gourmet cookware. 

The Sub-Zero & Wolf products don’t just stop in my kitchen, I also have a beautiful outdoor kitchen that includes an outdoor grill and refrigerator drawers, perfect for al fresco dining.

Tell us about the style of your own kitchen

Timeless, classic shaker style cabinets; hand-painted in pale grey. The focal point is a spacious blue-grey island with bar stool seating for four and pale grey marble work surfaces, housing the induction cooktop and downdraft extractor. Refrigeration and cooking is situated behind the island, so everything is close to hand, while a freestanding dining table seats eight for larger gatherings.

What one improvement would you make to it if you could?

I would have included a Wolf Multifunction Gas Cooktop, as although the induction cooktop is powerful, energy-efficient and easy to clean, I sometimes yearn for the buzz and theatre of high-power, gas flame cooking for certain Asian style dishes, which the 8KW gas burner undoubtedly provides.

Which product from another supplier could you not live without in your own kitchen? 

My Sonos music system, featuring speakers built into the ceiling, which we use continuously.

When homeowners install a new kitchen, what do you think is one of the biggest mistakes they make and how could it be avoided? 

By going for the showroom look and not thinking about their own specific lifestyle and how they will use the space day by day, homeowners can end up with a kitchen that isn’t practical. 

For example, think realistically about how often you and your family actually eat together. In my home, we all eat at different times, so warming drawers are fantastic for us; keeping meals warm until we’re ready to enjoy them. Also, we like to regularly cook for a large number of people, so we went for two ovens and two warming drawers, making entertaining so much easier and stress-free. 

Think about seating areas – our island gets used as extra seating and is perfect for the kids to do their homework and eat breakfast at. It’s important to think longer term, too, perhaps as your family expands over time and how you will want to use the space; rather than just recreating the showroom style in your own home.

What’s your favourite Davonport kitchen and why?

The classic Mayland range as it most closely resembles my own kitchen. The shaker style is a simple yet beautiful design and can be easily coupled with other design features. This range creates a stunning kitchen that is perfect for a twenty-first-century home, especially when it includes a range of Sub-Zero & Wolf products.

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