I've been dealing with a lot of new kitchen clients lately who want to create their "dream kitchen." A major part of that dream is the choice of appliances. But how exactly do you go about selecting a range, for example, if you've never cooked on it. This is not only a concern from brand to brand (i.e. is a KitchenAid range better than a Jenn-Air) but for the different fuel sources ("I've never cooked on gas but I hear it's the best") and configurations.
You could ask around to see if any of your circle of friends is already using what you're looking for ... but you know where that's going to end up. With a much smaller circle of friends.
Many appliance retailers have noticed this dilemna and have addressed it by hooking up live kitchens in their showrooms. In Vancouver, Midland Appliances is an excellent place to check out a wide variety of cooktops, ovens and even dishwashers. As a designer, I not only use Midland for my customers, but also for myself. They gave me my first crack at cooking on an induction top. Regular visits help me stay on top of what's "latest and greatest."
A new option just opened its doors in Vancouver. The Dirty Apron Cooking School is fully equipped with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances. Set up through Bradlee Distributors (also equipped with a live kitchen), The Dirty Apron offers a wide variety of hands-on cooking classes. So you can try out some top notch appliances and learn how to use them all at the same time.
You can also explore some other options; kitchen design showrooms often have live kitchens, especially if they also retail a brand of appliances. Or you can always go bug your friends again.