From afar, Thermador’s new Masterpiece Induction Cooktop looks to be a leap of engineering and sheer feature-set. Earlier Masterpiece cooktops were expensive, and even worse – quite ordinary. They also came in some funky finishes, like the more expensive “mirror” finish, which could be a bit overwhelming. Also, the control panel was extremely difficult to use, with an odd and glitchy way of choosing your heat setting.
The new Thermador CES365FS is a completely different animal, and quite refreshing. It sports some “exclusive” features that are intriguing to say the least. The cooktop now features what is known as a “SensorDome”, which raises up from the flush cooktop and takes infrared temperature readings of the pans on the cooktop to adjust the temperature setting accordingly. Unfortunately, it can only be used out of the gate with enamel-coated cookware. For anything else, a proprietary sticker must be applied to the pot or pan in order to get a reading.
The “CookSmart” feature ties in directly with the “SensorDome” allows you to set 1 of 9 pre-programmed cooking modes and an auto-shutoff. Some of the cooking modes include: rice, pasta, potatoes, dumplings, vegetables, sausage, milk, rice pudding, and deep frying. Both of these features are native to Bosch, Thermador, and Gaggenau as they are all owned by Bosch now.
We have a few problems with the CookSmart feature. While it sounds futuristic and high-tech, its a feature that has very limited use. Most of the cooking done on a cooktop is sauteing, browning, and frying – all of which require constant attention. Applications where this feature can be used successfully are few and far between. We see the sensor as more of a conversation piece than an actually cooking tool.
Another exclusive on this Thermador cooktop is the large center burner, which can accommodate a pan up to 16” wide, which is huge. I don’t know many people who even own a pan that big. But if you do, this is one of the only cooktops on the market where you can put it to good use.
Some negatives that we can’t seem to get past: The idiotic touch controls have remained largely the same from the last design, and are as irritating as ever. Also, the price you pay for the SensorDome and CookSmart features is a staggering $1,000 dollars ABOVE the price of the regular unit (the Thermador CIT365GB). For that kind of up-charge, a robotic arm should come out to chop the food, stir it, taste it, and serve it.
It just doesn’t add up.
Pros: SensorDome is a unique conversation piece, one of the largest burners out there.
Cons: Priced in the clouds, control panel in serious need of redesign.