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.

Anthony Rocco

About The Author

Founder and Editor of Appliance Buyer's Guide. With over 10 years experience selling appliances and designing kitchens, and having grown up in the business, I have a unique perspective on todays offerings in the Appliance world. Currently Managing Director at The Kitchenworks in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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One Response

  1. mmorejon

    I couldn’t agree more with the “idiotic touch controls.” However, the problems are actually deeper than that. I purchased the Thermador 30″ induction cooktop in March 2010 for $2,299 plus tax. The cooktop had problems from day one. The problems ranged from being only able to use one burner at a time to none of the burners working at all, and various error messages appearing each time. The service from Thermador was deplorable. Even though the repairman said that the problem was there from the beginning, Thermador refused to cover the labor because we just passed the one year warranty. It did not matter to them that family circumstances prevented us from being able to repair the cooktop sooner. The repairman got the burners to work, but now there are strange vibrating noises. On top of that, it took more than a dozen calls just to get the repairman to show up. Thermador could care less about their reputation. The repairman said that the cooktop has so many potential spots for error, and that these tops are extremely complicated. I suspect I will be replacing my cooktop in less than a year (because it doesn’t work), and I will definitely not go with Bosch/Thermador. Buyer beware.

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