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GE Monogram Appliances – Behind the Scenes at the Chicago Merchandise Mart

Earlier this year, I received an invitation from GE Monogram to visit their Chicago showroom at The Merchandise Mart to learn all about their appliance line. My clients often select Monogram for their new kitchens, and they love them. I was very excited to get first-hand experience and knowledge so I could better educate my future clients during their appliance selection process.

I finally made the trip to Chicago in May. Monogram hosted the designers in our group at the Moxie Hotel. I had never stayed at a Moxie before, but it was a very unique experience. It was perfect for a quick work related getaway, and its design is tailored toward the Millenial business traveler

The only photos I took at the hotel were at the bar as I enjoyed my complimentary check-in cocktail. I have to admit that with an 18 month-old at home, this educational work trip felt a little bit like a vacation. #sorrynotsorry

On Tuesday morning, the designers in our group gathered with our Monogram guide Leslie and had a delicious breakfast at Beatrix. I’ve actually eaten there several times on trips to the Mart but never before for breakfast. It was outstanding, and I highly recommend it.

After breakfast, we made our way to the GE Monogram showroom at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. This was our view for our two days of training. Although I wasn’t born or raised in a big city, I truly am a city girl at heart. I could get used to seeing this every day (just not in the winter). Following an informative session on digital marketing and social media, we jumped right into learning all about the Monogram appliances.

Keep reading to learn all about the features, options, and benefits of these professional style luxury appliances.

Cooking & Baking

For our first session, we dove right into learning above Monogram’s options for cooking. I think most people immediately picture a Pro Style Range when they think of higher end or luxury appliances, but Monogram offers several other options for a combination of cooking and baking.

Pro Style Range

GE Monogram 48 Inch Pro Style Gas Range
48" Pro Gas Range via the Monogram Website

I forgot to take a good front facing photo of the Pro Style Range that they have on display because we were too busy test-driving the appliances to cook our own lunch. Monogram offers both a Range and Range Top depending on your preferences and space.

The Range is available in 30″, 36″, and 48″ widths and in natural gas, liquid propane, or dual fuel. The grates can be moved around and flipped upside down for wok cooking. They can go as high as 18,000 BTUs.

The dual stacked burners are crafted from aluminum and brass. The brass is better for simmering, while the aluminum is better for high heat cooking. By incorporating both, you get better control over the temperature of your cooking. The burners can be turned down very low to simmer or melt chocolate and maintain their heat without clicking.

Cynthia & Michelle Cooking Lunch on the Pro Range

The center griddle can go as high as 22,000 BTUs and is also made of aluminum and brass. One awesome feature of the griddle is that it can be tilted to drain into the grease trap.

Other Pro Range Features

  • Lighting under the front edge

    Illuminates the controls. The light comes on if a knob is turned on.

  • Knobs and Labels

    Laser etched so that they'll never fade.

  • Oven Interior

    Can fit a catering size tray and includes fully extendable self-cleaning racks.

Advantium Speed Cooker

GE Advantium Speed Cooker / Microwave / Convection Oven

The Advantium looks like a large built-in microwave or a small oven. In reality, it’s a six-in-one speed cooker that can bake, broil, and microwave as well as toast. It can also act as a warming drawer. This GE appliance is the #1 speed cooker on the market today.

The Advantium uses multiple cooking elements depending on what you are cooking. It comes with 152 installed recipes that are alphabetically categorized by type, like chicken, veggies, etc. You can customize the recipes to your personal preferences and save your favorites for easy reference.

There are two different Advantium models – the 140V and the 240V. The 140V can cook four to six times faster than a typical oven, while the 240V can cook six to eight times faster and reach searing temps. You can have a crispy, perfectly done baked potato in six minutes. No preheating required!

The 140V model can be installed under the counter top, while the 240V can only installed above the countertop. The 140V also comes in a version that can be installed over the range, like a typical micro-hood, with either a regular or recirculating vent. This is such an incredible option for small kitchens. 

The speed cooker comes with two metal trays and one glass tray. When you select your recipe from the menu, it will tell you which tray to use. Advantium can be installed with a shallow stainless drawer below it (or custom like the photo above) to store the rack and trays.

Aesthetically, you can order the Adavantium with the pro style handle shown in the photo above or with the sleeker Euro style handle.

The delicious lunch we prepared at the showroom

We cooked our own lunch in groups of three. We used the Advantium to prepare the asparagus, and it was so incredibly simple, using one of the included recipes. It was cooked absolutely perfectly and not soggy at all. 

Advantium Benefits

  • Super Easy to Use

    An integrated menu of built-in, customizable recipes makes the Advantium practically full-proof.

  • Multi-Functional Space Saver

    With six functions and multiple installation options, Advantium is an investment that pays for itself. With one appliance, you eliminate the need for a separate warming drawer, microwave, and toaster.

  • Fast & Healthy Cooking At Home

    Advantium can cook food up to six times faster than conventional ovens. The reduced cooking time also means that more nutrients are preserved.

Double Ovens

Advantium / Convection Oven Combination

Monogram’s double oven with knobs is one of their best sellers. You can get two ovens – a convection above and standard oven below – or an Advantium / convection oven combination like those pictured above.

One of the best features of Monogram’s double ovens is that is can be installed flush with your cabinetry, like those in the photo, for a truly integrated look. The Euro style handle is shown in the models pictured,  but it can be ordered with the pro style handle as well.

The oven has a 30 minute steam cleaning option, and the racks in Monogram ovens can remain in place during the self-cleaning mode.

It also has more technology driven features like a remote mode that allows you to preheat or start the oven from your home. The ovens integrate with both Alexa and Nest. It also has notification lighting, so you can see at a glance if the oven has reached temperature or if the timer is up.

Large white kitchen with quartzite drop down island by Jillian Lare Interior Design
GE French Door Oven / Advantium Combination

In the kitchen at our Winston Circle project, we installed the Advantium oven with the French Door oven below it. The French Door oven offers many of the features listed above with some key differences and advantages.

First, the French Door model is amazing for tight spaces. Since you have two doors hinging from the sides instead of one larger door from the bottom, you don’t need quite as much clear floor space in front of it.

Second, if the French Door oven is installed 17″ above the floor with the Advantium above it, it’s perfect for your ADA client. It operates with one hand for easy access, and is a registered Living in Place product.

Aesthetically, the French Door oven differs from the double ovens in that it cannot be installed flush with the cabinetry. It also only comes with the pro style handle.

Monogram Oven Benefits

  • Multiple Configurations

    Combine the Advantium with either the French Door or standard convection oven. Or opt for two ovens - one standard and one convection. Or a French Door plus a convection oven. Only want one oven? You can do that too.

  • Wifi Enabled

    Control your oven from your phone or with Alexa when you have remote mode enabled.

  • Living in Place Certified

    The French Door model is perfect for clients with mobility issues, are wheel-chair bound, or plan to remain in their home as long as possible

The perfect dirty martini mixed by Chef Nick

At the end of Day One, the Monogram staff, specifically Chef Jon and Chef Nick, treated us to an incredible meal cooked in house on the Monogram appliances. All of the staff were so polished and professional in their presentations, but Chef Jon’s descriptions of how he uses the appliances in his day to day life as a chef were the real stand out for me.

The roasted apples for dessert were prepared in the pizza oven

Induction Cooking

The induction cooking demonstration on Day Two was by far my favorite part of our training at the Monogram showroom. I am so excited for this technology because it is the perfect solution for so many of my clients.

Chef Jon explaining sous vide cooking on the induction cooktop

The 36″ Monogram induction cooktop in silver is shown in these photos. It is installed flush to the countertop, which I think is such a bonus both aesthetically and functionally. It’s basically an extension of your countertop. I love the Monogram offers the silver color as an option for white and lighter colored countertops and black for darker tops. It takes up less space than a range top so an oven can be installed below it. Or the cabinetry could have fully functioning drawers.

GE Monogram Induction Cooktop
Chef Jon searing sous vide pork tenderloin in cast iron on the induction cooktop

The Monogram induction cooktop is five times faster than gas at pre-heatings, boiling, and reducing liquids. Three pans can be on high heat simultaneously. This powerful cooktop can preheat a cast iron pan to 500 degrees in in 35-45 seconds. A huge benefit to induction is that pans heat evenly across the whole surface simultaneously.

The perfect Chicago lunch - pork and pierogies

The sous vide that Chef Jon used to prepare our pork syncs with the induction cooktop. The pork was perfectly cooked all the way through with a nice sear on the exterior. It was so tender and flavorful.

As we sat at the counter and watched, Chef Jon worked on preparing our second course. His demonstrations were totally entertaining and educational at the same time. Here, he was totally showing off some of the best features of induction. The cooktop only gets hot where the pan meets the surface. Yes, those are plastic containers spread all of the cooktop. The handle of the pan will stay perfectly cool.

You can also see that Chef Jon made a huge mess. The cooktop is very easy to clean with Ceramabrite and a non-abrasive cleaning pad. He recommends using compressed air, like you would use to clean your keyboard, to blow any little crumbs out of the groove between the top and the counter material.

GE Monogram Advantium Roast Chicken
Roast chicken cooked in the Monogram Advantium oven

Back to the Advantium for a second. That bone-in crispy roast chicken was cooked in the Advantium during Chef Jon’s demo in 16 minutes. Sixteen! And, it was totally juicy and delicious.

Our second course: deconstructed pot pie - to die for!

But what about the pans??

Clients always ask me if they will have to get all new pans if they choose induction. The answer is that it depends on the kind of pans you have. Any pan that contains iron will work on induction; however, the bottom needs to be completely flat so the pan can make a full connection.

You can use cast iron, just make sure it’s enamel coated with a flat bottom so that it won’t scratch the top. If you hear a whine when you put your pan on the cooktop, it means that you don’t have a good connection.

Chef Jon recommends the All Clad brand as a great option for high quality pans that work great on induction.

Monogram Induction Benefits

  • Faster More Even Cooking

    Pans preheat in a fraction of the time. Boil water five times faster than gas.

  • Safer than Electric or Gas

    Induction technology is perfect for Living in Plan, special needs families, and those with small children because of its cool surface and surface mount controls.

  • Space-saving Contemporary Aesthetics

    The sleek flush-mount design complements any kitchen but particularly minimalist and contemporary spaces. It also takes up less space than a range top or cooktop.

Refrigeration

Monogram offers multiple solutions for refrigeration each with their own set of features and design detailing. After years of designing kitchens, I know that selecting the right refrigerator is one of the tougher and more personal appliance selections a client makes. I’m not going to recap every single model in detail, but I’ll hit the highlights of each.

In the little video above, you can see from left to right the 36″ wide bottom freezer with Euro handles, the French door refrigerator with pro style handles, the 42″ side by side with water dispenser, and the 48″ side by side with flush integrated panels and Euro style handles.

The side by side refrigerator is Monogram’s #1 configuration for built-in refrigerator/freezer combos (as opposed to columns). It is available as 36″, 42″, or 48″ wide. One of its nicer features is LED integrated lighting, so you can really see the interior well. The climate controlled drawer can be used to thaw meat safely or to express chill wine and beer.

The side by side without the front water dispenser can be installed flush with your cabinetry and paneled to match for a truly integrated look. You can add the Monogram pro style or Euro handles or add your own custom appliance pulls.

The glass front refrigerators above are definitely not for every client. Each side is a stand-alone 30″ unit with a top refrigerator, a middle freezer drawer with ice bin, and a bottom convertible drawer. By convertible, I mean that the bottom drawer can be a regular freezer drawer, a wine storage drawer, or a fresh food drawer. It does take 24 hours to switch between the different modes.

You can order this fridge with the glass fronts as shown above or 

The convertible refrigerator is a very cool look but not inexpensive at around $7800 per unit for stainless steel and only 14.2 square feet, by far Monogram’s smallest fridge. You really do need two of these units unless you have a very small kitchen.

Monogram Freezer / Refrigerator Columns

The Monogram refrigerator and freezer columns are pictured above in an 18″ freezer / 24″ refrigerator combination. One of the best benefits of columns vs. a combination fridge/freezer is the ability to choose your overall size and how much space is allocated to each function.

The refrigerator is available as 30″ and 24″ while the freezer is available as 18″, 24″, and 30″ coming in January of 2020. So, you can easily create a 42″, 48″, 54″, and soon a 60″ combination. There is also nothing stopping you from having two fridge columns and one freezer column or two and two. You can see how versatile this is. I also love that you can split the fridge and freezer column with a cabinet in between them.

The columns are counter depth, 84″ tall, and can be completely integrated into your cabinetry with matching panels, or you can do stainless fronts with either style of handle. 

In the next photo, you get a glimpse into the interior of the refrigerator side.

24" Refrigerator Column Interior

These refrigeration columns come with some very cool design features. First, they are Wifi enabled and also have a Sabbath mode. The glass front door bins and drawers have removable mats that are dishwasher safe and also help to keep bottles stable.

The shelves are hydrophobic. You can see that they are flat glass without an edge. The hydrophobic technology keeps any spills from spreading or leaking.

LED lighting runs down each side and each shelf is lit individually, so you can really see everything in your fridge. No dark corners. The lighting can be set to dim at night.

Next to the lunch bag on the middle shelf, you can see a water pitcher. This pitcher ships with the fridge column. It is removable, like a Brita would be, and when you replace it, it autofills with water. So, you eliminate the door dispenser but always have fresh water. I also like that you don’t have to stand at the fridge waiting for the water to dispense. You can bring the pitcher to the table to serve your guests.

The mechanicals and venting are located at the bottom inside each unit. From a maintenance perspective, the columns are serviceable from the front, so they don’t necessarily need to be removed for any repair or service. 

Monogram Refrigeration Benefits

  • Multiple Configuration Options

    There really is something for everyone in the Monogram refrigerator line. From 30" stand-alone models all the way up to 54" column configurations.

  • Cutting Edge Technology

    With fully lit LED interiors, Wifi with Sabbath mode, glass shelves that automatically control leaks, and drawers that convert from freezer to fridge, the Monogram refrigerators are on the cutting edge.

  • Flexible Design Options

    Whether you love the look or stainless steel or don't want anyone to know you even own a refrigerator, the flexible design of the Monogram refrigerators means you can accommodate virtually any style of kitchen.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are probably the least sexy of any kitchen appliance, but the Monogram staff delivered a compelling presentation. 

Clients always want to know how quiet dishwashers are before purchasing. The Monogram dishwasher is available in 39 and 42 decibels. The human ear cannot hear below 48 decibels, so yes, they are very quiet! They are rated #1 on Consumer Reports and Wired.

GE Monogram Integrated Dishwasher
Integrated Dishwasher via Monogram Website

The Monogram dishwasher can be fully integrated as shown above or purchased with a stainless steel front. You can choose from the two Monogram handle styles or purchase one to match your decorative hardware.

GE did a ton of research on dishwashers, even installing cameras inside dishwashers to see how homeowners actually used them. They observed people routinely pulling out their silverware, examining it for cleanliness, and then returning dirty utensils back to the dishwasher for another cycle. So, they installed water jets under the silverware baskets, a feature unique to GE.

Mommas take note…the upper rack features four bottle washer jets that were designed specifically to clean inside taller items like baby bottles.

GE Monogram Dishwasher Interior
Via Monogram Website

Loading the dishwasher can be a source of friction in many households, until one person takes over and everyone else gives up. Just ask my dad. The Monogram dishwasher makes loading much easier. All of the tines are angled and adjustable, and their width can be adjusted. In addition, they can lay perfectly flat to accommodate larger items. Monogram offers a lifetime warranty on the tine coatings, so you never have to worry about them chipping or degrading over time.

Like the other Monogram appliances, the dishwasher interior is fully lit with LEDs. The top rack is height adjustable so you can accommodate larger plates. It can also run half loads, which is a perfect feature for clients who live alone or are empty nesters. It’s also Wifi enabled and will notify you if it has a leak or simply if your cycle has finished.

Monogram Dishwasher Benefits

  • Research Driven Design

    140 jets (double the leading competitor), dedicated silverware jets, and top-rack bottle jets mean the Monogram dishwasher it top of its class at cleaning.

  • Adjustable Interiors

    Configure the Monogram dishwasher to suit your needs with the height adjustable top rack, adjustable and fold-down tines.

  • Living in Place Certified

    The 18" dishwasher model is ADA compliant and certified for Living in Place.

The Residential Hearth Oven

GE Monogram Pizza Oven
Monogram Residential Pizza Oven

Perhaps Monogram’s most niche, luxury product, the residential hearth oven is the only residential pizza oven on the market. This high powered appliance not only cooks perfectly done pizzas in under two minutes, it can do anything a regular oven can do, like bake oysters and roast whole sides of salmon.

At $12,500, this hearth oven is definitely a luxury indulgence for a devoted pizza chef who wants to create a real wow moment in his or her new kitchen.

Pizza oven fully integrated into the cabinetry

Each hearth oven is built by hand. It is 30″ wide and 30″ deep and requires built-in cabinetry on each side. No venting is required because it includes a catalytic converter. You operate the oven through a touch LED screen, and it comes pre-programmed for Detroit, Neapolitan, and flat bread style pizza. It does take 20-30 minutes to preheat to 800 degrees. The cooking dome on top can reach up to 1300 degrees!

GE Monogram Pizza Oven Pizza
Thin crust perfectly cooked pizza in around 90 seconds

I actually made pizza at a local pizza restaurant in high school and the end of college. As my husband will attest, I have really high standards. The pizza we sampled was thin and crispy, just the way I like it.

True confession time. I have cooked only a handful of times since our baby was born over a year and a half ago. It takes too long, I hate cleaning up, and I have no brain power left to search for recipes or the energy to go shopping.

But, the two days I spent at the Monogram showroom really inspired me to start cooking again. Having the right tools makes all the difference, and the technology incorporated into their appliances is truly life changing. The Advantium can cook frozen chicken nuggets in five minutes. Anyone with a screaming hungry toddler knows just how amazing that is, especially when your old outdated range takes 30 minutes just to pre-heat.

After this training, I feel very confident that I can provide my clients with first-hand information when they are considering Monogram as an option for their kitchen appliances. For as long as this post is, I only covered about half the information we learned and didn’t even mention ice makers, trash compactors, wine fridges, and ventilation!

Finally, if you are thinking of specifying GE Monogram for your kitchen remodel or new construction home, the staff at the Merchandise Mart showroom would be happy to host you  for a hands-on demonstration of your own.

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