bora cooking systems

Lunch with Bora

Extending our 17th century Welsh longhouse and building a kitchen around Bora's Professional 3.0 Cooktop.

We've lived in the same house for 20 years, although it's been in my partner’s family for longer, so it holds a great deal of sentimental value to us. However, two rapidly growing children meant we had to move or make the house bigger. Since we couldn't find anywhere that compared, we decided to build an extension and at the heart of the project was a large family space with far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside where everyone could congregate. 

We love cooking as a family, so particular attention was given to the kitchen. I wanted a large open plan area that could accommodate clients and crew when shooting here but also double as a space for entertaining friends. The room is double aspect with large windows facing East/West which delivers stunning, soft golden light at each end of the day - great for pictures. We also built a small preparation kitchen across the hallway, which conveniently keeps all the mess out of the main space leaving it uncluttered and considerably easier for shooting finished dishes.

Flush fitted Bora Professional Induction cooktops, downdraft extractors and Teppanyaki grill

Although a contemporary build, we didn't want a shiny, modern interior for the extension. I was genuinely terrified of spoiling the beauty of what we already had, which is extremely easy to do when extending a period property. The new needed to respect the old, so we chose natural raw materials throughout - all beautifully imperfect. For example, we have raw plaster walls - there's no paint - it’s sealed with beeswax. All the windows are lined with oak. The gable end of the original house, now an interior wall, was repointed with lime and left exposed. The kitchen is also oak with welsh slate worktops and brushed brass taps from Toni in Copenhagen. All of these materials will age and develop a patina as a result of use - a key design principle.  

A kitchen island in the open-plan space was a pre-requisite but an extractor hood obstructing our view into the room and over the valley would have ruined the feel of the room, so after some research into alternative approaches, we found Bora Cooking Systems. A cooktop and extractor in a single product seemed too good to be true, but after attending a demonstration at their London Showroom we were 100% sold. Without an extractor hood - we have more space, an odourless interior, and the gravity-defying effect of steam pouring down into the island is genuinely exciting! 

Clean lines, with no ugly extractor hood spoiling the party!

After discussing our needs with the team at Bora we opted for a dual extraction system - exhaust and recirculation. The exhaust version channels cooking vapours outside through the BORA Ecotube ducting and the recirculation version pulls air through an activated charcoal filter (which cleans and removes any odour molecules), before returning it to the room. We use the recirculation version for boiling water and the exhaust system for more odour-heavy cooking, such as grilling and frying.

Bora supplied us with construction drawings which our architect used to incorporate the exhaust system into the floor. Careful consideration was given to optimising the route ensuring it works as efficiently as possible. Once the concrete floor was poured, encasing the ducting, we worked with our kitchen designer, Rowan, to design and build an oak island around the extraction system, induction cooktops and teppanyaki grill.

Fitting the exhaust & recirculation ducting

Worktop with hole for Bora Cooktops

Drilling the holes for cooktop control dials

Stir Fry Sunday

Aside from the aesthetics, cooking with the system is a dream. In particular the Tepan Grill - a 4mm thick stainless joint free steel plate. It has completely changed the way we cook and eat. We use it for a wide range of meals. For example pancakes and omelettes - at 54cm deep, we can cook everything at once so we all eat together as opposed to the old days when we were restricted by the size of a frying pan to serving one at a time. We maintain an extensive kitchen garden where we grow all sorts of produce - zucchini, aubergine, tomato, peppers, chilli, lemons, peaches I could go on and on. We use the Tepan for quickly grilling vegetables and sometimes fruit as it helps to retain vitamins, minerals and their colour and taste.

The Tepan is split into two grilling zones which can be controlled independently (or linked) and therefore ideal for cooking different ingredients e.g. the back zone can be used to grill vegetables while a piece of meat can be seared over high heat in the front zone.

As mentioned earlier the effect of steam and fat defying the laws of physics and disappearing into the cooktop is an instant crowd-pleaser - like a magic show and it is surprisingly quiet. The sound of the food cooking is louder than the extractor fans - see video opposite.

To clean, we use a solution of water and white vinegar to 'deglaze' the surface and simply peel away any residues. Sounds silly, but it is genuinely pleasing to clean!

We are delighted with our new kitchen/studio, especially the cooktop which has completely changed our relationship with cooking, eating, entertaining and my work.