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Chef Martine Bauer Cooks with Gaggenau

lobster vol au vent


The term “chef’s kitchen” is everywhere these days. While home kitchens (and cooks) are more sophisticated than ever, does a home cook need to cook on chef-quality equipment?

The answer is yes if the oven is from Gaggenau. The 300-year-old company has worked with professional chefs long enough to know what delights and frustrates them.

Once found only in professional kitchens, the combi-steam oven was made available to home cooks twenty years ago courtesy of Gaggenau. The new 400 Series is the latest version, a dreamy multifunctional oven that combines steam with convection heat. It makes life easy for home chefs via adjustable automatic programs like Home Connect, which allows you to control the appliance through your phone to set a recipe or pre-heat the oven remotely. There’s exceptionally accurate temperature control, variable steam selection, and an automated cleaning system. Cleverly lit by indirect lighting, the large oven cavity conceals a full-surface broiler behind glass for easy cleaning and aesthetics.

What can you do in that big beautiful space? For starters, you can bake, roast, and braise. Or cook sous vide, proof dough, and have fun with the pizza/baking stone or give the rotisserie a spin. The automatic programs offer culinary assistance that is entirely adjustable by the chef. The 3-point core temperature probe is accurate to a single degree and revises the cooking times as the dish is cooking. Sous-vide is facilitated by a cooking function and the addition of a vacuuming drawer. There’s even an attachment to draw air out of a bottle of unfinished wine to maintain maximum freshness. That attention to performance extends to the glass used in the oven doors. “Insulation is the only way to keep one side of the oven door perfectly cool while the other is at 905 ̊F. The 400 series oven door comprises five layers of special glass,” says Tania Goetzmann, Product management. The Gaggenau 400 Series steam ovens are available in 24 or 30-inch widths, with fixed water and drain connections and stainless steel-backed full-glass doors.

To see the 400 Series in action, watch Pompette chef Martine Bauer cooking Lobster Vol-au-Vent using the induction surface, steam and sous vide functions

Lobster Vol-au-Vent with Peas, Chanterelles & Bisque

Serves 4

  • 500 g (1 lb) puff pastry, rolled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 medium lobster tails or 1 lobster, about 700 g (1 1/2 lb), par-cooked, shelled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g (1/2 stick) butter, diced
  • 200 g (1 1/2 cups) peas, blanched
  • 400 g (14 oz) chanterelles, cleaned trimmed and cut into pieces
  • 500 ml (2 cups) lobster bisque, reduced by 1/3, warm


Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F).

Use a 10 cm (4”)–diameter pastry cutter to cut eight discs from the sheet of puff pastry. With an 8 cm (3”)–diameter pastry cutter, cut smaller discs from the centres of four of the discs. Transfer the four larger discs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Whisk egg yolk with a little water and brush evenly over those four discs, avoiding the edges. Arrange the second four (two-piece) discs on top of the first four discs, and brush the top layers with egg wash. Transfer to middle rack of the oven and bake until golden and crisp — about 40 minutes (10 minutes longer without convection). Set aside.

If you are equipped with a steam oven or immersion circulator, preheat it to 55°C (131°F). Season lobster with salt and pepper, vacuum-seal, and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium; add oil and butter. Once the butter foams, add the peas and chanterelles. (If you don’t have a circulator or steam oven, add the cold lobster at the same time as the vegetables.) Sauté until mushrooms are wilted — about 2 to 3 minutes — and the mixture is heated through. If you cooked the lobster separately, add it now and stir. Correct seasonings. Arrange four vol-au-vents on four warm plates. Remove small lids. Divide the lobster mixture between the four pastry shells and drizzle generously with the bisque. Replace pastry lids and serve.
Sponsored by Gaggenau