Cooking up a storm

For writer Meredith Woo and her chef husband Anthony Wu, the kitchen is the centre of their 3-room Toa Payoh home.
For writer Meredith Woo and her chef husband Anthony Wu, the kitchen is the centre of their 3-room Toa Payoh home. PHOTO: SPH CONTENT LAB

For writer Meredith Woo and her chef husband Anthony Wu, the kitchen is the centre of their 3-room Toa Payoh home.  If you need some inspiration on how to outfit your kitchen, here are a few tips from a sous chef of Chijmes’ The Modern Izakaya, and a baking enthusiast with over 20 years of experience under her belt.

So what were you looking for in your kitchen?

Anthony: We knew that we wanted a three-burner hob, wide enough to be able to access all the burners. Burner placement was also very important. If you have a big wok with burners too close together, you can’t fit anything on the other burners, which means it’s harder to multi-task in the kitchen.

But since our flat is only a 3-room flat, there’s a not a lot of space in the kitchen, so we had to compromise a bit. Initially we had our eye on a hob 91cm in length, but we later realised that we could only fit a hob 78cm and below.

I also wanted a high-heat stove. The flame has to be strong enough to get “wok hei”. Some induction cookers don’t get hot enough for stir-frying — you need an open flame for that.

Meredith: I bake a lot, so I wanted a built-in oven— a microwave or toaster oven isn’t enough. They’re also usually too small to fit a full tray of brownies or cookies into. Sometimes we need to finish some meats in the oven too, so we needed with something with even heating.

Why did you decide to get your appliances from Gain City in the end?

Meredith: Back when we were still waiting for our keys, I did a lot of research across the different stores in Singapore, and Gain City really did offer the best prices. A lot of my friends got their appliances from the BTO group buys, and had only good things to say about it. So we decided to go to the Gain City Megastore @ Sungei Kadut, mainly because it was a one-stop shop — we could get everything we wanted from one place.

What were the benefits of shopping at Gain City?

Meredith: The prices were great, but it was the service that really stood out to us. The salesperson wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were getting. So he got his staff to take us through all the different brands and models that he thought would suit us, from Ariston to Brandt to Miele.

And it’s not like he was trying to push us towards a specific brand so he could get a bigger commission. He was very sincere. He bothered to explain everything, and didn’t immediately pull out his calculator to show us prices, like you would at other electronics stores.

Anthony: Speaking of going out of the way, he actually demonstrated the strength of the tempered glass hob. We wanted a stainless-steel hob, but he didn’t want us to discount the possibility of a tempered glass one immediately. To prove how strong it was, he actually took a metal saucepan and dropped it on the hob, then showed us that there were no scratches or cracks. We still got the stainless steel one in the end, but I tell you, I still remember that.

Meredith: Actually, we were so convinced by his demo that we got the tempered glass hob at first. But after we went home, we started to reconsider our choice, because of how the tempered glass would look in the kitchen — it wouldn’t match everything else, which was stainless steel. So we decided to change back to the stainless steel hob.

So did you manage to return it?

Meredith: Even better! All we had to do was go down, find the salesperson again, and tell him that we wanted to get the stainless steel one instead. It had been about a week by that time, but he actually still remembered us, and was happy to oblige — so long as we hadn’t paid the full amount yet, he would just deduct the additional cost from the deposit we paid, no questions asked. Their service is really next-level.

Register for Gain City’s BTO Group Buy and receive a 1-year Great Eastern HomeCover voucher, eight months’ free fibre broadband from Singtel, and $100 in Gain City vouchers when you spend $2,000 and above at the Group Buy with the OCBC Cashflo credit card.

Plus, if you find anything you’ve purchased at the BTO Group Buy for a cheaper price elsewhere, return to Gain City with your receipt and proof of the lower price, and you will be refunded the difference, subject to terms and conditions.