Cooking specialist brand, Steel, which is distributed by Arisit in Australia, is celebrating 100 years since its founding. Appliance Retailer spoke to Steel president and CEO, Auro Po about the milestone in an exclusive interview at EuroCucina in Milan.

“We are celebrating because 100 years ago my grandfather created his first cooker. Our business has four generations of manufacturing history since it was started in April 1922 for the commercial cooking category. And then, 25 years ago we decided to bring the experience we have from commercial cooking into the domestic market,” Po told Appliance Retailer.

“We had a lot of people approach us looking for cooking appliances with commercial quality that they can use at home – but in reality, only a few people actually bought these products. The reason for this is because in a home environment – people want domestic appliances to feature a nice design and this is why we created a separate product portfolio.

“We still keep our heart the commercial approach to product manufacturing, with components such as brass burners and heavy door hinges because our customers are people who do not want to just buy something that cooks – they love cooking and they want something different.

“Our typical customer is 40 to 45 years old so they already have a house and want to buy the kitchen and cooker they want. But we are not necessarily targeting wealthy consumers, it is affordable luxury for those who have the passion for cooking.

“We are proudly made in Italy and we invest in quality components. We could save 60 per cent of the cost of our parts if we sourced from China, but we will leave that to others.

“To celebrate the 100th anniversary, we have tripled the size of the factory to 12,000 square metres and have tripled our production capacity following growth in units of 38 per cent and 22 per cent over the last two years.

“Our ovens feature double fans operating in the opposite directions generating high pressure inside where we need to control of the temperature and the distribution of the air right into the corners of the oven. It doesn’t matter how many fans you have it depends on the way that you manage the air and the pressure within the cavity.

“Combi-steam is also a very important feature for our brand. We know that restaurants and commercial kitchens only use combi-steam because of the quality results is much better than a normal oven because you do not dry the food and if you do not dry the food you keep the taste. We are so convinced with combi steam that in conjunction with our 100-year celebration, we have ceased manufacturing other ovens. It is something that people can afford and we believe it is the way forward.”

Feature image: Steel CEO and president, Auro Po and Arisit national sales & marketing manager, Rachael Williams.