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Kiwi Invention Takes New Product Award

November 5, 2004

Kiwi Invention Takes New Product Award At New York Gourmet Housewares Show 2004

SimmerMat® Helps Cooks Simmer Food On Gas Without Burning It

A New Zealand invention that solves the problem faced by cooks trying to simmer food on a gas hob without it catching or burning, has won a prestigious award at the recent New York Gourmet Housewares Show.

SimmerMat®, invented by Tom Tothill of Christchurch, has taken a “Best New Product Award 2004” in the Cookware/Bakeware Category at the show on October 18

The New York Gourmet Housewares Show features cutting-edge developments from all over the world in cookware, kitchen gadgets, cutlery and other household products.

“I’m very excited and honoured to receive this award,” Mr Tothill says.

“It’s particularly satisfying to be recognized for our product design by such a prestigious group of judges.”

As a result of the New York show award, SimmerMat® is now eligible to enter the 2nd Annual Housewares Design Awards, to be judged in New York on January 18.

SimmerMat® is an enameled steel plate with 12 cones pressed into its surface, on which cooks can place a pot, pan or casserole, to keep the food inside safe from burning while cooking.

Mr Tothill came up with the idea in 1997 because of his own frustration at trying to cook foods slowly on gas.

“Anyone who’s used a gas cooktop knows how difficult it is to simmer foods at a low temperature, because the gas flame is too hot even on the lowest setting,” he says.

“Thus, the cook has no option but to constantly attend their cooking or be left with burnt-on food to clean up afterwards. Even cooks who use non-gas cooktops know that some foods, like sauces and gravies, can easily catch and burn on the lowest heat setting.”

Mr Tothill explains the secret of SimmerMat® is that it transfers heat to the base of the pot through the tips of the cones. This means heat is spread evenly over the base of the pot – and there are no hot spots.

“The big advantage for cooks is that the food in the pot won’t catch or burn,” he says.

“So it saves those awful clean-up jobs afterwards.”

SimmerMat® works not only on gas hobs but also on electric cooktops (coil elements, solid plate elements and ceramic tops) commercial restaurant cooktops, marine stoves, camping stoves and barbecues.

It can also be used as a trivet, on which to place a hot pan on a kitchen bench without harming the bench.

Even casseroles can be cooked on a SimmerMat® on top of the stove, rather than in the oven. The shape of the SimmerMat® delivers evenly-spread heat over the whole base of the cooking vessel, so the food and the vessel remains safe for hours.

Mr Tothill has just released a new “E Type” SimmerMat®, with a blue pyrolytic enamel coating – the same coating Fisher & Paykel uses in its high-temperature self-cleaning ovens in the premium “Quantum Series” range. Fisher & Paykel includes a SimmerMat® with every gas cooktop in the “Quantum Series” it exports to the United States. For those who do not fancy blue, a black enamel completes the “E Type range”.

During the past 12 months, Mr Tothill has sold more than 28,000 SimmerMats® in New Zealand and 70,000 in Australia. Since appointing a distributor in the United States in March, he has already sold more than 36,000 SimmerMats® on the American market. The product is also on sale in the UK and Europe.

Mr Tothill says he’s constantly surprised to hear of new uses for the SimmerMat®.

“Last winter I got an email from yachts in the Tongan regatta asking me to send eight SimmerMats® to Fiji. One yacht in the regatta already had one and was able to stop bread burning in the gas oven by putting the baking tin on a SimmerMat®.”


Rice - no need for a rice cooker. Milk-based custards, white and cheese sauces, crème brulee, and milk drinks. Simmering beef, chicken, pork, and other bones to make stock. Simmering thick soups such as chowders, pumpkin and other vegetable soups. Waterless cooking of vegetables. Keeping tea, coffee and cocoa piping hot without boiling and spoiling. Making jams - they will not catch and burn, or create excessive froth, and also maintain better colour. Making chutneys, relishes, plum and tomato sauces. Corned beef, pickled pork, casseroles, curries and stews can be safely cooked in a cast-iron, glass or porcelain casserole on the SimmerMat®. Sugar work such as toffees, melting chocolate, and glazes. Caramelising sweetened condensed milk. SimmerMat® replaces the need for a double boiler for delicate foods. Anything that requires long slow cooking is best controlled on a SimmerMat®.


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