The idea of a do-it-all kitchen gadget immediately calls to mind late-night infomercials and wedding registries, but the Kenwood Cooking Chef might actually be the one appliance to permanently set on the counter. The machine combines the capabilities of a stand mixer, food processor and blender, plus it has an induction-heating element that warms the all-purpose bowl up to 284 degrees Fahrenheit, to allow cooking while stirring. If ever there were a time to attempt risotto or polenta, this is it. $2,000; williams-sonoma.com.
James T. Murray