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Opinions on Ovens/Ranges?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Looking at a kitchen remodel. Assuming my marriage survives, what oven/cooktop would experienced cooks recommend? I had a Thermador in my home previously, which I loved. Six top burner, single oven cast iron grates, but I don't see anything like that offered by them currently. Saw a La Cornu that looked nice. Kind of an odd size at 43 inches, which I actually like. Four burners, with a huge burner in the middle, and two ovens, one combo, one convection. Any opinions on La Cornue vs Viking/Wolf/Thermador/GE Monogram? I have also thought about buying second hand commercial kitchen ranges, but I don't know if they're really compatible with a home set up (gas line gauge, etc) so if anyone has experience with that stuff, I'm all ears. I cook a lot, and will get a ton of use out of whatever we end up choosing. I don't care what the brand is, I want something durable that's simple to use, I don't care what it looks like, just that it performs. It will be hooded and have a warming shelf. I don't want a straight cooktop, I want something with oven(s) built in because I don't have room in the kitchen to mount two ovens in the wall. I don't actually need two ovens. Appreciate any experiences suggestions.
post #2 of 9
Ovens - buy a pair of Gaggeneau EB-388s. They'll set you back half the price of a cheap car but you'll never regret it if you like to cook.
post #3 of 9
The La Cornue that you are talking about is not a real La Cornue. It's a product made under license by someone else, I can't remember what company. I can't say if it is good or bad only that it's overpriced given that a stove with comparable features but that does not look like (nor is named) La Cornue does not cost nearly as much.

Basically, what I concluded when I researched this was that Wolf has a better oven than Viking but Viking has better burners. I still believe that Wolf has a better oven but I am now less convinced that Viking has better burners. Whatever you do, I strongly recommend open rather than sealed burners.

My current belief--and it is only that--is that BlueStar makes the best range on the market.

Nearly all of these companies make the same size equipment. 36" gives you one (large) oven with either six burners or four burners plus a grill or griddle. BlueStar also has an option for a Salamander, which you probably do not need as a home cook. 48" gives you a variety of options up top plus two ovens, one medium and one small. 60" means you can have it all, six burners, grill, griddle and two medium-large ovens.

The problem with installing a restaurant range is that they are not insulated/fireproofed to home standards and so are not code. You might be able to do it but in most places you would be breaking the law. The performance is, so far as I know, not any better than on a top of the line home range.
post #4 of 9
I have a 36" Viking top that works just fine and a pair of the Gaggenau wall ovens that I adore.

I can go into the virtues of the particular ovens but the layout drives an enormous amount of the value equation. Separating the range from the ovens lets you choose the best of each and lets you put them in places where they are easiest to work with.

I can't recomment having wall ovens more. Because they are in the wall, they are higher than "range" ovens making it easier to get things in an out of. The low over is perfect for heavy things like a turkey and the upper oven, because of the window, is great for baked goods. In the cabinet we made for them, I included an open slot where a bakers peel lives. Above the slot are three cabinet doors containing trays behind two and towels behind one. A large pull out drawer is below the ranges which holds bowls, plastic container and china caps/seives.

The range has a hood over it and a two-shelf cabinet below it which contains the pots and pans.

If you have space and are not trying to simply replace an appliance, I would consider this configuration.

I'm not sure that it's in print anymore, but Pierre Franey wrote a great book about kitchen design and tools. It is worth a look, dated but full of good ideas about organizing spaces and related tools.

Braised
post #5 of 9
BTW, I don't know what you mean by warming shelf. All of these companies offer a high stainless back (around 2 feet higher than the stovetop) with a shelf but I wouldn't call that a warming shelf. It's not that deep. It's more for seasoning and stuff.

Hoods obviously are sold separately. I bought a Broan, which I think is meh. Ideally a hood should be slightly wider than the range top and stick out slightly farther in front. This is hard to accomplish in a home kitchen. Vent-a-Hood is my current beau-ideal. Venting is trouble. You want the straightest, shortest run possible. Every foot and every turn reduces the hood's power. There is also a formula, which I forget, where you take your stove's BTUs and that tells you how many CFM you need your hood to blow. If you don't do a lot of high-heat sauteeing, this is less important.

Oh, one other thing. Both Viking and Wolf make dual fuel ranges (electric ovens, gas burners) but BlueStar does not. Some people swear that electric ovens are better than gas. I used to believe that and bought dual fuel for that reason but now I am not so sure.
post #6 of 9
Honestly, any of the pieces mentioned in this thread can do more than you could ever ask for. I would avoid commercial ranges. Not only are they uninsulated, they are also deeper than standard, and the power in 99% of residences is limited by the gas line anyway. I put a recommendation in for a steam oven. Miele, not Gagganeau.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your feedback, it is much appreciated.

I was looking at the Le Cornu simply because the dealer here had a floor model they were selling for about 60% of retail, which puts it about half the retail of a comparable Viking or Wolf. I figured they were all about the same, but wanted to see if any particular brand stood out as being better or worse. Sounds like the ranges are about the same. And Matt I agree that anything I buy will be beyond my abilities to get the most out of it.

Manton, what's the difference between sealed and unsealed burners? Any thoughts about grates: cast iron vs other materials?
post #8 of 9
sealed means that there is a surface with no gaps between the burner opening and the stove below. Open means that there is some space which allows for the flame element to be set lower and give more even heating to pan.

All grates will be cast iron as far as I know. I have seen built in stainless grates at restaurants/cooking schools which are nice but as far as I know you can't get those for the home.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ah, I see.

Re: warming shelf, my old Thermador had a shelf as you described, and the hood had heatlamps built into it. It was wide enough to hold a saucepan and was handy for keeping things warm.
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