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Stoves/Ranges

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Manton, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. jay allen

    jay allen Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking that Viking would be your best choice. We have one in the family, and it cooks great, but requires some effort to keep it shiny. The best burner I've ever cooked on was a classic Vulcan, with the black steel face. Amazing cooktop. For color, I think stainless is a little too trendy right now, so I would avoid it for that reason. but vulcan, ahh sweet vulcan . . . http://www.vulcanhart.com/specs/specs-36SL.pdf My other choice would be an Aga (up to 15 colors), but I don't know how well it does on the stovetop front. http://www.aga-ranges.com/models/legacy36.cfm Good luck, and have fun.
    I would respectfully disagree with stainless being trendy. Going with a peach colored stove might make sense to you today......but you will walk into your kitchen some morning and wonder....what the hell was I thinking when I bought THAT. With a stainless stove you can change out your cabinets, counter tops, etc with no worrys about "matching" the range. I think stainless gives you a better chance of the kitchen not looking "dated" in a few years. We all have friends with European kitchens, that looked just like something they saw in a magazine, that now look old and out of style. Ranges are like good suits....the new and fancy are rarely better than the tried and true.
     
  2. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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  3. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I did look at the Aga. I was intrigued. But it is impractical for a number of reasons. The biggest drawback is that there are no burners, and one really needs to learn to cook the way the Aga wants you to. Traditional techniques don't work. I don't think I'm ready to start all over.
     
  4. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I did look at the Aga. I was intrigued. But it is impractical for a number of reasons. The biggest drawback is that there are no burners, and one really needs to learn to cook the way the Aga wants you to. Traditional techniques don't work. I don't think I'm ready to start all over.

    you want to hear impractical? a friend of mine got one in israel, and they sent him a technitian from the UK to install it.

    I have known 2 people with AGAs, and they loved them. I honestly don't know how much learning is involved, as one of the guys was a serious foodie and the other had grown up with one. so maybe you are right. I know that when I buy a range for a house, the AGA is what I would like to have.
     
  5. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Manton,

    When we were building I spent alot of time researching ranges. Admittedly, our priorities might have been different and it was almost ten years ago, but we came down to Viking, Thermador, and DCS (Dynamic Cooking Systems). In the end we got the Thermador PRSE486GGLS (I still know the model number, how sad is that?) -- a dual fuel six-burner plus grill.

    Some of the factors that influenced the decision were:
    • Wanting to go low enough to melt chocolate/hold very delicate sauces without scorching --the Therm only does that on two burners, and that has not been an issue);
    • Goriously high heat for stir-frying, searing, and boiling water (converted to propane, the Therm had higher BTU output than either contender)
    • I liked the idea of a griddle, but didn't want to lose a pair of burners (I've had six going for breakfast), so just buy a good two-burner griddle pan and voila! Viking makes a custom griddle for their stoves, in fact
    • Only Therm and DCS self-cleaned at the time, which is a nice feature.
    • I can't contrast sealed burners with open burner trays, but the only thing I can note is that really cleaning the cooktop requires a vaccuum, masking tape, and oven cleaner. Even so, they simply won't stay pristine with hard use.
    • By all means, the more CFMs you can draw with the hood the better. We pull 1200 and sometimes it's not enough. Flambes tend to send up invisible particles that set off the smoke alarms. Further, I am shocked how much oil winds up in the hood grates that would otherwise be on, well, everything.
    • No matter which brand you choose -- you want the high backsplash, and the keep hot shelf on top is awesome for tossing pans and lids upon, and coupled with heat lamps for warming plates or when your timing is a wee bit off is superb.
    • It's purely subjective and prejudiced, but one of the reasons we didn't go Viking was due to its cachet as the yuppie stove of the moment (back then Viking was really doing a blitz in that department).

    That's all that occurs to me at the moment. By all means go and find working demonstrator models, and know this -- I'm sure any of them will be a real source of pleasure if you enjoy preparing food.

    Enjoy!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. countdemoney

    countdemoney Senior member

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    I would respectfully disagree with stainless being trendy. Going with a peach colored stove might make sense to you today......but you will walk into your kitchen some morning and wonder....what the hell was I thinking when I bought THAT.

    With a stainless stove you can change out your cabinets, counter tops, etc with no worrys about "matching" the range. I think stainless gives you a better chance of the kitchen not looking "dated" in a few years. We all have friends with European kitchens, that looked just like something they saw in a magazine, that now look old and out of style.

    Ranges are like good suits....the new and fancy are rarely better than the tried and true.


    I'm not advocating peach, or some 70's green, but I do think the stainless thing has been soooo overdone. If you can find a classy color, I would do that over stainless. Stainless used to be distinctive. At one time, it was the only way you could get a near professional stove or refrigerator. It also fit very well in homes with a modern aesthetic. Now, it's everywhere, and at every pricepoint. I think it also screams gaudy, nouveau riche if not done correctly.

    My personal preference would be to build an almost entirely stainless, professional kitchen. But, it's the real world, and such kitchens can be a little cold to strangers and loved ones alike. By the same token, putting a big, sparkly, professional style stainless stove into an otherwise warm, traditional kitchen calls undue (IMO) attention to the stove and breaks up the aesthetic of the room.

    My picks for range colors are bolder reds, blues, and best (IMO) black - the most traditional. Think Le Creuset type tones. Anyway, the important thing is performance. So Manton, for a guy who sometimes talks about 1/16" measurements sometimes being important to him, I'd go one step further and find out which maker has the best service in your area. If you want a great deal of flame control, it might be nice to have a technician who will be able to diagnose and fix any flow control problems you think you might be experiencing.
     
  7. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Do these gadgets make for better cooking?

    I wager Escoffier didn't have low simmer and choice of steel colors.
     
  8. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    Given Escoffier's team, I wouldn't care for gadgets either. And they'd work in the downstairs kitchen where no one of import would ever visit, so whatever colour wouldn't matter either.
     
  9. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Better cooking? Nah. A wide variety of consistently better cooking, yes.

    One of my truly memorable meals was a simple steak, grilled over an open fire on a spot-improvised grill, with corn roasted on the same fire, and potatoes baked by burying them in the embers. A little butter, salt and pepper, and a modest Cote du Rhone rounded out a superb meal. Mind you, I doubt if I could repeat it anywhere near that well.

    I can count on the stove to perform when I need it to, and if I am serving guests, I need it to perform consistently and well. It gives me options that aid my imperfectness (if I forget a sauce(!) for a moment, the even heat will keep it from burning); as well as allowing me to perform the work that ought to take more than one -- throw the chocolate on the simmer burner to melt and it will be fine when you get back to it, within reason. It is an aid to personal comfort -- yes, grilling outside when it is below freezing has a certain pizazz, but it's nice to grill salmon in in comfort with two feet of snow outside. Hoods suck up so much grease that would otherwise deposit itself everywhere, and I have no commis to clean for me.

    Anyway, a better stove does not a better chef make. But a good chef can use a better stove to make better food more often, if they so prefer. Rather like cameras -- there are things a Leica cannot do that a Mamiya can do, but you can still make serious music with a Leica. Or a campfire. You know what I mean.

    Regards,
    Huntsman

    ps I keep thinking whether or not I agree with your sig, but I really do like it all the same.
     
  10. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad Member

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    I've just spent quite a bit of energy fixing up our kitchen over the last year. We chose the AGA 6/4 in red. Not the traditional always on version. To much heat in the summer for us.

    The 6/4 is a cast iron 4 electric ovens oven facade with traditional 6 burner gas cooktop and one stupidly hot wok burner. Simmers well, does all kinds of stuff well. Very nice range, lots of cooking options. Broiler is outstanding. Ventahood Excalibur over top.

    It's an aquired taste for sure but for my wife and I it's perfect.

    AGA 6-4

    Viking has been having reliability problems as of late and should be approached with caution. Wolf has changed hands but is still highly regarded. Blue Star and Thermador have lots of fans. DCS as well.

    LaCanche is a french range that is gaining popularity in the states as of late. I haven't seen one, but those that have them rave about them. They look fantastic.

    Lacanche USA

    gardenweb.com has lots of good discussion on ranges.

    I have avoided stainless as we have a 50's kitchen most of which is still original and stainless would look rediculous in there. The aga is a nice compromise. Lots of modern features over vintage stoves (which we considered as well). I fear stainless and black granite may become the avocado of this era. Maybe not.

    Best of luck in your hunt.
     
  11. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    We chose DCS over Viking or Thermador based on personal preference for the style. You really can't go wrong with any of these stoves. It's the sort of thing that you can't believe you spent that much money on a freakin' stove......but you are always happy that you have it.

    Two of my relatives each got a new stove. One a VIking, the other a Thermador. One cooks a lot -- the other appears to have bought it because it matches everything else in the absurdly chef-ly kitchen. As for sauces and a griddle -- does it make that big of a diff. then a sauce pan on a flame (providing you use a good pan)?

    What's that crazy cast-iron stove from Scandanavia? It's ridiculously large and about three people in the world can cook properly on it. But it's the piece to have apparently.
     
  12. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    I think it's called an aga or agha or agfa or something like that. Rather Trad.

    edit: oops, see someone already mentioned it. Huge beast, ain't it?
     
  13. Mr. Checks

    Mr. Checks Senior member

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    I've just spent quite a bit of energy fixing up our kitchen over the last year. We chose the AGA 6/4 in red. Not the traditional always on version. To much heat in the summer for us.

    The 6/4 is a cast iron 4 electric ovens oven facade with traditional 6 burner gas cooktop and one stupidly hot wok burner. Simmers well, does all kinds of stuff well. Very nice range, lots of cooking options. Broiler is outstanding. Ventahood Excalibur over top.

    It's an aquired taste for sure but for my wife and I it's perfect.

    AGA 6-4

    Viking has been having reliability problems as of late and should be approached with caution. Wolf has changed hands but is still highly regarded. Blue Star and Thermador have lots of fans. DCS as well.

    LaCanche is a french range that is gaining popularity in the states as of late. I haven't seen one, but those that have them rave about them. They look fantastic.

    Lacanche USA

    gardenweb.com has lots of good discussion on ranges.

    I have avoided stainless as we have a 50's kitchen most of which is still original and stainless would look rediculous in there. The aga is a nice compromise. Lots of modern features over vintage stoves (which we considered as well). I fear stainless and black granite may become the avocado of this era. Maybe not.

    Best of luck in your hunt.


    Just wondered where you heard that Vikings were having reliability problems of late. When I was shopping for mine 5 years ago, that's what the competitors said, but no one ever produced the goods. I doubt there's anything but anecdotal evidence in this small market niche.
     
  14. jay allen

    jay allen Well-Known Member

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    I'm not advocating peach, or some 70's green, but I do think the stainless thing has been soooo overdone. If you can find a classy color, I would do that over stainless. Stainless used to be distinctive. At one time, it was the only way you could get a near professional stove or refrigerator. It also fit very well in homes with a modern aesthetic. Now, it's everywhere, and at every pricepoint. I think it also screams gaudy, nouveau riche if not done correctly. My personal preference would be to build an almost entirely stainless, professional kitchen. But, it's the real world, and such kitchens can be a little cold to strangers and loved ones alike. By the same token, putting a big, sparkly, professional style stainless stove into an otherwise warm, traditional kitchen calls undue (IMO) attention to the stove and breaks up the aesthetic of the room. My picks for range colors are bolder reds, blues, and best (IMO) black - the most traditional. Think Le Creuset type tones. Anyway, the important thing is performance. So Manton, for a guy who sometimes talks about 1/16" measurements sometimes being important to him, I'd go one step further and find out which maker has the best service in your area. If you want a great deal of flame control, it might be nice to have a technician who will be able to diagnose and fix any flow control problems you think you might be experiencing.
    Clearly, this is a matter of personal taste. We have a 400 sq/ft kitchen with two large islands. The lower level of one of the islands is also stainless with a prep sink. Rather than stainless screaming "nouveau riche"...I would suggest it screams clean. It may be my restaurant background that contributes to me finding this look appealing. In a kitchen as large as ours anything less than a 48" range would have looked silly. We have honey maple cabinets with stainless hardware, and 125 sq/ft of Blue Pearl granite on approx. 40 linear feet of counter top and islands. I don't think our range stands out at all....quite the contrary.....it blends in very well. We didn't pick a range, and then build a kitchen around it. We chose our cabinets first, granite second, and lastly decided on appliances. Those include two Fisher Paykel dishwashers, an under counter beverage cooler in one island, and a large side by side refrigerator.....all stainless. BTW....How funny is it that people are this passionate about their stove?
     
  15. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad Member

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    Just wondered where you heard that Vikings were having reliability problems of late. When I was shopping for mine 5 years ago, that's what the competitors said, but no one ever produced the goods. I doubt there's anything but anecdotal evidence in this small market niche.
    Many complaints I read are reported on gardenweb.com forums from dissapointed owners. I don't see the same level of complaint with the other brands mentioned. That doesn't mean much statisticly. I have no such experience personally. I have seen no independant data. Could be PR designed to decrease their sales I don't know. Just because you read it on the internet doesn't mean it's true. Just because you read it on the internet doesn't mean it's false.
     
  16. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I like stainless, myself. However, the house's other occupant is not so keen and would prefer a color. If I could make a convincing case that one of the stainless-only brands offered superior performance and/or reliability, I might be able to carry the day. But if quality really is equal or close to equal, I think I will end up with the Viking. Which makes sense for me for another reason, as all the burners do a true, low simmer, which I like. I think on a six burner Wolf, only one burner has the low simmer. I asked a salesman if it could be special ordered with any configuration, and he said no.
     
  17. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    We have a LaCanche in France. I would not recommend it as I find it very hard to navigate. I want to throw it out every time that I am there.

    My wolf has low simmer on all burners, but it is seven years old now.
     
  18. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Manton, do you live with a roommate of sartorial splendor?

    Sort of like a nonartistic Gilbert & George?
     
  19. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Do these gadgets make for better cooking?

    I wager Escoffier didn't have low simmer and choice of steel colors.

    Escoffier is probably not as obscure a reference as you think or hope. To continually dazzle with your erudition, you need to do better. E.g., Gilber & George.

    Esscofier used a simmer plate, which is to French cooking roughly what a hammer is to carpentry. All high-end French stoves have them, but these cost a fortune. American stoves only started featuring them recently, and have apparently not done so good a job with it. Also, there does not appear to be one available on any 36" American range. In any case, a low simmer is essential to sauce making. Whether it is achieved with a burner or a simmer plate is in the end immaterial, though a real French saucier would say that a simmer plate is superior.
     
  20. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Escoffier is probably not as obscure a reference as you think or hope. To continually dazzle with your erudition, you need to do better. E.g., Gilber & George.

    Esscofier used a simmer plate, which is to French cooking roughly what a hammer is to carpentry. All high-end French stoves have them, but these cost a fortune. American stoves only started featuring them recently, and have apparently not done so good a job with it. Also, there does not appear to be one available on any 36" American range. In any case, a low simmer is essential to sauce making. Whether it is achieved with a burner or a simmer plate is in the end immaterial, though a real French saucier would say that a simmer plate is superior.



    I found that it takes a bit of practice to use a simmer plate. I also found that I did not feel like practicing.

    In all reality, the only sauces that need such deft heat control are butter emulsified ones. I would say that for a hollandaise based sauce the simmer plate would really help, but for a beurre blanc you don't need it. Beurre blancs without an addition of cream are a bit tricky, but they are also as common in this day and age as 100% handmade pants. A double boiler is probably sufficient for hollandaise et al, although it does increase the time to make a bit. I would not mourn not having a simmer plate. When we built our kitchen, I wanted a simmer plate and a true salamander. I got neither and have not looked back. If I were to choose, I would take the salamander.
     

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