Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a serial kitchen remodeler (me)
than the purchase of high end appliances.
And the most expensive appliance is undoubtedly the stove.
Americans are sort of obsessed with kitchen design
and "Looker Cookers" from Europe, can set you back $10,000 to $30,000, take 4 months or more to build and are next to impossible to have repaired in the US....so why buy one?
And with so many other options available,
what really should we be looking for?
The criteria seems to be mostly performance related
but there is a bit of the "bourgeois" hanging around these stoves too!
I watched an episode of Iron Chef Masters
where they prepared a three course meal in a dorm room
with a microwave and a hot plate.
So lets just say this shall we....great food doesn't necessarily have to be prepared on a behemoth monster with 6 ovens and enough stove top burners to cook for the marines.
Having said that....these stove are beautiful and come in dozens of colors such as pistachio and aubergine. Die hard fans say that food tastes better when cooked in these ovens and they cook food faster as well.
The Aga, designed in 1922 has beautiful details as does the French made La Cornue.
The down side seems to be that the Aga has very small ovens and is an energy savers nightmare, as the oven pilot never turn off. It tends to make the kitchen warmer too, which may or may not be a problem.
The French La Cornufe is now being offered at Williams Sonoma. It retails for $8,600 and requires a $1,300 dollar delivery....and then you have to hire a professional installer. Ouch
I must say though, that the white stove above is just beautiful!
And what a show stopper in the kitchen
The La Cornufe offers 3 burners at 12,000 BTU's and a single larger burner offering 17,500 BTU's. Another feature is the ability to simmer at a low and steady
600 to 6000 BTU's for unattended sauce reduction. There is no glass in the oven doors on the Aga and La Cornufe which is supposed to allow for more even heat distribution.
The down side is obvious....you have to open the door to view what you are cooking, so you have heat loss every time you need to take a peek at the pie!
Now getting back to America.
The 48" dual fuel Thermadore,offers a whopping 22,000 BTU's on all burners.
Thermadore developed this star shaped burner which is supposed to allow more even heat distribution to the bottom of the pan surface.
The stove top is fully sealed with a black enamel top as opposed to stainless which allows the cook easy clean up when a sauce boils over.
The star burner can be reduced to an extremely low heat as well, 375 BTU's, which is the lowest available on any range on the market.
This 48" range sells for around $10,500 dollars.
Known to many chefs as "The King" of stoves is the wonderful Wolf stove
Wolf is now part of the Sub Zero family of appliances and has been a mainstay in the professional kitchen for decades. The BTU's are similar to the others in this category. But many feel this stove is overpriced compared to the other at around $11,500 dollars.
I do have to admit having a thing for those red knobs!
I also like the clean look of this range.
And my last American lovely is the Viking.
Having owned one or two of these I can say that I really like Viking....however if you are looking for special features on these stoves they all "add" to the price.
Things like full extension oven racks and griddles, and dual fuel capabilities can jump up the overall price pretty quickly.
This 36" dual fuel stove retails for around $5,500.
I looked at a few others in this category:
The DCS range used by Americas Test Kitchen Chefs
and the Bertazonni, which I purchased for another house.
So what to do?
Do I buy based on looks
Do I buy strictly for performance?
any "Reviews" would be greatly appreciated