restaurant ranges for home use
- tom philpott
I had ruled out buying a restaurant range for a high-use home kitchen based on safety concerns. Then the thread, linked below, came to my attention. In it, a guy makes an impassioned case that home pro-style ranges, eg Viking, wolfe, etc., are a mere marketing tool. The real way forward for those who want high-performance ranges is to buy a restaurant model, he argues, adding thattThe safety concerns commonly raised are specious.
Any other opinions/experiences with restaurant ranges in a home setting?
I'm outfitting a kitchen for a food-based non-profit that produces elaborate five-course meals for 30 twice a month and does weekly baking for a farmers market stand. The kitchen's in an old farmhouse.
That was a really interesting thread and I think the guy is right. But, what do I know?
Another option that you might consider is an antique stove. They are way cool and the prices are going through the roof but you might get lucky somehow. It would look great in an old farmhouse.
There was an article in the New Yorker a few years ago called The Viking Invasion, that was all about nice stoves and trophy kitchens. It seems like with the right connections a non-profit should be able to get a heck of a deal on a gently-used (or never-used) stove when its owner decides that stainless steel is over or whatever.
If I had my druthers, I'd have a Viking six-burner gas range. My wife, on the other hand, opted for a Dacor glass cooktop. What a mistake!
I have to be careful placing cookware down on the cooktop surface for fear of breaking it or scratching it. I use cast-iron skillets and Dutch oven for the stuff that I cook. I have to be careful even with stainless steel cookware.
One of the TV magazine shows did an item on Viking outta Greenwood, Mississippi. I was immediately sold. We do have natural gas service to our house. In my next life, I will have a 6-burner Viking stove.
I have been reading that Garland, who made the best restaurant ranges, has morphed into Blue Star for the home kitchen. It supposedly has 22,000 BTUs per burner, as opposed to the 17,500 BTUs my DCS gets, this being the best I could find a year and a half ago in my area. I have no information on availability, but for the kind of cooking you are talking about, I would certainly look into it.
re: Jeremy Newel
I also have a DCS and have been very happy with it..easy to clean and easy to control. It came with a griddle which I like less well as it is somewhat of a pain to use and clean. I suspect, however, that this is inherent with griddles and my cooking "lifestyle" seems to have little use for griddles.
I bought a house with a commercial range in the kitchen. Was bowled over initially, but it has turned out to be kind of a pain. Essentially, the problem is that while a Ferrari is a beautiful piece of performance machinery, I live a Honda Civic lifestyle. The range lacks a broiler, because in a restaurant, they would have a salamander for that purpose. The previous owner who installed the thing didn't provide for that and I can't afford to install one even if I could figure where to put it. The exterior of my range does get awfully hot. The ledge which acts as a convenient plating and warming surface in a restaurant is just a hazard in a home and it's not hard to burn oneself on the oven door. Design-wise, it's also all sharp corners and frivolous-conveniences-free -- as in, no timers, no oven lights, no little beeper for when I've forgotten to turn the oven off. The cast iron burners are extremely large and too heavy for my dishwasher and the corrugated metal drip tray is 36" x 24". Try scrubbing that over even the basement utility sink without making a mess. And the pilot lights! I guess I could just turn them off and use matches to light the burners like in the olden days ... Maybe then I wouldn't catch the cats running around with singed whiskers on a reguar basis (the little pyros). It really is a beautiful stove, both aesthestically and functionally. But it's just too much for me.
But your situation doesn't exactly sound like a home environment? My issues may be irrelevant for you.