Commercial ranges - ignitors, etc.
Hello. I've been an occasional visitor, but am diving in now that my wife and I are planning an extensive kitchen remodel in our new place. My primary questions right now relate to which gas range & hood to select. Would love your advice.
I'm sold on Bluestar as the most attractive commercial-style range designed for residential use, but I don't want to let go of a true commercial Garland range until I'm convinced it won't work. I know there are safety features in the residential models that add to the cost, but double the cost seems steep to me. (I've been comparison shopping 60" models. Steep, I know, but I plan to make it up by building all the cabinets myself).
I have no problem putting in tile backsplashes and other fire protection layers between the range and the cabinets & wall. I would plan on ensuring adequate ventilation and makeup air. I know the approach has to be cleared with the city and with my insurance company. And it needs adequate gas supply.
These seem like they can be overcome, but what I'm not sure about is whether I want to deal with pilot lights, especially not 10+ of them. Does anyone know how to get a Garland with spark ignition for each burner? Any other models come without pilots?
How about simmering small amounts of liquids? Any suggested solutions to the problem posed by commercial ranges in this regard?
Also, would love any of your tales, good or bad, with your commercial range.
I have not put a true commercial range in a normal home in the last 5-7 years. The "professional style" ranges are more flexible/versatile and generally makes the homeowner happier. Back when commercial ranges were THE THING to have there just were no other options. Now that Wolf, Viking, Bluestar, DCS and others make ranges with many of the benefits and not too many trade offs there are very few folks who insist on the commercial ranges.
From the simple stuff (like just turning off the pilots and keeping a BBQ lighter around --until it gets lost at a birthday party or something) to the clearance issues (some fire inspectors will insist on the whole non-flamable surface thing so that essentially the stove must be by itself apart from any other fixture and even away from walls...) to the ventilation (if you try and price a hood and ventilator for any 60" range be prepared for some big numbers) to the performance and cleaning issues (without a pilot light a burner is pretty useless on low -- and while being able to dissassemble a commercial range is essential to prevent vermin infestation in a commercial setting -- NEEDING to have a get inside to clean up a spill is frankly not pleasant).
With those warnings I will say that I have worked with folks that are fantasticaly happy having a commerial range in their kitchen. With a large enough space they can get a stove that is capable of supporting a medium sized catering operation and/or have multiple options for cooking that would otherwise not really be doable. The prices for options on commercial ranges are generally far lower than trying to replicate such things in pro style ranges. Some manufacturers can give you a zoned hot top or undersized simmer burners or a wok hob built into the stove for a fairly modest charge. It is all a trade off.
BTW While various cabinetry can be constructed relatively simply, it is generally NOT a "money saving" way to go. Even if you're experienced building out of plywood or MDF, the quality of what you end up with even with a shop as well equipped as Norm Abrams New Yankee Workshop is far greater what the material cost would be for professionally constructed "home center" cabinets. If you try to a veneer or laminate your costs skyrocket -- and the look can't match similar stuff built in a factory. if you try to get enough solid hard wood to build fancy style cabinets you will go broke, and find out that kitchens are a hell on wood that is not dimensionally stable. And all this assumes that you are 'paying yourself' nothing. Believe me, the custom shops that have lots of cheap labour, with good skills, well divided into specific task, equipped with speciallized tools, and suppliers that make sub assemblies for them will turn out a better product at a lower total cost than any DIY can. I'd go so far to say that even if you have done custom wood working as a side business you'd be better off using you time to sell that and simply raise the capital that you could then spend with a firm that does kitchens exclusively...
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I'm leaning toward the higher priced residential model, essentially for the reasons you mention and that I have seen elsewhere.
The 'cost savings' remark, WRT the cabinetry, was a little flip. I'm using solid maple and figured resawn veneers and it won't be cheap. However, I respectfully disagree with you that it's more expensive than paying someone to do the same quality job. In any event, I know what I want built, and I know that I'll do it the way I want it. Might as well use the tools, and these hands, since I already have them.
re: Pete Bunyan
I think we are probably on the same page regarding the cabinets -- sure if you have the materials & skills you can build exactly what you want and the total cash out of pocket will be less than trying to get a high end semi-custom manufacturer or local pure custom shop, becuase you won't be paying yourself. I would not call that "savings" that you use to offset the expense of expensive appliances, so much as spending on what you want to ;^)
There is no monetary way to determine the satisfaction (and frustration) of "I did it my way" ( and Ol' Blue Eyes was singing into his seven decades!).
I would choose Thermador or DCS over Blue Star, choosing to ignore the fact that Blue Star are residential ranges made by a commercial manufacturer. I quickly removed the inferior Garland ranges from my restaurant kitchen and replaced them with Montague, although Jade ranges are quite good as well. At home I have a Thermador "professional" range with which I am quite happy, and am thankful that I do not have an actual restaurant range in my kitchen. There is no need for that kind of power, and I don't mind the bells and whistles - as well as the safety - that come with residential models. Also, you really can't simmer or slow-cook on a commercial range.