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Jan 27, 2011 08:32 AM

Has anyone heard of or purchased a Capital Range?

I am switching over to gas from electric in my new kitchen. I was really interested in the GE Monogram series and the Electrolux Icon Professional series. Then, someone said that Capital ROCKS! I am also confused about the open and sealed burners. I have a bad habit of boiling over pots and need to know what would be the best. Gas has always frightened me and this is a big step. HELP!

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  1. There's lots of Capital Range love on the GardenWeb appliance forum. I recommend reviewing posts there for research. The folks who started Capital were engineers from DCS before DCS was purchased by Fisher Paykel. I've read nothing but good about them (I have a pre-FP DCS All Gas and Dual Fuel ranges and LOVE them) but everyone's experiences will vary. Start there.

    1 Reply
    1. I've got a 30" Culinarian, and love it so far. Not only does it have a lot of power, but it's also equally good at applications that don't require 23k BTU - I didn't find that I had to really spend any time at all adjusting to the more powerful burners. And for wok cooking, I don't think it can be beat as far as ranges approved for home use - the dedicated wok grate holds a wok more securely and comfortably than just about anything I've seen, other than a commercial wok range.

      Several mentions of it on these forums.

      I very much like the open burners. The assemblies on the Capital burners are fairly easy to take apart / clean, however having the pot boil over onto it might be inconvenient.

      I posted detailing a few of the few minor nits we've had with it so far in this thread:

      All that said, the Culinarian is a very high-powered (and expensive) range, so if you're frightened of gas, this will be baptism by fire.

      1. Finally, I can share my experience with Capital. It does rock. Let me tell you why.

        I first bought a DCS 5 burner 30 inch in my last house, maybe 8 years ago. It was great. I loved the sealed burners for cleanup... I loved the oven shelves on casters. Nice big hot burners. A good unit.

        Then I moved and needed a stove and was shown the Capital. Same 5 burner 30 in. A lot like the DCS (founded by DCS guys), but less expensive (slightly). I think the Capital is better... like they improved on the DCS. First, they added a sort of "cowling" around each burner, which makes it better to clean. The grime used to get right up against the sealed burner base on the DCS, and it didn't get 100 percent clean, but the cowling stops that on the Capital. They also have a different kind of caster on the shelves. They are even smoother than the DCS. The heavy continuous grate has a sort of removable wok insert. Nice. Everything else works great. The infrared broiler rocks my steaks. The self clean is excellent. No complaints.

        11 Replies
        1. re: woodburner

          This thread is from January, but maybe it can be revived.

          To fully undeerstand Capital, you should know its president Surgit Kalsi, was a VP at U.S. Ranges,
          now consolidated with Manitowac-owned Garland. He was in LA. Fred Carl, a Mississippi building contractor, contacted several restaurant-range companies asking if they could design a down-tuned restaurant range for his wife to use in their house remodeling. Only Mr. Kalsi took the bait, and had his guys design a home-range. Mr. Carl LOVED it, and decided to replicate it, and Viking Range was born.

          Mr. Kalsi, doing a one-off, for which he was satisfactorily compensated, didn't get to be a Viking partner. But he got VC backing to make his own line of outdoor grills, and then ranges, DCS.

          His partners eventually forced him to accept a sale to Fisher-Paykel, and he was nicely rewarded, but wanted to run his own company. After the sale's non-compete clause expired, he formed Capital.

          Anyway, he saw an opening for a better open-burner home range, and Culinarian was born.

          Beta-testing was given to Trevor Lawson at Eurostoves. Mr. Lawson loved it, made improvement advisements, and so it went to market.

          They hit a home run. Not to say that future improvements will not be made by Mr. Kalsi's team, or that no one else will join the fray and bump up the ante, which hopefully will occur, and even more hopefully, we early-adopters' ranges may be upgradeable.

          But right now, for the next 12-24 mos, the Culi is the best you will find, if you want more go than show, unless you go to a restaurant range (which requires compliance with restaurant-fire code for your surrounding materials).

          1. re: MarkKS

            "Best you will find" for what?
            There are those with other ranges who would argue the strengths and weaknesses of the Culinarian and those ranges. They all seem to have advantages and disadvantages. I would say 'best' depends on how you cook and bake.

            1. re: wekick

              Great point wekick.

              Culi is not perfect. It's main weakness is insurance industry-dictated home-stove fire safety restrictions.

              Another too-bad is that Capital Precision offers a 30k btu wok burner ring, not available today on the Culi.

              I like the big oven, it works well. But, it's not going to do what a fire-brick-lined wood or gas oven can do.

              It also can't do really low-temp convection. Wolf does a really nice job here in the 120-135 F range. And their warming oven is super for dough-rises at 90 F.

              For heating a stockpot fast, the Culi can't compare to induction.

              When I say "best", I'm talking about compromises to satisfy the insurance industry, and what's available today in certified-"safe" ranges.

              Do I wish Capital Culinarian offered a 150k btu jet burner? Definitely. I like playing with molten metals.

              1. re: MarkKS

                But you can get the jet burner and they are cheap -great for outside.

                1. re: wekick

                  absolutely. There's a company in Louisiana making some 150k's for turkey frying, but they can be used for stir-frying. I've been thinking about it.

                  In another thread I talked about Camp Chef outdoor/camping stoves. They have 30k burners. Two "tabletop" models can be used on top of your regular range under the hood, you have to determine whether your hood will handle the smoke if you decide to stir-fry. In my experience, 30k is sufficient for family-sized portions with a 16 inch carbon steel wok. You can get the bottom to glow red on "Hi", or shift the wok position around a bit to get the whole wok pretty darned hot.

                  If you don't overload it, you can get nice seared-outside and crispy-inside snow peas and broccoli, dark-crusted beef, rare inside. Or after browning, put a little fluid in the wok and cover to get an instant steam blast.

                  If you want to do high-performance stove-top cooking, appliances like these offer terrific bang-for-buck performance.

            2. re: MarkKS

              Thank you so much. After researching, I have decided to go with a range cooktop and seperate double ovens. Still looking at Capitol and Electrolux Icon. Everyone's advice has been most helpful.

              1. re: MarkKS

                I don't really find the history (or people) behind all of this that interesting or compelling. What's interesting to me is that the stove is about as powerful as you can get in something that's rated for residential use, and works pretty well. Obviously Blue Star was clearly in their sights when creating this product - it's no coincidence that BS is 22k BTU/hr and Capital went for 23k.

                The arms race does continue to escalate -- American Range's new "Performer" series has 25k open burners, though not on all 4 burners by default.

                I do like having all burners the same, but I would like to have just a bit more juice for wok cooking. I will also say that adjusting to using the Culinarian was dead-easy. I was worried that having a more powerful stove than I was used to would take some getting used to, but the stove really felt immediately comfortable to me.

                1. re: will47

                  I have a 23k btu Culi. Nice stove. Amreican goes to 25k btu, Good. Flame wars are on.

                  1. re: MarkKS

                    I'm not a sexist, but in the post-WWII period, the insurance industry decided that home-cooks (almost all women) were causing too many fires with conventional stoves. So Betty Crocker stoves were invented, in both gas and electric models. Men were deemed more competent in these matters, so they were allowed to use barbecues with hot flames.

                    I've never had a kitchen conflagration, even though I have had a few "grease" (hot oil) fires. I shut off the heat source, and just let the fuel exhaust itself. I have a Halon fire extinguisher, if I ever had to use it, I would.

                    Most of the down-tuning of home ranges occurred before there were cheap, easy-to-obtain home fire extinguishers.

                    1. re: MarkKS

                      Someone pointed out to me on another forum that the BTU ratings are a calculated number open to interpretation.

                      1. re: wekick

                        I heated 12 qts of water on a "23k btu" Culi burner, and on a "30k btu" Camp Chef burner. 63 F to 200 F, per thermometer. Capital just under 24 min, Camp Chef just under 20 minutes. According to my calculation, either Capital was higher than 23k, or Camp Chef was under 30k, or Capital burner pattern was more efficient., or it was a matter of where I placed the probe (identical, but I had to choose a spot).

                        For fastest boiling and re-boiling after adding cold food like pasta or crabs or lobsters, I don't have induction, but surely it wins, except going against 100-150k turkey fryer/ big wok cooking gas jets.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. My wife and I just bought a 30'' Culinarian after reading all the hype and watching the videos posted at EuroStoves (one of Capital's distributors). The build is exceptional (form), however the function leaves somehting to be desired.

                  "True Simmer" achieves nothing but a boil, not sure how they claim 145 degrees, water boils at 212. We learned this our first night when we made a quart of soup and could not control the heat without pulling the pot off to the side of the flame. I took a restaurant thermometer and it read 300+ about 6-8 inches above the flame. Basically, too much heat on simmer if you want to do something delicate. The auto igniters also click continually. Capital said they could adjust this, to which I replied, why would you even send it out of the factory not set?

                  Lastly, to add insult to injury, we used the oven for it's maiden voyage on Easter Sunday and the advertised 4.1 cubic feet is more like 2.88 of useable, with poorly configured racks. I could have bought a Bertazolli... We could fit a 13lb ham and not much more as our caserole dishes would not fit between their rack positioning.

                  We are in the process of returning this range, and I just got off the phone with the chief engineer at American, let me just say, I am looking forward to their new perfomer series. The American 30'' oven capacity is the same useable size as the 36'' Capital.

                  Warm Regards and hope this helps!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: diegosd

                    I agree with most of your points. I think Culi is really good, but it has serious flaws. I'm not returning mine, I like it.

                    On "True simmer", the prototype tested by Trevor Lawson included 8k and 15k btu low-heat burners. I have no idea why they eliminated these.

                    Work arounds for cooking at low temp using 23k at gas flows just high enough to stop ignitor clicking (yeah mine does this too), include double-stacking grates, which works fine (but takes away a burner when you do this) using old-fashioned double boilers and placing cooking pots on diffuser pans. A pain in the pan, yes they kinda screwed up, but not a fatal flaw.

                    On the 36" oven, I don't know what you mean by "usable space" (a lot of mfrs warn against using the floor for cooking, and you obviously don't broil with your steak touching the broiler element), but interior volume is close to mfr's specification by my measurements and HP-calculator computation.

                    AmericanRange knows what they are doing. Their claimed broiler temp (1500 F or 1800F, depending on which web-page you read) sounds terricic. . Of course the best arrangement is heat under the meat, with fat exploding into upward-wafting smoke and flavoring your steak, rather than top-element. heating AR makes under-meat-heating broiler units. Check them out.

                    If you can meet restaurant fire-code in your kitchen design, check out AR's "Medallion Hotel" ranges, 35k btu.

                    For their residential series, I don't think AR is a clear all-out winner over Culi. AR does offer lower-heat burners, that's an advantage. But also be aware, single-ring-pattern sealed burners don't have the heat-distribution characteristics of 3 concentric-lfame-ring ports or star-pattern, open burners.

                    Culi oven is self-cleaning, AR not. The Culi rotisserie appears to work in Trevor's videos. Cooking roasts and turkeys rotating keeps juices more-evenly distributed. (I've flipped my holiday turkeys for the past 15 years, I think it does help to keep breasts from drying out, while cooking the thighs and browning the bottom skin. I've done brining and injecting, both very good, I prefer the latter.)

                    Capital's Chairman Surgit Kalsi worked in commercial ranges (e.g. US Range in LA, now in the Garland family). He designed the first Viking. He's constrained by residential fire codes. There is nothing stopping anyone from building in restaurant fire suppression and installing a full-restaurant-heat range. I kind of regret not doing that. In this category, American Range and original Wolf (not Sub-Zero home range spin-off) are reportedly excellent.

                    We have Wolf L 30" double electric convection ovens for things Culi oven doesn't do, like dehydrating 120 F hot-air convection/dehydration mode, and doing dry-convection sous vide (not as temp-precise as a water bath unit, but very good). Mainly we got extra ovens for family holiday gatherings, so people could cook when they wanted to make their dishes best at sit-down time.

                    One huge (AR) oven is nice. But I prefer multiple smaller ovens. Just a personal preference.

                    Camp Chef outdoor stove 30k is really good for 16 inch wok stir-fry. Weber with charcoal and wood chunks is a very good 'cue. I would love to have a Kalamazoo, but I'd have to grill every day on it to justify the cost, which I can't do. I might go for a Primo, it looks like they did some nice thinking on improving upon BGE and other Kamados. It's been known for a long time that earthen-material surrounds gived elish results. I may install a wood-burning oven.