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New House has a commercial stove...help!

Just bought our first house with a fantastic kitchen. However, upon further inspection and education, the stove is not pro-style, it is full on commercial. Comstock Castle, 36', huge. I was excited at first, but, I cook for me and my husband. I am not a chef, have not had formal training, and am afraid I am going to burn my food, myself, the house, etc. There is a commercial hood, it has apparently been properly installed, but it kinda scares me. I also have another double oven, so I have 3 ovens in the kitchen! Really thinking of donating the commercial stove. Advice and help!!

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  1. Everyone should be so unlucky.....cook on a medium flame and you will be fine. If you have six burners, you 'll also find it's convenient to have the extra two to keep pots of water or sauce hot while you prepare other items. The ovens will maintain heat better due to better construction and insulation. The ovens will prove useful during the holidays....use the small oven whenever possible.. If the oven is stainless steel lined, including the doors, then they will clean much easier than enamel. Commercial stoves are easier to clean as well.

    I vote you keep it and learn how to use it.

    12 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Suggestions on how to learn how to use it? And see, I did not even know I had a small oven. It will be a learning curve.

      1. re: cajarboe

        It's a range...it's only a range. Turn the burner on and cook. If it's too hot, turn the burner down. How hard do you really expect it to be?

        I cook at home and I cook at work. I much prefer cooking at work.

        It's heat that YOU can control. Why on earth be intimidated by it?

        1. re: JayL

          That makes me feel a bit less intimidated. A year ago I could barely make a grilled cheese without setting off smoke alarms. You cook at work, so probably have better knowledge of how to properly adjust the heat. I suppose it is something to learn. For example, when a recipe calls for medium high heat, is the medium high heat different for a commercial stove? Our last stove was electric, which took so long to heat up. I am assuming this is much faster?

          1. re: cajarboe

            Commercial ovens are no faster to heat up, just the opposite. Most ovens are around 30K BTU so no real difference aside from the fact that most commercial ranges are uninsulated and often have a larger interior. More volume takes longer to heat.
            As far as adjusting the burner the only real issue there for most home cooks is the simmer which you won't have on a true commercial burner. That can be an issue for cooking small amounts of food. You should not feel bad if you find it a bit intimidating. M heat on a commercial burner will be hotter than M heat on a residential range as the burners are physically larger and have more BTU. You should be able to compensate for this but a true commercial range is not very desirable for most home cooks. A hood vented to the exterior that functions well OTOH is priceless.

            1. re: TraderJoe

              " You should be able to compensate for this but a true commercial range is not very desirable for most home cooks"

              I have to concur with this. Unless you have a french top to go with a commercial range, Id much rather have a "pro style" or even just a regular gas range.

              1. re: TraderJoe

                I do usually cook small amounts of food, just for 2 people. How does one cook things that require simmering, such as stock, sauce, rice, etc?

                1. re: cajarboe

                  Flame as low as you can get it without it going out, and perhaps having the pan half on/half off the burner. Gentle simmering of small pots on a commercial cooktop presents some definite challenges. It's why you see a french top in so many kitchens.

                  1. re: twyst

                    What is a French top? Is it an accessory one can purchase separately? I am learning so much from y'all.

                    1. re: cajarboe

                      "What is a French top? Is it an accessory one can purchase separately"

                      A French Top is a flat top that goes over the burners. Not technically made from slate but a man made equivalent or steel. The tops of some are very similar to the bottom of a pizza oven. A French Top gives you more cooking area as the entire surface is hot plus it gives you more control by moving pots you want to cook at a lower temp off to the side where the top is cooler. In a commercial setting it's ideal to have at least one range with a French Top so as usual Twyst is spot on.
                      It's splitting hairs to some degree but a Griddle is not really a French Top. Griddle options are common for many commercial and "commercial style" ranges. You can get a griddle for many stove brands that will cover as few as 2 burners or the entire top. This is slightly less than ideal as dedicated commercial griddles don't use circular burners but rather straight line burners. For home use you may or may not find a griddle option (if available for your range) a viable simmer solution. It will be far more $$$ than burner trivets. Here's what a Professional French Top looks like;

                      http://www.garland-group.com/products...

                      1. re: cajarboe

                        EDITED because TJ chimed in with a much better explanation than I had offered! Pic below though!

                        Here is a pic of a french top built into a home pro style range.

                         
                    2. re: cajarboe

                      "How does one cook things that require simmering, such as stock, sauce, rice, etc?"
                      Commercial ranges are not designed for that. Remember in a professional kitchen we are working with much larger volumes and physically larger cookware.
                      In your case, if in fact your burners are 24K you may be able to use a diffuser or trivet on your burner set on low to get a good simmer. The only way to know for sure is to try. Since you already have the range there's no harm in trying.

                    3. re: TraderJoe

                      Castle advertises that in their 36" Range/Oven the oven is "heavily insulated".

            2. I honestly don't see how this is a problem. The stove can do everything a regular stove can do and more. It's still just a gas stove. What is it about the hood that scares you? Neither of these two amazing pieces of equipment pose any danger as far as I can tell.

              1 Reply
              1. re: virtualguthrie

                Sorry, I meant the whole range kind of scares me, having never cooked on a commercial range before. The hood, while very loud, is good for when I burn things, as I am sure to do at first. It seems like a lot of stove for someone that doesn't quite know how to use it.

              2. Bit baffled that you are scared of commercial ventilation. We should all be so lucky, its extremely desirable but very expensive to have put in correctly.

                As for the commercial range, you should investigate a little more. Make sure to let your insurance company know and make sure that they sign off on it. If your insurance company will still insure you with a true commercial range in a residential kitchen, you should just learn to cook on it and love it unless you are really concerned about the additional heat a commercial range/oven will contribute to your home.

                1 Reply
                1. re: twyst

                  I did mean it is the range that scares me a bit. The hood will probably be what saves my kitchen and ceiling from smoke damage. :) it is a lot of stove for someone who never considered it before. Higher heat, faster cooking...stuff I read online makes me nervous.

                2. Contact your insurance carrier! True commercial ranges are not insulated or built to residential standards. If your agent tells you it's "ok" make sure it's written into your policy. A good way to do that with out a lot of grief is to "itemize" or "schedule" the stove. It will cost a bit more but you will know for a fact that you are covered. Read your policy! It's amazing how many people never read their own insurance policy.
                  The commercial hood should not be a problem if properly installed. The caveat is proper installation. The exhaust vent diameter is much larger on a commercial exhaust so how the transition was made will have an impact on the exhaust flow. Improper installations can trap grease and create a fire hazard. Depending on where you are you may be required to have an ANSUL system in your hood as well to meet fire code based on the BTU rating of your range. The potential up-side here is that Comstock is a low-end commercial range in regard to burner BTU, However at least in the US a six top range with oven would still typically exceed residential standards.
                  The other potential downsides to a commercial range in the home are the pilot lights and simmer capabilities. Remember commercial gas lines are larger than residential as well so be sure to have the conversion on the gas line inspected by a professional.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: TraderJoe

                    Thank you, this was part of my fear. Am contacting my insurance today. How do I find the btu rating?

                    1. re: cajarboe

                      Most likely 24,000btu. Call Castle and find out.

                      1. re: cajarboe

                        "How do I find the btu rating"

                        Look at the website for the company. IIR they are really low (24K BTU) for a commercial range.
                        Assuming you have six burners;
                        24k x 6= 144
                        oven should be 30k = 174,000 BTU. I'm pretty sure that exceeds all US residential standards. That's why companies like Blue Star only use 2-22K burners on their 36" range.
                        BTW if you switch to a residential range sell this one! It still has value. Call restaurant suppliers in your area as they may even come and pick it up. ;)

                        1. re: TraderJoe

                          Thank you for this. If our insurance will not cover it, we will be trying to sell it. That is a good place to start if we need to sell. Safety and making sure it is in proper working order is certainly a concern, I can't even find anyone in our small town to service it.

                          1. re: cajarboe

                            For service you would have to call a company that services commercial equipment. This is **IF you can get them to work on it due to the liability. If you can find some one for repairs they will be very expensive simply due to the commercial rate for labor and service call. If you are the handy type though most range repairs are pretty simple.

                            1. re: cajarboe

                              If your insurance company won't allow it (and you have to buy a new range to meet code), you should also demand that your seller make amends. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but the old rules of caveat emptor usually don't apply to code violations. Ask your seller for a copy of the permit to install that commercial range in the house; if s/he didn't get one, demand a check.

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                            2. re: TraderJoe

                              Restaurant suppliers will certainly be interested, but don't expect book value. They usually pay 20-25% of new price. The list price for a Comstock Castle, 36" (I think you meant 36" (inch) rather than 36' (foot) - that mother WOULD have been big) is about $3600. Depending on condition, a restaurant supply might offer something like $500-$800.

                              All good advice above.
                              Cooking with it? Not much different than a regular stove, it will just take a short while (learning curve is short) to get used to heat levels.
                              Insurance questions? Spot on.
                              The only thing that might take getting use to is the pilot. I don't know if this model has an automatic igniter or a standing pilot light (I'm guessing a pilot light). Just learn about this.

                              I can understand your apprehension about using an unfamiliar stove. However, I think your fear is based more on the unknown rather than true risk.

                              The hood.
                              For insurance purposes, a commercial stove requires a proper venting system. As you, I assume the previous owners had it properly installed, but as people point out, verify this.
                              The hood is more to vent exhaust rather than particulates (smoke). Its "required" since the commercial unit generally has more exhaust than a domestic unit. I say "generally", but for regular home use, the stove will crank out far less exhaust than a busy commercial kitchen unit.

                              Again, if your insurance company is fine with it, there isn't too much to worry about.

                        2. Our church kitchen has a big commercial stove and nobody has ever burned anything on or in it. Lots of amateur cooks use it for various projects and meals with nothing but praise. If you do decide to donate call your local soup kitchen.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Berheenia

                            "If you do decide to donate call your local soup kitchen."

                            What a great idea. Plus it may be tax deductible!

                          2. Do you have manuals to go with the appliances? If not, I'd explore web site... you can often find manuals available to print out.

                            1. Even if properly installed, it may violate building codes and may cause insurance problems if there is a fire. It has standing pilots, which you must be aware of if you use any sort of flammable cleaning fluid. Someone in my building created a huge problem by trying to remove carpet adhesive from his floor without taking into account that the water heater had a standing pilot.

                              I would sell or donate it.

                              1. Friends built their dream house with commercial kitchen equipment, As he had once been both a professional cook and General Contractor, everything was built to code with halon extinguishers in the hood. To the satisfaction of their insurance company.

                                Even with prior experience, it took him a while to become comfortable cooking with it. And the times I used it, only constant attention prevented disasters. Which is why I purchased a commercial electric range when I rebuilt my kitchen. And having checked, current price is in the $3000 range.

                                Make sure it is safe, and then please use it. I would love to have your problem.