30" gas cooktop
We need to replace out current electric radiant cooktop as we are down to only one working burner. I have read the many posts here and on THS/Gardenweb regarding gas vs. induction and have decided I'm going with a gas cooktop. I do have a single induction burner that I enjoy using but still am going with gas for the main cooking surface. That being said, I need recommendations for a 30" gas cooktop that ideally is in the $1000 range. Specifically:
-There are two of us on most nights with occasional parties/family
-I cook usually 5 nights a week...casual to gourmet; pasta is often in the rotation
-missionaries from the Church of Holy Induction need not comment
-minimum BTU on "power" burner?
-are 5 burners on a 30" cooktop practical?
-not looking for a range/range top/stove
-must haves/things to look out for such as sealed burners, continuous grates, etc?
Any suggestions would be most welcome! I need to get the replacement in ASAP :)
I'm not sure how much help this will be for you. But, here goes.
My kitchen renovation started two days ago. I had a crappy 30 inch gas stove. We knew we were going with GE (family works for them) and after much angst, we bought a GE Cafe 30 inch gas stove with one oven. The Cafe is more then your $1000 price range but this was for a full range, not just a cooktop. One of the reasons I decided on this stove was the continuous grates and the different BTUs for each burner. The Cafe does have a fifth grill burner in the middle. I think it has less BTUs then the other burners. It kind of seems like a waste to me since I'm not a big grill person. But, that may change when I use it. But, five burners didn't seem overly crowded because of the continuous grating and the controls were in front of the stove.
I have a temporary kitchen in the apt upstairs, where there is a 36 inch GE Profile stove. While I hate the four burner configuration (the front burners are both towards the center and the back are towards the side) because there is a lot of wasted space. I mean, it's 36 inches and it has four burners, but the way the burners are spaced, it's still difficult to fit stuff on it. Regardless, I am impressed with the burner BTUs and efficiency. One burner has a fast super boil. this thing heats up my wok, really quickly and super hot. The back burner has a simmer feature that works relatively well, although I would prefer a lower simmer. The other burners seem to be in between the super burner and the simmer burner. I suspect that the super burner is either 18K BTUs or 20K. I know my new stove has the super burner at 20K which I am very excited for now.
Anyway, C was really impressed with how fast water boils on this temporary stove. Boiling water on our old crappy stove was always my nemesis. We used to boil water in the electric tea kettle and then turn the stove on.
I don't know if you stir fry, but one thing I really wanted but didn't get was a burner grate where it flipped into a wok grate. The other "issue" is that if I lose electricity, I won't be able to light my burner with a match, on my Cafe stove. I specifically asked this question and was told no. I'm not sure if this has to do with sealed burners or not, but so far this summer, we've lost electricity twice due to the constant road construction throughout the city.
Lastly, I'm happy to be cooking on the GE Profile, despite the stupid burner configuration. But, what I'm really looking forward to is a new kitchen, with no falling ceiling and my new stove. I'm only on day 3 but I'm already sick of the dust over my small apartment.
Café will have a higher high and a lower low.
Plus I think the GE tri-ring power burner will deliver more even heat.
All gas cooktops are very simple machines with very little to go wrong.
GE and Bosch are two of the better ones and you really can't go wrong regarding reliability.
5 large pans at once? No.
At least 2 will have to be smaller pots/pans.
Thanks all for your helpful comments! It's a bit maddening as often I can't actually see the cooktop in person at the store...have to go by online recommendations. One comment I see a bit about the Cafe is that the burner grates are too high and not enough heat/flame gets to the bottom of the pan. Is this really an issue? I've cooked on radiant electric for so long that I'm not sure what all I need to be aware of in purchasing a gas cooktop. Also, I sometimes read complaints of electric igniters going bad. I would think, even if that were to happen, it would be A: a simple, not expensive fix and B: I could still light the thing with a match. Is that naive thinking?
Duffy, I appreciate the thought about brushed stainless. Put that into my shopping notes!
It may be easier to call GE with those two questions. I suspect that you may not be able to light the burner with a match. When I was buying my Cafe range, one of my specific questions was could I light the burner if we lost electricity (since the ignition is electric). The salesperson looked it up and she said that I would not be able to light it with a match. Keep in mind that this is for my new range and not a cooktop.
I am such a maroon! Thank you for the suggestion to contact GE...I checked online for the manuals and both GE and Bosch say burners can be lit with a match. They also demonstrated how easy it is to clean the pieces (I didn't know, for example, that the burner caps come off for cleaning).
I really appreciate people taking the time to answer questions and point out good options such as the continuous grates!
<One comment I see a bit about the Cafe is that the burner grates are too high and not enough heat/flame gets to the bottom of the pan. Is this really an issue?>
I've never owned a Cafe, but I lived in a rental with a Jennair Pro Style range. It's grates sat higher above the burners than a conventional gas cooker and presented no issues.
For most tasks there's no reason you can't nudge the heat a little higher to compensate. Bringing water to a boil may take a little longer. Otherwise, I can't imagine it would be a problem, especially since you're used to radiant cooking. You won't have to unlearn your previous gas cooking habits. It may even make keeping a low simmer easier.
I see no one's commented yet on continuous grates and sealed burners. Both are terrific. At your price, almost all cooktops will have them both. I think continuous grates are the more important of the two. Especially coming from a radiant cooktop, you're used to being able to slide a pan off the heat to another part of the cooktop. That's what continuous grates let you do.
I'm not familiar with Bosch cooktops, but have owned a Bosch DW. Mine was trouble-free for the four years I lived with it, and Bosch generally has a good reputation. FWIW, it ranked high in Consumer Reports ratings. I don't think you'd go wrong with it.
I'll be joining the CHI next year, but in the meantime I have one piece of advice for you.
Brushed stainless. As a cooktop surface, it cannot be beat. Nothing else is as easy to clean. I ought to know, I've had them all; porcelain, enamel, polished stainless and glass. The brushed was my favorite cooktop ever, if only for easy cleaning.
You can use a scrubby pad, an SOS (lightly), Comet and oven cleaner even. It's pretty much indestructible and doesn't scratch easily.