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New to posting, but sure need the ChowHounds! Need stove help fast!!

Dearest ChowHounds, I need you. Soon. And a right up there, an apology from the start if I didn't post correctly/in the wrong department. If I did, please give me explicit directons (suitable for the Blonde that I am) on how to correct it.
Here's the poop: We're about to begin a HUGELY long overdue and extensive remodel on my hovel. I am not being modest on this-it's a strange mix of amazing and horrible, situated on primo $1 mil plus real estate in the Silicon Valley (it's just super spendy here).Outside looks like an abandoned meth lab; inside is spacious and getting there. Outside will be rectified!! When we're done, it should be rockin'. (Well, I'm hoping.)
I have five children, one roommate, one husband (sorry Sister Husbands!) and an extended family (it's not at all unusual for me to be cooking for 20+), and I work occasionally as a private chef and caterer. As the economy here picks up, I hope to amp up my business.
Sadly, a beloved relative died, leaving us a small legacy-not enough to go kooky, but enough to invest for the future, and fix up my creepy 70s kitchen. The house is 66 (mark of the beast ROTFLOL)years old.
The space allotted for the kitchen isn't vast, and wall space is at a premium. I'm trying to fit in a 36" integrated frig and a ditto freezer.
I need a stove. I'm specifically looking at a french range and am considering Molteni, Caumartin, Rorgue, and Officine Gullo. I would like performance to meet beauty. Ovens seem to be the sticking point in some that I've checked out. I need something larger, as I do big sheets of things, dehydrate fruit from our garden, make yoghurt etc. (obviously, i'm gonna need a second oven, right?)
I'm open to adding a wall oven, and in a dream scenario would like a two burner induction hob. The ability to clean under the burners is KEY-my old (and I know it's changed) Wolf is a nightmare, though the stove is solid; ditto Blue Star, Culinaire, and a host of others.
I've been able to touch/feel the Molteni and the Gullo(both amazing, but very different), and was hoping that someone, somewhere could give me feedback on any/all of the above(or something else I haven't considered).
One of the biggest problems I'm having is that many of the gorgeous and functional french ranges aren't UL listed. In and of itself, that's not a big deal, but it DOES affect my ability to get finals on my remodel, not to mention insurance issues. So my questions are as follows:
As avid cooks, what do you personally value in a kitchen (I'm pretty clear what I need/use/want, but perspective is awesome).
Any feedback on stoves you've actually cooked on that are wonderful would be bombe.
Things to watch out for? I've been researching and test-driving stoves for months, but I'm sure I've missed something.
Esthetics.I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but it needs to be stunning and well-made.the Molteni is, well, a bit clunky to my eye.
Stove depth: I can/pickle and so forth, and my pots for this are large. I need a greater front to back depth that a standard range, but commercial only stoves are ugly and don't always meet code for residential.
Guarantees/reliability/servicing is huge for my husband. So far so good on the brands i've mentioned, but would love input.
French top, aka coup de feu/french plaque. Would like it to NOT be token. Molteni, Rorgue and Caumartin seem to ave the real deal.
Please dearest Chowhounders-opine! You can even come over and cook on the stove I pick!

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  1. this is not really an answer but...
    pick the one you can get fixed. i have found out (the hard way) that your repair service is way, WAY more important than beauty.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rmarisco

      Dear Marisco, you are very wise!This was one of the very first questions I asked.There is a repair person available for three of the four (haven't heard back from Caumartin) ranges I'm considering. Officine Gullo even said they'd fly someone out within 48 hours if there ever was a problem! That range and all their products have a lifetime guarantee. The others do too I think, but I'm in the process of triple confirming that as I type.

      1. re: HadesHnds

        Are repair parts readily available, or will they have to be flown in too?

        1. re: texanfrench

          Some are really close by! The Molten I rep lives about 45 min. from me and is super stocked up on parts.It's my understanding that it's the ignites that wear out on all these stoves, and if they're anything like my ol' workhorse Wolf(they're made differently these days, for better or worse), that's the part that wears out.Each has an authorized repair person near me.

          1. re: HadesHnds

            Sounds good. The best advice I can give you is to go with whatever dealer has the best reputation in your area. We have been through a number of remodeling adventures, and we have gotten to the point where we choose the dealer first, and then the item. Function is a lot more important than style of handles in my humble opinion.

    2. I agree with Marisco. If you get something that can be repaired locally by a shop with a good reputation, you will be ahead of the game.

      1. While the comments here are on target for all kinds of equipment, if you're looking for information on performance, I suggest,no offense to chowhounds, you try the home forums on Garden Web. Appliances, kitchens, those forums may unearth users of the stoves you mention. I've done two kitchens and I realize my requirements were mundane next to yours. Good luck.

        3 Replies
        1. re: timbrel2

          Dear timbrel2 et. al, good advice, but although I've been on that wonderful site for over a year, and have learned a TON about a myriad of things, it seems like a) nobody has anything I'm seeking b) has cooked on it or c)posted about it afterwards.
          From some comments, it seems like one or two people actually bought the item, but after that, and across the brands, they were mysteriously silent. I don't think it was because the product was bad, but rather that on that site, people come to get advice, do their remodel/whatever, and then quit.
          Chowhounders are different, and that's why I just started to try for answers here. You guys are super serious dedicated long terms foodies!
          As for my kitchen requirements, I am fully aware that I am completely blessed to be able to pursue them, after years of a camp stove (almost!) existance. I can thank a dear and sorely missed relative who really enjoyed food and good company, and I hope to pay that love forward (as I have done on the camp stove LOL) to friends and family who despite the primitive equipment have traipsed into my kitchen hoping for whatever came out.
          Each brand has its pluses and minuses-I got to cook (and burn!:(() on a Molteni today-awesome stove, not so awesome cook-me--a learning curve toward better equipment). They all have guarantees of varying lengths, service (get this-Molteni send a CHEF( hopefully handsome <G>) out for a day to help you! Officine Gullo has a LIFETIME guarantee! Still waiting on Rorgue) I need foodie opinions. You can evenm come over and cook on my stuff!

          1. re: HadesHnds

            See your point about what you get from Garden Web. Boy I wish I lived near you! My last ovens are a Miele and a Miele speed oven. They are as complicated as my aged brain can handle yet I think back to my second home days with gardens, canning etc, and thoroughly enjoy your comments. Do let us know how it goes.

            1. re: timbrel2

              Dear timbrel2, I'm thinking about getting a Miele Master Chef 30" as my second oven, and would love the steam combi too. I'm pretty much shooting my spending wad (and then some!) on the main oven/range, but the DH is ok with one extra(not two) oven. I got to see one and its' cousins in action at a Miele store cooking demo the other day-impressive (yummy free food too!). Went back to get clarification on what the heck I saw, plus how to work all the buttons. Not nearly as as bad as I thought.
              I am most sincerely not trying to make it seem like I'm a millionaire(I'm not, and they don't post; most don't cook. I know. I cook for them and waitstaff for them.One seriously didn't even know how to work her vacumn.Oh the burden... If you are the exception, mea culpa.)
              I am truly trying to learn and share. There has to be somebody/ies out there who might have even seen one!
              Having said all of that, I got to actually cook on Molteni with a big coup de feu the other day! Very powerful, very compact-you can fit a ton into a small space with this true not wannabe french top. Burned the living bejesuz out of my brownies, but it was a new experience to me, and the owner isn't a baker.I'm really sure it wasn't the stove's fault-more like user error. Incredible and solid construction.
              I must say that the Google searches are misleading. Under no circumstnces is this a cheap stove, but for several of the models they offer, they are in line with the non-custom La Cornues and the high end Wolf and other stoves.They aren't all
              $100,000 dollars.
              Officine Gullo ditto-not cheap, and taxes and tarriffs add to the price, but about the price of a car. Funny how no one blinks about that but freaks out on a stove that will last a lifetime and retains its resale value. I suspect that if it was a man wanting it, the story might be different, but I have sons, so no man bashing! Shame on me!Thank you all for chiming in-stay tuned!

        2. Why aren't you considering Lacanche? How much space (width) have you allotted for the range?
          I'm a big fan of Lacanche. Stunning looking, available in many colors, well built and can be had with 2 ovens. Many professional French chefs use one. There is a dealership network in the USA and service is available about anywhere.
          The best built US range is a DCS, but I'd go with Lacanche.

          http://www.french-barn.com/Lacanche_r...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Enigma3

            Dear Enigma, Lacanche was the range I first started looking at. Victoria and Gregg have been very very helpful and easy to work with. I looked at the actual range twice and it has many features to recommend it. Their owners love them. But the back to front depth is too small to accommodate the pots I use for sauces and canning, the french top isn't as robust and large as I'd like it to be, and the ovens are too small for what I'm cooking.
            The Molteni, Rorgue and Officine Gullo are significantly more sturdy, and yes, they cost more, though there is an overlap in price points.
            Gregg and Victoria are helping me out with the Caumartin (not to be confused with a similarly named Lacanche range)-it's a brand they used to carry here. There may be some issues with UL listings-I need that to meet my final codes.

            1. re: Enigma3

              Just Googled bonnet an hour ago-couldn't find anything. Any suggestions, and will it meet code/be UL listed? Great idea-thought Bonnet was making some sort of Molteni-like product...

              1. re: HadesHnds

                Bonnet is owned by Hobart. Little heard of but highly respected. Built like a tank.

                 
                1. re: HadesHnds

                  I was unaware of Gullo until reading your post. Now THAT is a most impressive range! My oh my. That would be my first choice with Bonnet running a close second.

                  1. re: Enigma3

                    Dear Enigma, there are some significant differences in the construction of the two-both are gorgeous, but very different. Gullo is a well-constructed high end unit geared a little more for home use with a commercial underbelly, while the Bonnet is a commercial stove with a toned down (Maestro) line for home use, if that makes any sense. The Bonnet has every edge finished to reduce the possibility of bacterial contamination, and has a water bath feature under the burners and plancha to make cleanup a breeze. the Rorgue also has this, and the rep was making noises like Bonnet (or someone) stole that idea from them. The Bonnet actually comes in at a higher price than the Molteni, and maybe about the same as the Gullo. Getting quotes that compare apples to apples (size, features) is a bit challenging, as each has their own configurations. If I can figure out how to upload some pictures they sent me, i'll try to post. Hang on-maybe I can figure it out...

                     
                      1. re: DuffyH

                        Dear Duffy, don't get to envious. The quote for the Bonnet St.Tropez in green was...$58k.Well worth it for a restaurant;not so much for my kitchen at 60 inches with no other frills.Gorgeous build quality and response though.

                        1. re: HadesHnds

                          $58K? Wow! That's what we spent in '05 for an entire kitchen gut & remodel. It just lost some of it's appeal.

              2. Get stainless steel counter tops with marine edge. All else is easily replaceable later.

                1 Reply
                1. re: law_doc89

                  You are super right about the marine edge.My neighbor just redid her kitchen, and this was the first thing she told me.Second thing was to remember to put a garbage disposal in the prep sink- seems the DH and kids stick stuff down there that they should'nt.Well said!

                2. heh as this will probably get cut, drive up into SF and knock on the spooky door at 635 Haight and ask if you can buy their old Wedgewood. Jim the landlord would never notice much or care. that loveable beast of an oven/range could handle anything you threw its way. god I miss it.

                  and maintenance was like the difference between a Model-T and a BMW - all we needed was needle-nose pliers.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hill food

                    Those old stoves rock and are getting really collectable.I found a bunch of web sites that restore them.

                    1. re: HadesHnds

                      they are frickin' workhorses and cleaned up are just as gorgeous as anything new.

                      there's a thread here about those breeds, gimme a second

                      here we go il Divo started it
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7379...

                      1. re: hill food

                        Hill, REALLY enjoyed the link.Reading about all the joy those old stoves brought to their owners, and all the memories they invoked was great! There are a few websites that specialize in selling and repairing these beauties - always interesting to browse through them.

                  2. What did you decide upon? Bonnet? Gullo? We are building right now, and are fortunate enough to be looking at the Molteni, and the Bonnet, but looking for input.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hopeittastesgood

                      Dear hopeittastesgood (love your Chowhound handle, btw:) ) We still haven't ordered a stove, but we're down to two-the Gullo and a made to measure Rorgue (this is the stove Gordon Ramsey has). I LOVED the Bonnet, but I couldn't get it in the configuration I wanted (two burners and a coup) for a price I was willing to pay-it would have to have been totally custom, and the rep heavily advised against a coup of that size in a home. Not sure why-the Molteni guy had one and it seemed fine.I actually want four burners and a coup, but on most of the stoves, that moved me into the stratosphere price-wise, plus I'm now under size constraints. 50-ish inches is about all I can fit in my kitchen.
                      I loved the Molteni, but it's 5K more than the Rorgue.I used the two preconfigured models (the 120 and the 145) as my sort of base design when trying to get prices so that I was comparing apples to apples.
                      Another problem that I may have is getting the Rorgue (or the Bonnet, for that matter) past code. Molteni and Gullo are UL listed, and have kept their awesome power still within a range that's acceptable for home installation. The UL thing isn't a big deal in the city I live in-they're ok with european certifications-but it might be for someone in another town.The BTUs are what's causing me some concern on the Rorgue. The coup is extremely powerful, like the Bonnet's.
                      I can get the Gullo in the configuration I want, but then that moves me waaaay up in price. I may have to live with one of their preconfigured stoves. I'm hoping that from back to front on the burners that I can fit two large pots. Right now on my old open burner Wolf I have to place them diagonally from each other, and my stove was a bit bigger than the current ones depth-wise.
                      I was extremely fortunate that Fate intervened in terms of serendipitous travel. I was able to see both the Gullo and the Rorgue in person. We had taken a trip to Paris (my first time-we saved for years to go there)and I was able to visit the factory in St. Denis where the stoves are made.It was very small-more like a little warehouse. Each stove is truly custom built from the ground up. We actually climbed on the oven door to get up to see another stove already crated.Like the Molteni and the Bonnet, these things are built like tanks!! The Gullo is also very well built, though I'm not sure if I'd want to climb on the oven door.
                      I will say that you should definitely try to negotiate the price once you decide on what you want.There is more wiggle room there than you think.
                      I would love to hear more about your stove shopping adventures. Mine has taken me halfway around the world.Love how the Bonnet and Rorgue are incredibly easy to clean and have that water bath under the burners to catch spills.