Now that we have chatted about how to prepare for making appliance decisions, I want to start telling you about the appliances we actually picked, because THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING FUN THING EVER!
Today, we are talking about the workhorses of the kitchen. That would be the rangetop, ovens and hood.
These were the first appliance decisions we had to make, because in order of importance for us, they were key. We needed to know about these four pieces first since every other appliance in the kitchen would be affected by the choice, budgetarily. Remember how I said you have to prioritize everything you want? When it is time to do your research, start at your top priority and make those decisions first, otherwise you might fall in love with something fun at the bottom of your list and end up either devastated when it doesn’t end up fitting into the budget, or you might end up compromising quality on some key items to force it to fit. Neither of these is fun.
So, we began at the beginning. First there is fire. For cooking. We knew that we couldn’t actually install commercial units (not that I didn’t look into it), but we also knew we wanted to get as close as we could to that kind of functionality. I looked into most of the brands that everyone knows already (Wolf, Sub-Zero etc.), but got wildly different reports on how well they worked long term. And I had already had experience with a Viking and knew that it wasn’t a good fit for us. A chef friend suggested we explore BlueStar.
To be honest, I hadn’t ever heard of it, which concerned me, since I think of myself a somewhat on top of these things, but the recommendation was a strong one, so I started to explore. And talk about a light bulb moment! The company used to be Garland, who made the single best professional stoves available for restaurant use for YEARS. When they converted to making products for the home cook, they upped their design a bit, but kept every inch of the amazing functionality of their commercial products intact. When I had toyed with the idea of really installing restaurant equipment, I had been looking for a Garland, so it seemed a bit like destiny. And since they make rangetops, powerful hoods, and wall ovens, we were hopeful we might knock off all of our priority choices in one place!
Charming Suitor and I headed to a showroom that carried the brand, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how cool something looks online, or if the features sound good on the website, you have to really meet it in person. Arranged marriages are not a good idea in the appliance world! Go on a date. Several. Really get to know each other. Look for warts and closet skeletons.
At the showroom, we started with the rangetop, and we were hugely impressed by the simple style, and clearly amazing function. They are supremely well-built, with a-ha features galore. For example, even though they have a low-BTU simmer burner, all of the burner grates have a heat tamer feature built-in. If you pick up the center part of the grate, turn it a quarter turn, and put it back, it elevates your pot an additional inch or so above the flame. Meaning your regular burner can become a simmer burner, and your simmer burner can get so delicate you can melt chocolate without a double boiler and not scorch it! AWESOME. Also, these center sections of the grates all come out, so any burner immediately can become a wok burner without special extra equipment.
All the pieces come out for easy cleaning, and there is a thin tray underneath the burners that also slides out, so all those bits and pieces you drop, or the occasional (or in my case, weekly) boil-over is easily remedied. Each piece is made custom, and you have options in terms of a range of BTU burners (they offer the highest for home cooking—up to 25,000!), they have grills and griddles, French Tops (my fave!), you can configure your range the way you want it.
It was pretty much love at first sight with this thing, and when we saw their hoods were designed to work perfectly with their ranges and had serious blower power, we were really sold.
But if the rangetop and hood were like the perfect meet-cute and heavenly first date? The wall ovens were where we fell head over heels in love.
The gas oven was first, and it is superlative. Not only did they have bigger capacity than the same sizes of other brands, meaning that we could do the smaller 30” ovens instead of 36” without losing interior capacity, (so I can fit a full size commercial baking sheet in the 30” oven). But they had every feature we had on our list. French doors? Check. And not only French doors, but French doors that BOTH open when you pull either one of the handles, so that you have one-handed usability when the other has a tray of cookies in it. Full-extension shelves? You betcha, and on super smooth rollers. Plus the stuff we hadn’t considered, like the broiler (1850 degrees of infrared heat for serious browning) and true convection, not just a fan. The gas oven has a 25,000 BTU burner, plus an additional 3000 BTUs for heat assist when preheating, so it warms up quickly.
The electric one has many of the same features, with a 2500 watt baking element, and an additional 1800 watt heat assist for preheating, and a 5000 watt broiler. The electric one also has its own bonuses…like a built in baking stone with temp control, a temperature probe, 12 different modes including everything from Proofing to Convection Roasting. (It even has a Sabbath mode for my Kosher friends! Who knew???) Plus my new favorite feature? An eco-friendly continuous clean feature that automatically keeps it sparkly.
Can you hear the angels singing?
|How's that for capacity?|
|Built-in baking stone!|
CS and I were giddy in the showroom. And by giddy do I mean that we did an actual full-out happy dance when the rep left us alone to take a call? You had better believe it. I really hope, in retrospect, that there is not closed circuit camera footage of that.
We knew we had found our “anchor” appliances, and could not have been more delighted.
Until they asked about color.
Want to take a couple of cooking geeks and really send them over the rainbow? Tell them that their dream appliances can be made for them in over 256 different colors.
|Yes, we do dream in color!|
What the WHAT???
We looked at each other, twin grins exploding our faces. Oh. YEAH.
I love these things so much I actually wrote them into Recipe for Disaster!
So, yes, it is official, we are going to be a proud BlueStar home for rangetop, ventilation, and wall ovens. We are doing the 48" rangetop with four burners and a 24" French top, a 54" hood (you always want your hood to be slightly wider than your range) a 30" gas wall oven and a 30" electric. And while we are keeping the rangetop and hood both a classic stainless steel…the wall ovens are going to be in color.
And the first person to guess the color correctly in the comments section will receive both a copy of Recipe for Disaster (starring BlueStar!) and a copy of my digital cookbook Big Delicious Life!
Stay tuned, next time we talk about fridges, and there are some fun surprises there as well!
Yours in Good Taste,