One of the hottest trends in home decor is the “gourmet kitchen.” At its heart is a big, commercial stove. Just a few years ago, these stoves were hard to work into the home kitchen. They were built for use in restaurants and commercial kitchens and weren’t designed for neat, zero-clearance installation in the typical residential kitchen cabinet. Now that’s changed. Several commercial range makers have modified their products into smaller sizes, with built-in heat shielding that suits them for the home.
These commercial units have many things in common. All have large, high-capacity gas surface burners. Most are made of no-nonsense stainless steel. They’re designed for fast, efficient cooking and easy cleanups, with features like built-in drip pans and controls on the face of the appliance, not up on top where they will get spattered with grease and spills.
Most makers offer two basic alternatives. One is a full range with one or more ovens. The other is a slide-in cooktop. If you go with a cooktop, you’ll need to buy a separate oven. Most ovens, whether separate or part of the range, tend to be electric. Commercial cooking also tends to be expensive. A 48-inch range will probably cost more than $8,000, but that’s only half the story. Commercial appliances also require commercial exhaust hoods, and this can add another thousand or two.
If you do decide to go commercial in your kitchen, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make, so it pays to look at literature from as many makers as possible. Things to consider. The first consideration is size. A few units are available as small as 30 inches wide, but most are 36 inches or more. For the home, 36 inches is probably as large as you want to go. A 48-inch range is huge!
Range or cooktop? A range makes a simple, one-shot installation, but there are some advantages to choosing a cooktop and separate oven. This approach costs about the same as a range, sometimes even less, and it lets you put the oven at eye level. Separate ovens also tend to offer more options and features, including such things as combined broil/bake/convection bake/microwave cooking.
Do you want a self-cleaning oven? Not all makers offer this. Grills and griddles. You can get both ranges and cooktops with either a built-in barbecue grill or a built-in griddle or both. If you get both, you’ll be forced to go 48 inches wide. A better solution might be to choose a built-in grill, and buy an accessory griddle that just sits atop two surface burners when you need it. This gives you both features in a 36-inch unit. Super-hot burners. Most commercial units have surface burners rated at about 15,000 Btu (British thermal units), as opposed to the 10,000-Btu burners typical of residential ranges.