Darn all the new stoves.

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by oldtimeytim, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    Okay, here's the deal. I have a crappy old GE gas range that's shot and I have, at the most, about $2500 to spend on a new one. I cooked on restaurant stoves long enough to know that I sure don't want one in my house. The "professional" stoves made for homes are mighty pretty but I haven't read a good review of one yet. The more moderate priced stoves that get good reviews have all kinds of digital crap which I don't want. I found out when I used one of these new ones that they have a built in cooling fan that goes on and stays on-forever, it seems-until the circuits cool down. The fan drove me nuts.

    So...is there ANYTHING out there without those damn digital touchpads that's a decent stove and doesn't cost a fortune to buy or repair? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    I was in the same boat (or similar boat) a couple of years ago. After thoroughly researching, I ended up buying a 30" American Range Classic. Couldn't be happier. Slightly above your budget, but not too much. 

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  3. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    Hey French,

    Thanks for the reply. I've seen a bit of talk about the American ranges. They sure look good. Does yours look like it would be easy to service? One of my problems is that I live in the North Carolina mountains and if something goes wrong I have to do extra duty to get it repaired. Or do it myself.

    But I appreciate the info. I'll definitely check it out.
     
     
  4. iceman

    iceman

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    OK. Here you go. < $500. Does everything as good as any other stove I've ever used. It's plain, boring, has no bells/whistles. 

    [​IMG]

    Kenmore 30'' Freestanding Gas Range

     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  5. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    Yep. That looks pretty much exactly like the old GE range that I have now. The only money I ever had to put into it was to replace the igniters every couple of years which I learned to do myself. Mostly I have to replace it now because I've killed off the whole bottom of the oven doing high temperature steam bread baking. But you're right IceMan, it does the job.

    Thanks
     
     
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    Hmmm.. hard to tell.. how do I  tell? I've never had to service it so I honestly don't know. I am lucky to live in the city where they are manufactured so I guess that may make it easier to service...
     
  7. colin

    colin

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    I have no experience with them, but American Range has come in for criticism on quality grounds at http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/.  That forum might also be a useful place to post your question.  
     
  8. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    I had never heard of American Range until a specific issue while building our catering kitchen led me to them for convection ovens.  While I can only speak about my experience with this particular item in a commercial kitchen, I look forward to one day soon having a house and equipping it with American Range items - I drooled over them when researching the brand.

    I have not had any quality issues with my stacked, bakery-depth convection ovens.  We did have installation issues as the plumber didn't set the regulators - but then, they screwed us on a bunch of basic plumbing issues, too.  These ovens are my workhorses.  From the get-go I realized how solidly they were built, functional design, comes apart easily enough for major cleaning.  Commercially speaking, these have been under the radar forever, but I'm now a huge fan.  With some of the big names out there, all you're paying that extra money for is the nameplate.

    There will always be issues when enough of something is produced and enough different people have experiences.  Just look at all the reviews on Amazon - they run the gamut from 1 star to 5 for the same item.

    I love my American Range (convection oven) and would recommend it as a quality brand.
     
    centaurita likes this.
  9. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    Hey ChefDave,

    Yeah, I realize that now that it's possible to read every opinion in the world about something there are going to be plenty of negative as well as positive experiences about any piece of equipment. My concern is not with the American Range company's commercial line but with the residential stuff. That's where a lot of these companies get into trouble. Certainly I never had any trouble with any of the Garlands I used in the last place I worked. As a matter of fact, if Garland still did a residential line I'd check into those, for sure. But surely, a company like American should be able to build something that beats the crap out of something like a GE. And yet, when you check out sites like Consumer Reports the GE ranges come out on top and the American is almost at the bottom. Mostly I'd just like to try a few of these stoves out but, damn, if I can figure out a way to do it.
     
     
  10. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    I hear your dilemma.  Even if we discount CR as being "not very independent", and to a certain extent, a popularity contest, you'd still be left with "I don't know a single person who has an American Range residential piece of equipment!".  Also, I think the ratings may also have to do with low expectations for GE (easily achieved, or close to it) and friggin' high expectations for AR (achievable provided they're realistic and the person using it understands how to get the most out of it.)

    That was actually exactly my concern when trying to research these convection ovens.  I spoke to the company and they put me in touch with 3 people who had this oven in their operations.  Once I spoke to the 1st guy, I didn't have to go any further.  While I got the names from the company themselves, I took it for granted that once speaking on the phone to them, I'd get honesty.  I asked the pointed questions and was more than satisfied with the information I got.

    Maybe you can do something similar through an AR distributor?  

    I know you're the one buying this, but my feelings are that American Range does what they do well - commercial or residential.  They seem like solid, well-made pieces of equipment, without all the bells-and-whistles people think they love.  Look at how simplistic their designs are, while still incorporating new baking technologies!  So they're no circuit boards to get fried, etc.

    Good luck!  And I'm interested to know how it all works out.

    *1 disclaimer*  I have never seen, much less used any American Range residential equipment.  But their commercial line blew me away to such a degree that I now have such faith in the quality of all their equipment.**
     
  11. iceman

    iceman

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    OK. I gotta ask ... How does one range "beat the crap" out of any other range? TIA for educating me on this concept. 
     
  12. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    Faster heating, more even baking, less heat escaping.  Better sealed burners, more powerful BTUs, legitimate simmer setting.  Easier to clean, easier to hide spills.  Heavier duty/longer lasting.  

    That'd be my definition, anyways.
     
  13. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    ChefDave,

    Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts. Very helpful. I think when it comes down to the reviews of residential stoves, people think, "the more, the better," when actually it's the other way around. I watched a friend of mine with a new Electrolux try for 15 minutes to turn the oven on. He finally had to go to the manual. I don't think you should need a manual to turn on an oven. I want a knob with some temp marks on it. I don't think a lot of people realize just how basic restaurant equipment is. Most people seem to want their home kitchens to look like restaurant kitchens these days. Why?...I have no idea.

    In any case, I know I'm in the minority when it comes to a lot of this stuff. But I'm gonna keep plugging. I'll definitely check out the American line. I really liked the looks of them on their site. Maybe a bit expensive for me. But I'll come up with the cash if it turns out one of these is the best for me.

    Meanwhile...anyone out there near Asheville, NC with an American? I'll cook you dinner if I can try it out.
     
     
  14. iceman

    iceman

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    OK. Thanks for that. 

    What I know, is that in My house, my < $500 Kenmore cooks things just fine. It does all that stuff you said just fine too. To tell you the truth, I don't really think that for the +/- $3000 difference, standing side by side in any home kitchen, you or anyone else could tell any real difference in regards to actually cooking something. Could I be wrong? ... Oh yeah, sure I could. But I don't think so. Not for +/- $3000 anyway.   It amazes me that among so many people claiming to be professionals in the culinary industry, anything inexpensive is garbage and the only good products are those over-the-top expensive. Yeah, I could be wrong there too. I'm also the guy that thinks "Chef" is only a vocabulary word. WTFDIK? LOL.  
     
  15. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    I'm certainly not of a spoiled mindset where it's only good if it's expensive - At ALL!  I worked for a caterer in the basement of a synagogue, preparing food for 300 at times using 2 "NYC apartment-style" Magic Chef Ranges/ovens.  I couldn't fit a full-size sheetpan in there and often used the "shelf" right above the gas burner to sear and caramelize.   Yeah, I cooked some pretty damn good food - but the equipment I have now....Buh-LOWS that away.  Easier, more efficient, and often enable the quality to be better - aside from the fact that those dinky ranges/ovens did limit menu, to an extent.  Oh, and bringing a pot of water to boil - starting with cold water as the hot water tank was a mini - man, I had to start that first thing in the morning if I wanted it boiling by noon!

    I should have just stated that any residential range that can handle full sheetpans is a crap-kicker in my book!

    Overall capacity is another crap-kicker.  especially when you have 6 racks in usable positions at the same time!

    ...A boy can dream.....

    And yes, IceMan, the extra cost does need to be justifiable.  A $600 Kenmore isn't even in consideration.  But if you're going from a $1600 GE to a $3K American Range or other, it's not as big of a jump, and provided the finances are there, it's a fun decision to have to make!
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  16. iceman

    iceman

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    LOL. Try comparing apples to apples maybe. 

    +/- $3,500[​IMG]vs. < $500[​IMG]

    That just aint'e the same as whatever you used in the basement of your synagogue. Now I'm happy for you that you were able to do what you did. I think that's a good thing. And I'm also happy for you that you are now in a position to afford and buy those things that you like. Go for it. It's all good. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin', that item for item, all other things being equal, I don't think you, me or anyone else is gonna cook anything better on your stove or mine. That's just my opinion though. YMMV
     
  17. oldtimeytim

    oldtimeytim

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    IceMan & ChefDave,

    I pretty much agree with both of you. Hell, I've been cooking good meals on my old GE for 12 years. I did a damn wedding party for 40 with the thing. We all know that once you get your cooking chops down you use whatever is in front of you and do a good job with it. I just would like something at this point in my life that does a really great job and makes me happy while I'm doing it.

    BTW, an old friend of mine is a kitchen designer in NYC. (No, I haven't gotten in touch with him. I'm kind of afraid to.) He told me once that he was designing kitchens for multi-million buck apartments in the city. The latest thing is to have TWO kitchens. One on an upper floor that's a utilitarian kitchen. That is, straight professional stuff. That's for the caterers. No one ever sees that kitchen. Then there's the main floor kitchen. That's where the Le Cornue goes. The caterers bring the food down from the upper kitchen and keep it warm with the Cornue. Now THAT'S b.s.!
     
  18. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    First off, that Kenmore is very basic (not a bad thing), but not so dissimilar from the Magic Chef (ha, the irony in that as I had to pull some magic!).

    Not always about "better tasting food".

    Cooking 6 things at once, getting everything baked in one batch instead of 3....

    Efficiency is time; time is money; yada yada...do the math.

    Absence of frustration is... Happiness?  Can't put a value on that.

    For the record, in outfitting our kitchen, we decided that we would buy quality equipment (Once) professionally, but I have literally nothing personally.

    Price not being an issue, don't tell me you wouldn't rather have an American Range in your kitchen instead of the Kenmore!
     
  19. iceman

    iceman

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    LOL. A 30" range, any way you want to dress it, up is still only 30". You can only cook so many things on so much space. Efficiency in comparison is right there equal to comparing chrome w/ white. The flames come out, things get hot. In the six(6) or so years I've had my the only frustration is not having an over-head salamander. The American doesn't have that either, so I guess there's no frustration.    LOL. All things said ... I'd rather have +/- $3000 in my pocket. And on-top-of-that ... if I was buying a new range w/ no price conditions ... I'd get a BlueStar, and still have more $$$ in my pocket than you would w/ the American. LOL. YMMSV.
     
  20. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    Pretty tough to have an over-the-head salamander as part of a residential oven...BUT American Range does feature an infrared broiler.  Sure sounds like a salamander to me /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif.  As far as your thoughts on efficiency go, more btu = more faster.  Better seals = better heat retention.  Better made = quicker heating and quicker reheating after opening.  There are quantifiable benchmarks for efficiency.  Comparing that to color is just... dismissive.

    A car will get you from point A to point B....I'll be efficient and not bother to finish that obvious thoug...