Gourmet Trends: Restaurant Ranges For The Home

Professional grade appliances are the hottest trend for home kitchens. Learn about the newest features and determine whether or not a restaurant range is for you.

Manufacturers of professional grade kitchen appliances find more and more residential consumers who are interested in their products. Home chefs are demanding more precise appliances with features found usually only in restaurants.

Professional features in appliances may be most appreciated in a range because of the precision of heat control while cooking. A review of new developments in gourmet ranges may help you decide if the splurge is worth it for you.

Size: Gourmet ranges come in three standard sizes: 48-inch, 36-inch, and 30-inch. If you're redesigning your kitchen, keep these sizes in mind. Although the bigger sizes take up more room in your kitchen, the 48-inch and 36-inch ranges accommodate full-size commercial pans. Some manufacturers are now producing an extra-large 60" range.

Large convection ovens: The dual air flow on new gourmet ranges allows for very even heat. Some of these convection ovens have some handy features. You can defrost frozen foods in them by using the fan without the heat. Also, you can dehydrate foods because they can maintain very low heat.

High temperatures: Some new ranges feature a dual-flow burner, which offers a searing 17,500 btu's for quick sautéing.

Low temperatures: Some ranges offer front burners that burn as low as 400 btu's for delicate simmering. Look for cooktops with extra-low temperatures, which allow the burner to cycle on and off""especially good for sauces and chocolate.

Warming drawer: It's tough to get an entire meal ready at the same time. That's where the warming drawer comes in. If you finish the pasta before the vegetables, you can keep the pasta warm until you're ready for it. Or you can use it to reheat leftovers.

Extra-high back guard: An extra-high back guard protects the wall behind your range, especially when you're using the super-hot temperatures offered by these new gourmet ranges.

Broiling: New gourmet ranges have some amazing broiling capabilities. Using infrared heat, some of these broilers reach 1500 degrees with 18,000 btu's.

Automatic Electronic Ignition: If your burner gets extinguished during cooking, due to spills or some other reason, the igniter will automatically reset the flame. This is an important safety feature.

Cleaning features: They're a breeze to cook with, but how do they clean up? Look for these options when shopping for a new range: porcelainized components (their non-porous surface makes spills easy to clean up, and your range will stay looking newer longer), dishwasher-safe removable porcelain burner bowls (the high temperatures reached by your dishwasher can really get those bowls clean and it's less work for you), porcelain oven interior, removable stainless steel drip pan on rollers in the oven (dripped food won't get baked on to the bottom of your oven). A one-piece seamless top doesn't allow spills to get down inside the cooktop.

Along with the practical features of these new ranges, they have some fun designer touches. We're accustomed to appliances coming in just a few basic colors, usually white, black, almond, and stainless steel. One manufacturer of commercial-grade ranges, VGRC, offers gourmet ranges in the following colors: Stainless Steel, Black, White, Almond, Biscuit, Stone Gray, Graphite Gray, Burgundy, Lemonade, Mint Julep, Forest Green, Viking Blue, Cobalt Blue, and Eggplant. Some manufacturers also offer the integrated look, where the façade of the appliance looks just like the rest of your cabinets.

Professional-grade ranges can be pricey""some have price tags up to $20,000 or more""so if you're in the market, do your research and be as choosey as you can. Determine which features are most important to you and look at the company's record carefully.

And cook up a storm!

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