October is here, which means that summer is really, really over and it’s time to revisit two kitchen appliances that may have gotten scant use in the past few months: your range and cooktops. And, if the allure of baking delicate browned brioche and simmer soups to slow-cooked perfection has made you yearn for an upgrade in cooking appliances, you may be wondering, “what luxury brand do I buy?”
Is there really a difference between super premium brands like La Cornue and lesser luxury brands such as Dacor and Thermador?
A lot of people find a brand they like and stick with it. I chose Thermador because my mom uses the brand and because I like the local Thermador repairman. A friend of mine who’s a chef went gaga over a La Cornue range we had while living in a rental house, but the oven nearly drove me crazy because I had no idea how to use it.
I tried switching away from Thermador, but found the new brand had some serious quality issues. So I may stay loyal to Thermador for life (or as long as the repairman stays in the area.)
But, in the interest of those of you who are in the market for a luxury kitchen range and want to know what your $4,000 to $50,000 will buy, I did some comparison shopping and asked salespeople a lot of questions.
Here’s what I found out – and some information to consider – to help you choose the best luxury appliance for your baking and cooking needs.
Do you love the responsive heating power of a gas range but prefer the sleekness of an electric cooktop? And do you sometimes hate that so much of your cooking area is wasted? Tired of straddling your turkey roasting pan over two burners while your butter melting pot sits on a burner four times as large as it needs?
Then you might like Thermador’s 36-Inch Freedom® Induction Cooktop. Introduced in April, the trimless appliance promises “heat without boundaries” and features a solid gray surface that integrates into the countertop.
Some features of the Themador Induction Cooktop that will appeal to fierce and fearless cooks include:
- Heats 50% faster than traditional gas cooktop
- PowerBoost™ that Thermador says will boil water faster than any technology in its class
- 48 individual 3-inch induction heating elements, giving you 63% more effective cooking area
- Touchscreen display that recognizes pot shape and size
- Surface area that accommodates pans as small as 3 inches round and as large as 21 inches x 13 inches
- Anti-Overflow System shuts off the relevant heating element and sounds an alarm when liquids are detected on the cooktop surface
- Heating sensors detect the size of the pan and only activates those that are in contact with the pan
- Modestly priced in the luxury class, the Thermador Induction Cooktop retails for $5,499
If you only use your oven to bake the occasional batch of cookies and reheat pizza that didn’t get delivered on time, than the features of a luxury brand oven may not appeal to you. But, if you take your oven seriously, here are some things you may like about the $3,999 Thermador Professional® Series Built-In Steam and Convection Oven:
- Combines the benefits of steam cooking with the advantages of convection baking
- Allows you to steam, proof, defrost, bake, slow-cook and reheat
- Stainless steel exterior
- Three differentiated steam oven design variants
- 10 advanced cooking modes
- 40 automatic programs that set the oven and temperature and humidity for you
- Meat probe
- Cookbook with more than 80 recipes
- 43 ounce water reservoir
- Built-in oven does not require 30” trim kit
La Cornue Ranges
Do you want a luxury range that fits with the vintage look of your kitchen, yet appeals to your modern, perfectionist views about cooking?
La Cornue, an artisanal producer of French ranges, has reintroduced its 1908 gas range at a width of 36 inches to accommodate standard U.S. kitchens.
- Vaulted, natural convection oven creates heat less drying than a fan convection oven
- Custom select colors and trim materials
- 5 high-performance gas burners one, including a central 17,500 BTU central burner
- Electric broiler holds steady temperature – does not power on and off
- At $14,500, the 1908 La Cornue is an introductory appliance for those unready to commit to the company’s more famous – and expensive — Chateau line. At the top of the line is the Grand Palais 180, which sells for $48,700 and up.
The Grand Palais is nearly 6 feet wide and features:
- Side-by-side vaulted electric and gas ovens
- More than 20 color choices, including pistachio, lavender and pebbled stainless steel
- Choice of 6 cooktop configurations
- Oversized brass burner set inside an enameled drip tray and enamel-coated cast-iron gate for high-heat cooking and oversized sauce pans
- Cast-iron electric burners set in stainless steel provide for controlled heat for delicately cooking omelets and reductions and to use beneath a griddle
- Lava-rock Grill that features a linear gas burner set beneath a bed of natural lava rocks
- French cast iron plaque designed to simmer and hold food such as chocolates, butter and bernaise sauces
Wolf Gas Ranges
Do you love the sleek, cool, clean lines of a professional kitchen? Do you want to cook with an all-gas range?
Wolf, best known for its Sub-Zero refrigerators, also produces a line of gas ranges. The smallest is 30 inches in width and the largest 60 inches.
Some features of the 60-inch model, which sells for about $13,000, include:
- Six dual burners
- Ability to add a combination of a French top, infrared griddle, double griddle and infrared broiler
- Double-tiered burners to control heat settings
- Two full-size moist heating gas convection ovens
- Infinite control knobs in a choice of red, black and stainless steel
- Sealed burners that prevent spills from running behind the burners
- 100% gas heating on both stove top and in oven
Miele Cooktops and Ranges
Perhaps you fell in love with this German manufacturer’s dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Did you know the company brings its commitment to polished design and superior engineering to kitchen appliances as well? If you like luxury at bargain prices, you might consider a Miele cooktop, with prices that start at about $1,000, and their double wall ovens, which sell for about $6,000 to $8,000.
Highlights of Miele cooktops include:
- Choice of electric and gas models
- Electric induction model includes 4 heating zones, automatic cookware recognition and residual heat sensors and comes in a sleek black finish
- Gas cooktop comes in widths of 24 inches and 40 inches, and both styles include a continuous grate, stainless steel finish and a variety of normal, high heat and simmer burners
Baking with a Miele oven includes these benefits:
- All-electric heat
- Residual heat cooking to save energy
- European convection cooking
- Infrared broiling
- Stainless steel finish
Dacor cooktops and ranges
Did you know that Dacor, a California, family-owned company, introduced U.S. consumers to pure convection, self-cleaning, built-in wall ovens in 1987? Dacor was also the first company to produce a cooktop with continuous grates and a professional range with sealed burners. If you like luxury kitchen appliances that are innovative and American-made, you will find much to like about Dacor. If you’re a technology geek, you’ll love it even more.
The Dacor Discovery range, which comes in widths of 36 inches and 48 inches, sells for $3,700 and up and includes these features.
- Dacor logo lights up as a safety feature to signal that the burners are on.
- 100% gas heating
- Stainless steel finish
- Angled controls viewed easily without bending over
- 1-2 low-heat burners for simmering and melting
- Continuous, porcelain-coated platform grates
- Permaflame technology automatically reignites a flame if it goes out
- Smartflame technology reduces flame contact with grate to prevent grate discoloration
- Options include griddle, wok ring and searing grills
- Sealed burners for easy clean-up
Dacor makes a variety of wall ovens. Its 30 inch double wall oven costs about $7,400 and offers:
- Dacor iQ Cooking App. The integrated Android interface promises to let novice chefs perform at expert levels “with a simple swipe of the finger”
- 7-inch LCD multi-touch screen that lets cooks pre-program cooking times for a variety of popular dishes
- Bluetooth technology that connects the oven wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device
- WiFi connectivity to update the cooking app and access the Internet.
- GreenClean™ steam cleaning technology. Cleans light build-up in 30 minutes without high heat or harsh chemicals. Packing materials are 100% recycled.
- Quick start feature that manually adjusts the temperature and cook time of each oven
- 10 cooking modes in each oven, including Pure Convection, Convection Bake and Proof mode
- My mode function that lets cooks program their own custom cooking presets
- Dehydrate mode to dehydrate raw whole fresh foods without artificial preservatives
- Convection system in each oven cell with a fan, convection heating element, air baffle and filter
- Oven switches from cook mode to automatic hold mode when food reaches desired internal temperature
Do you drive a Tesla, carry cloth tote bags to the supermarket, use recycled water to keep your yard green (or install artificial turf) and buy all of your produce at your local farmers market? If you value the environment as much as you do luxury, you might want to “go green” with Bertrazzoni ranges and cooktops.
The Bertazzoni Professional Series double oven sells for $7,400 and up and includes:
- 99% recyclable parts and packaging
- All materials retain composition when kept in contact with common food substances
- All materials are RoHS compliant (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
- Choice of gas, electric or dual ovens, all of which have true convection modes that reduce energy consumption
- Low carbon monoxide emission from burners
- Color options include red, orange and burgundy, yellow, black and white as well as classic stainless steel
- One piece stainless steel worktop
- Six different configurations for cooktops, including a combination of gas, griddle and induction cooking
Having a hard time choosing? Do you wish you could rely on someone who had the background and experience to understand your full range of kitchen oven and range options?
Then you might find the background of Capital’s CEO reassuring.
Surjit Kalsi, inducted into the Kitchen & Bath Association Hall of Fame in 2011, developed the first commercial-quality range suitable for residential application: the Viking range. Kalsi invented the world’s first dual-flow gas burner as well as a self-cleaning gas oven, a retention flame burner and a universal gas burner. He also private labeled cooking systems for companies such as Thermador and William Sonoma before bringing his innovation to Capital.
Capital Precision Ranges, which come in 30-inch, 36-inch and 48-inch widths and sell for about $3,500 to $8,200, include these features:
- 100% stainless steel, restaurant-grade seamless construction
- Handcrafted in the U.S
- Stay-Cool™ technology to keep oven doors cool when the oven’s hot
- Bold red graphics for easy-to-read settings
- Heavy duty doors and hinges
- 40-watt bright oven lights
- Burners that allow for a full range of flame control – from simmering to searing
- Easy access to drip trays
Do you have a favorite luxury cooktop, range or oven? Is there a kitchen appliance you covet but are afraid to buy? Or one you purchased and regretted?
Please share your experiences in the comments below. And, if you have opinions about appliances you currently own, please post them to our Revuu database.