Blue Star, Viking, Wolf, Lacornue, Lacanche, too many options!

whitneymacJanuary 29, 2008

I'm overwhelmed, and I haven't even started getting prices! I'm looking for a range with double ovens - anywhere from 48 to 60" wide is fine on this new construction. The range will be a major kitchen focal point. I'm a pretty good cook when I don't have small children underfoot. I'd like at least 4 burners with the option for a grill and/or griddle.

Does anyone have an approximate price and reputation comparison that can help me figure out where to start?

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Figure out whether you want all gas (AG), or gas top and electric ovens (Dual Fuel). The French ranges look completely different and will be the most beautiful and expensive. Lacanche is well liked on this forum. La Cornue is the most expensive (except for one model-'La Cornuefe' that is about the price of the Lacanche.

AGA has an interesting cast-iron range. The have their own traditional style that is always on with covered burners and they sell the more conventional style that you turn on when you're ready to cook.

The better American made ranges are usually allStainless (although some are offered in colors-Viking,American(yes, that's a brand), and Bluestar.

The better brands are Bluestar, Wolf, American, Capital,DCS.
It can be debated as to which is better for various features.

Wolf offers Dual Fuel,or AG - also have stacked burners to get a low simmer, probably the most loved brand, offers sealed or semi-sealed burners- lately some problems with AG -they also have a black metal top (like Viking) that is harder to keep clean.

Bluestar has the best top burners,(these are 'open' to a drip tray that sits below) and colors and Brass accents, but on occasion has a ignitor problem.

American also offers some colors on the front oven door, uses various sized sealed burners and is well liked by the few that have them.I like the fact that American's sealed burners come in various sizes. This means a small pot won't have such a large 'cold spot' when placed on a small burner.

Capital makes a great sealed burner range with some nice options not found on other brand- like a rotisserie, and a self cleaning Gas oven. The also have one of the largest sealed wok burners.

DCS is very popular, sealed dual/flow burner unit, beautifully made with gliding oven racks.

Good pans help to alleviate cold spots found on the larger sealed burners, but if the circle of flame is too large, especially on high, the flames go up the side of all but the larger pans.

Anyone would love to cook with any of these ranges.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 5:55PM
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The first decision is between the 'French look' and the 'commercial look'. This is your decision.

Next, plan on 48", which is 8 burners. 60", or 10 burners is just too much for most people to handle. I am a pro cook in a catering company, and we have only 18 burners in our kitchen- Of course we feed > 2,000 people on a weekend in a good week.

Another reason to go with 48" is that most people around here find the small oven is perfect for 90% of their needs, meaning less fuel use and heat in the kitchen for daily use. In addition, 60" ranges are just a lot heavier and harder to move than a 48" unit. Lastly, if you feel you really need that second full-size oven, install a wall oven separate from the range, which will ease congestion at the range.

Now, grill or griddle. Anything you can do on a griddle you can do in a frying pan, or on a separate, easier to clean removable griddle. A grill, however, gives food a flavor you cannot duplicate by any other means, so I lean towards grill.

Then, do you have a grill outside that you can generally use, meaning six months of the year? If so, 12" of grill space is probably enough (instead of 24"), leaving you with 6 burners, which is more than most cooks can handle anyway.

Since you indicate you are a good cook, the real cooking machine of you list is the Bluestar. The 22,000 BTU star burners are the best available for home use. They are identical to the ones used in Garland professional ranges (Garland used to sell the range, then got out of the home market), one of the two largest makers of commercial ranges in the world. They are better burners than on the US Range brand we currently have at work. If you like to stir fry, only a dedicated wok burner is hotter than a Bluestar.

Of course, others around here will have different opinions, but that is mine.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 5:59PM
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Outstanding recommendations and advice from alexr and cpovey and I agree that the bang for the buck is Bluestar. LaCanche and LaCornue are double+ their competition in the domestic product line and I found them very close in price once priced option to option...but they are beautiful!

Next, I had a 36 inch 6 burner range in our previous house and constantly ran out of room. We now have a 60 inch Blue Star 8 burner with a grill. I have not filled it up yet but have had at least 6 burners and the grill going at once and we've only been in our new house 6 weeks so I am glad to have the overflow capacity if needed and I am sure I eventually will.

As to grill vs griddle, I agree with cpovey whole heartedly. You can put a griddle plate over the grill but not the opposite. We did not think we would use the grill often but use it all of the time. Portobello mushrooms and asparagus to mention only two are incredible and so easy on it.

Finally, we went over kill and also put in an electric wall oven. The BS does a great job on most things and a good job on delicate items (breads et al) but the electric wall oven rocks on the delicate stuff. OK, cornbread isn't technically DELICATE but the electric oven does a much better job on that, cakes, cookies, pies etc.

Happy planning!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 8:03PM
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Just to confuse things I'll come down on the side of the griddle. Of course we live far enough South that we can use the outside grill pretty much 11 months of the year. We find we need a pretty wide griddle (at least hubby does) to cook comfortably. We currently have a 48" with 6 burners and a grill. Love the cooktop (GE)but find we usually go outside to grill. It's reasonably convenient and I kept setting the smoke alarm off when I used the grill. (Note to self - new house will have the smoke alarm a bit farther from the stove!).In the new build we are moving to a 60" Blue star cooktop with 6 burners and a 24" griddle.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Just note one thing about the Lacanche. I was very interested in them due to space issues, and then (thanks to this forum!) it was mentioned that only the ones with electric ovens have a broiler. This was something I totally missed while cruising the website, so it's yet another reason why GW's Kitchen forum is so addictively useful!

I'd stay away from anything Viking. Many people have complained about their Viking appliances.

Bluestar is upgrading their finish quality (a longtime complaint vs Wolf) and features; American has a jazzy-looking double-height range but I don't think that's a necessity for good cooking, plus it's just one more surface to clean off scorch marks.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Granted, I purchased my Lacanche Cluny at 2003 prices, but at that time, it was $2G's less than the dual fuel Wolf and Viking. But perhaps things have changed since then. Also, the electric broiler works wonderfully, there is no issue with it being only in the electric oven.

The Lacanche is WONDERFUL. We could not be happier with it. It isn't just beautiful, it COOKS. cpcovey is right about the BTU's. Lacanches highest is 18,000 BTU's vice Bluestar's 22,000. For us, and we cook quite a bit and some really serious stuff, the 18K has been sufficient. Even for some very amateur wok cooking. But I do believe those 4K BTU's difference can make a big diff.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 8:15PM
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    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 3:46PM
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Guadalupe found these Bluestar videos on the net, I thought I might as well include them here, so anyone can see how the open burners cook. There is also a video here of melting chocolate on the simmer burner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking on a Bluestar range.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 4:17PM
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I agree with cpovey about a decision on a "French" look or a commercial look. I decided I wanted the range as a focal point; however, I did not want stainless. As a result, that eliminated about half of the brands mentioned as only a few offer colors. Viking offers several colors; however, the reputation of the Viking on this Board is pretty scary so I steered clear of it. I decided upon the Bluestar in red, which I'm very happy with; however, with all the colors offered by Bluestar, you could find some gorgeous looks for your focal point.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:14PM
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I'm pretty sure I'd go with a dual fuel with the griddle instead of a grill- we live in Texas, so we can cook outside nearly every day of the year. In our last house, we had an indoor grill, and we found that we only used it on the night before the maids came- it was such a pain to keep it clean!
Can anyone give me approximate prices on their choices? I have a friend who should be able to get me a good deal on a Wolf or a Viking- he doesn't rep Blue Star, unfortunately- but I want to make sure the savings price is worth choosing what he sells over something else... I haven't gotten a price from him yet.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 8:58AM
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If cooking power is the main consideration, and looks and niceties waaaay secondary, then the BlueStar. (And this coming from the proud owner of a white BS.) If you want a solid performer, with enough name recognition for resale purposes, then Wolf. If you can afford it, and fall for the looks of a French stove, then of course the La Cornue or Lacanche. I wouldn't do Viking, when Wolf has as much name reognition and fewer reported problems.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 1:06PM
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A couple of thoughts to clear up a bit of confusion. I saw a comment above (don't remember who) that said La Corneau was the same or close in price to a Lacanche when you add in the extras. That isn't correct for a La Corneau, but perhaps is for a CorneauFe (built by Aga and MUCH cheaper than a La Corneau). La Corneau starts around $30,000. Molteni (anotehr fabulous range you should consider if you're at that price point) is going to start around $21,000 for a traditional model and Lacanche (a 55 1/2 inch version with duel fuel and a warming cabinet) will be around $12,500. That is comparable with a 48" wolf (DF) with much more style and two more burner options.

I looked at all three of these and went with Lacanche. La Corneau and Molteni are identical in quality, no debate (ask Wolf Gang Puck or someone who can afford both) :oP Molteni is cheaper now because they're trying to break into the american consumer market. They're traditionally a commercial product.

I didn't go with Molteni because of the dealer. We would have had to purchase in Portland OR and I was not treated well by the dealer. After making an appointment with them (I had to fly then drive several hours) they still didn't even have prices available. If that's the type of service you get with a purchase...can you imagine what you'd see afterwards? I passed and purchased a Lacanche. The construction is fabulous, but if you kick a Lacanche and kick a Molteni at the same time....the Molteni will hurt your foot more :oP They're heavy. Lacanche is not light!!! But not a Molteni.

Run as far as you can from a Viking. They're crap. The people we know with them hate them. We only have one friend with a Blue Star and they haven't been happy, but it's a few years old. I didn't spend much time on it because we couldn't see one anywhere we visited locally or otherwise. We originally (Before GW) were set on the Wolf (great stove) but considering a Lacanche and wolf are comparibly get so much more from a Lacanche so we went with that.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 1:24PM
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I'm so glad I found this site! We are in the process of designing a home where the kitchen and dining room are basically one room and the range will be at one end as a focus. I had not wanted super industrial styling. I had narrowed my choices down to Viking and LaCornue, specifically the CornuFe. After reading the entries regarding Viking, I think I'm down to the CornuFe which is great.

I have been cooking for many years on an older Garland (not commercial, but a real workhorse) at a B&B, which we have recently sold. I won't be cooking for 20 people every day, so don't feel the need for restaurant level range. However, I want to be sure the CornuFe performs just as well as it looks!

I have had concerns regarding the small ovens in the 110. the suggestion to have a separate electric oven makes so much sense. The kitchen is going to be large, so space is not a big issue. The CornuFe Albertine 90 has a good sized oven and the separate oven makes sense there as well.

I would appreciate any feedback regarding performance and maintenance on the CornuFe. The La Cornue Chateau us way out of my price range, but I would think the quality would be there on the smaller ranges as well. HELP!!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 8:31PM
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