Need advice about a dual fuel range/commercial

channamayerMarch 25, 2012


We are just starting to build our new house. It is a house/campus student ministry combined. Basically we will live on th etop floor and the bottom two floors will be a student center. I cook for 40-60 students every Friday night. While I am not a gourmet cook I need a work horse that will not leave me with a long line of pans down the counter waiting for their "turn". Each week i cook, chicken,pasta, stir fry, challah bread, kugel (noodle casseroles) brownies, and veggies.

While we are doing commercial-type kitchen it will still be a homey place with wood cabinets granite countertops etc.

What dual fuel range would you recommend? We are working with donated money here to build this so I want to be as stingy as possible but I spend a lot of time inthe kitchen and could justify a few extra thousand on a product that will be with me at least 15 years or so and save me thousands of hours.

If you were donating money to me which one would you suggest I get.....obvioulsy I would LOVE for everyone to say "just get the fivestar (so much less$$) but I need to be realistic.

Thanks for ANY help!!!!!!

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let's start with how much space are you willing to devote to a range? there will be plenty of potential wait time on a 30" or 36" range, but jump up to 60" and everybody gets to play (keep in mind to budget appropriately for a mega-powerful range hood).
Why dual fuel? It will raise the price considerably and depending on which model you choose, well, let's just say that many a DF oven has given up the ghost during a self clean cycle (Kitchenaids may be the worst, but they have plenty of company), and you don't want that hassle I'm sure.
Something about electronics in close proximity to a 900 degree oven cavity...
Is this the only part of the project, or do you also need refrigeration, etc..
inquiring minds want to know.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:10AM
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This may well be a situation for a real commercial range/kitchen. They are less expensive than residential pro-style ranges but have special requirements - can't abut wooden cabinets, need sufficient ventilation, etc. Garland, Vulcan, Wolf, etc. make commercial ranges and cooking for 40-60 people sure seems like a commercial kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:46AM
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Good point on the commercial kitchen approach...
In the OP, channamayer indicated Fridays were the 40-60 cooking day, so I'm wondering what the demands are every other day.
I'm stepping out on a limb here, but based on "Friday, challah and kugel," this may be Hebrew/Judaism school (apologies if my terminology is incorrect), and not knowing enough about restrictions, will they need Sabbath settings on appliances? As commercial ranges have pilot lights, would this be a violation..I dunno. I do know with commercial ranges, your ventilation needs are significant, including fire suppression systems on most.
methinks we need more information.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:32PM
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I would suggest exploring side by side 30" gas ranges. Sabjimata did that with 2 Fivestars, but if budget is a big consideration for you, and it probably will be for anyone building as that's more expensive than buying existing, then you could just do two consumer grade ranges. If you did ones that had the two ovens in one, you could end up with 4 ovens and 8 burners for what a single 30" pro style range would cost. The ventilation needs would also be significantly cheaper by thousands. You could purchase two fairly standard issue ventilation hoods/inserts and just have a metal fabricator or carpenter create a custom housing for them out of wood or metal.

Yes, an actual commercial range can be a good choice (unless you live in a hot climate) but the gas requirements and especially the ventilation for that is what will totally kill your budget. THe lack of insulation in a commercial range makes it a big bugaboo to deal with for your HVAC.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Wow, thank you soo much for all of your expert advice! To clarify a little more. I only cook for my family of7 during the week (besides for a once a week lunch on campus for 25 or so:) But the thing is I've been doing this for 10 years with only one little residential range so I don't think i need a serious upgrade to a commercial. Maybe. But I don't know if I want to go the whole fire hazard, high cost ventilation, no wood cabinets nearby etc route. I've got 5 little ones running around me all the time!
As far as the religious configurations, yes Chef Dupre you've got me, we run a Jewish Home Away from home on campus here in UVa--but the pilot light would not be a problem on sabbath. But the more high tech ovens do have a Sabbath mode that would be helpful as well as a self-clean which is very useful around Passover.
The bottom line is I'm not ready to put a commercial stove in the middle of my new homey kitchen. So you'd recommend putting two 30nchers next to each other before the 48inch? Or a double wall oven and professional cooktop. I do have to admit I love the look of those professional ranges...
Thanks for letting me talk things out here and any more advice about brands and experiences would be more than welcome!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:36PM
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If on a budget(relatively speaking) I would skip the dual fuel.

You could get two 30" American Range Performer Series AG ranges for less than a 48" Five Star Dual Fuel. Powerful open burners as well as dedicated simmer burners. Two big ovens. About $6k

Best K260A60SS Canopy hood for $1437 plus $613 for a 1200 cfm internal blower.

That entire 60" package is about what you would spend on a Viking 48" dual fuel.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 6:28PM
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deeageaux's suggestion is a budget friendly one; one that gives you a couple of high output burners and two decent sized ovens.
so much is dependent on what you cook and space limitations.
the only red flag for me was "the five little ones running around"...and as i've never used the AR, i can't say for sure what the doors feel like at temp...

if said 5 little ones are under foot constantly, consider going down the 48" rangetop and dbl oven route (if space and budget allow)
for practical matters, check w/ a gas contractor about whether you can run gas on a single line w/ a splitter or if you'd need two gas lines, in the case of two AR 30" side by side.
send my regards to TJ and all the others in hooville.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:33PM
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I have never cooked on an AR range but have read comments from dozens of owners the last couple of years here on GW.I don't recall a single owner saying the doors get hot at temp.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Thanks! Just checked out the AR ranges--they aren't self clean :( then I looked at the 30 inch electrolux and ppl say those are hard to clean ( a big no no for my high use and very messy style) anyone have any other suggestions!! thank you so much!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:59PM
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If you must have self clean ovens then I would get them seperately.

BlueStar RGTNB Series RGTNB488BV1 48" rangetop ~$4k

Electrolux Wave-Touch Series EW30EW65GS ~$3K

Best K260A54SS hood ~$1.2K

Best P12 blower ~$613

Total ~$8,813

You will find at least a dozen people here loving their bluestar stovetops and electrolux wall ovens. Easy to clean and excellent performance. If you research long enough you will find at least a couple of people who hate every appliance made. You will give yourself parylisis by analysis.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:02AM
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IF the OP is looking for restaurant quality performance as well as restaurant quality capacity, then most of the above would be good suggestions if she also has the budget to match. The OP merely mentioned that she's looking for almost restaurant capacity, which can be a whole other set of parameters, especially if the budget is limited.

I second the thought of two side by side consumer grade ranges. I don't know what your budget is, but if you're willing to forgo convection, you can get two 30" 5 burner double oven ranges for less than $3500.

JGB870SS $1754 @ ABT and maybe less elsewhere

If you want something sleeker looking that will look better paired, and have a higher budget, the GE Cafe has the 5 burners with a griddle, a 20K tri ring burner, the stainless top, convection cooking, and double ovens--with self clean.

Roughly 3K but you might talk a local place into giving you a deal if you buy two.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Cooking for 60+ means large vessels on the stove and serious heave-hos and clanking/sloshing. IMO, 2 30" sealed burner ranges is a clunky but workable option while a Bluestar solid-cast iron cooking surface rangetop as suggested by deeageaux with a couple electric self-clean wall ovens would far better suit your requirements.

Since you are on the campus at UVA doing public service/religious/charitable work I would bet that you could find a friendly distributor who could hook you up with gear designed to handle the demands of your kitchen without having to fork out retail prices. It may even be that a donation could be arranged. Do you have a fundraiser on your board with the chutzpah to call Prizer-Painter in Pennsylvania?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 5:56AM
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There are a number of places in Brooklyn to purchase from. There is also a store in Lakewood called All Town Appliances run by frum people. I would check out various packages suggested. I am assuming that you are a Chabad House from your name and description. I believe that will qualify you for a tax exemption so you should be able to save that if you purchase locally. You can e-mail me privately and I'll give you some other suggestions. I was just in Brooklyn on Sunday and picked up 5 weekly advertising brochures which list a number of appliance stores. Also a new store called Buzz just opened which caters to the frum. Email me privately and I will tell you about the speciality items there such as a new food processor (14 cup with a kugel blade), hot water pots, hot plates etc. to help you outfit the kitchen. I bought a number of items for Pesach so I have specs on them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 9:35AM
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