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Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Posted by Why_not_me (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 26, 12 at 13:34

I've been talking with our local Bluestar dealer about Bluestar options, plan to pay them a visit next week. They usually have quite a few Bluestars in the shop, and some are hooked up for a test-drive, and have been great on the phone so far.

I'd love some experienced feedback from Bluestar owners so I can be armed with lots of info and intelligent questions when I go in to play!

For info, we're just a two-person household, but I'm a pretty competent (Relais & Chateaux trained, albeit an embarrassingly long time ago) cook, so we entertain a lot, usually 8-10 guests for a 3-4 course meal, if that's any help.

I want a 48", because it gives me two ovens. We need gas (for hobs and ovens), because our hydro is unreliable at times.

I'm considering other brands, but this post is specifically about Bluestar.

I'm curious about which range top people chose for their Bluestar ranges, and why, and what they wish they had - or hadn't - chosen. How many gas rings did you get? Griddle? Charbroiler? French top (seems to come in 12" and 18" - any preferences?)? Salamander (the "Heritage" top)?

I fancied the salamander, but about choked on the price, lol. Mind you, it does have the griddle on top of it, although that looks like it might be uncomfortably high to reach safely mid-cooking?

Curious about backsplashes - hardly anyone's photos here show the stainless backsplash. Our range will back on to an old stone wall (yes, impossible to keep clean!), so I was going to go for either the 17", or the 21" with the little shelf (I'm tall, and could reach it easily). Most people seem to chose the no-backsplash, and tile behind instead. Why?

I'm also vaguely thinking about sitting two 24" ovens (I'm not a big fan of huge ovens), side-by-each, which would give me two broilers, and, say, 4 hobs, a griddle and a charbroiler. Thoughts?

The paint chip book - is it worth getting? Stupid expensive to get it sent up here to Canada ($40!), but I don't think the shop has one. I'm guessing those RAL colours are generic, so I could see them in a good paint shop (obviously the finish will be different).

I'm thinking red (or blue...or green...or yellow....), so we do need to look at colours. The colour option is only another $300 from our dealer, which I think is well worth it. The killer was the fancy brass or copper trim - they said that was another $900, ouch.

Base price for a standard 48" range, 8 hobs, is $11,995, plus delivery ($400, includes installation, not hook-up), plus taxes. I may have written that down wrong, but it seems a lot, given this range isn't hand-made by elegantly wine-swilling Burgundians, or is fancy in any way, really.

Oh! And I see they make a warming drawer (built-in, separate from the range). Is it any good? Any others recommended?

Anything else I should consider?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I'll touch upon aesthetics and price and let others discuss performance...

We recently purchased a 36" RNB SS but have seen a few painted models in person. My advice (and from others on this forum) would be to get a metal color swatch from BS as the RAL colors on metal will vary from the regular swatch on paper. Personally, I wouldn't order a color unless I could see it in person or see a picture of it applied on the actual stove.

And since you're in the market for a 48", I thought I'd direct you to the BS deal of the century I came across on CL (sounds too good to be true):

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/app/3347917457.html

I saw a 48" yellow BS in person as well in Chicago and my guess is that you'd be able to get that floor model for a discount as well.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

LOL - the yellow is that bad, then, nixit71?!

Thanks so much for the CL link - that IS a deal, but by the time we've shipped it and paid Canada Customs for their, oh, efforts, I don't think it would be cost-effective, sadly.

Thanks also for the colour swatch feedback - will keep that in mind.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

It was a bright yellow, that's for sure. I'm sure it would look good in the right kitchen. It's like selling a car. The black/silver/white car will sell quicker than the yellow model.

In the US, Bluestar had these roadshows and events at appliance stores where, if you attended, you could get a free color upgrade. Or, if unable to attend, you could contact the event planner and still get it. It's worth looking into.

$12K seems on the high side. I believe that model runs around $8500 in the US. The dealer markup is about 20%.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Let me whisper in your ear ................. lacanche ..................yes by wine-swilling Frenchmen. They will send you enameled metal samples of your favorite colors. All kinds of stove top options.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I have a 48" with french top. Don't get a 12" french top, I don't think it's usable. The "real" size is 24".

If you have a stone wall I would recommend the 17" or 21" stainless backsplash. Only reason many get the island trim and do tile is just looks, I think. If I had to do it over again I might have gotten a higher one.

I like the 36" and 18" oven combo. Both cook with excellent results.

I would get the paint book. If you are really considering a Bluestar $40 is a small price to pay to be sure of the color. You can order a metal sample, too, if you are only trying to evaluate one color.

-Stooxie


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I only have a 30" model so most of your questions do no pertain to my setup. But, I agree with what Stooxie says about the backsplash. I got the 8" (or 6" or whatever) one. I like it. I actually like the look of it better than the island trim and I think it also directs the oven heat and fumes up to the hood nicely. The 30" oven is fabulous so I would stick with that along with the smaller 18" one if I were getting the 48" range. You will not regret this range. They are great. Good luck!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Concerning the backsplash height- I have the 8", but I would consider the island trim for one reason. You get the benefit of being able to use bigger pans on the back burners- of course you need a tile wall behind it, or a sheet of stainless as a wall backsplash.

This of course only applies to pans that have a tapered side, like large frying pans and sauciers, Windsor or Chef pans etc. Maybe not a big concern, but occasionally it gives you a little more room in the front.

Also, with the island trim the flame that occasionally comes up the side of the pan doesn't have the oven backsplash running right next to it causing flame marks. Instead there is an extra inch of air between the pan sides and the wall.
So that may be something to consider. Maybe someone with island trim will chime in.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Mine is 36", 6 burners, so I'm not much help with your questions. But I do have the high backguard with a shelf. Here's a photo

Photobucket

a little closer up
Photobucket


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Wow - so much thoughtful and useful feedback, thank you all SO much. I've also waded through more of the previous BS discussions on GW - lots of good stuff.

Definitely going to get the tall backsplash with the shelf - thanks for your (lovely!) photos, beekeepers wife.

Tell me more about the French ring, stooxie - why do you reckon the 12" one is too small? Do you have the 24" French ring? Use it much? What's your configuration: all four burners on one side, French ring on the other, or French ring in the middle, flanked by two burners on each side?

We discussed this yesterday, and reckoned a top with 2 burners at far left, then a 12" French top mid left, then a 12" charbroiler mid right, and the Heritage (broiler with griddle on top) at far right would be great for us, giving us a lot of cooking options. Yes, it's expensive, but it gives us a LOT of choices.

Or, are all those 12-inchers too small to be fully functional?! Jacks of all trades, masters of none, perhaps?

Our thinking was, I'd be able to use the French ring for BIG pans (making marmalade, that sort of thing) without disrupting the other two burners to its left too much, or without blocking a burner behind it if the big pan was on a front burner, or bumping into the backsplash if it were on a back burner.

When not cooking that big pot of marmalade, then it would simply act like a very flat third burner that takes a bit longer to heat up, surely?

We do have a Big Green Egg, and it will sit pretty close to the kitchen, but we have miserable winters, and neither of us feels much like freezing outdoors for the pleasure of grilled food. Years ago a house we bought had a 24" indoor charcoal grill. Yes, not even remotely to code, but we were able to trade it for an electric version, and we used it quite a bit. Heady foody smells, and delicious results.

Do the ovens work during power outages? Do all the burners (including char broiler, French ring, griddle, Heritage top) work during power outages?

I'll go ahead and order the RAL colour book at this stage, and when we've narrowed it down (I'm thinking British Racing Green, which is probably like their Bottle Green, but if anyone out there has a Bluestar in Reseda Green I'd love to see photos), I'll order the metal chips.

About a rangehood - I see Costco Canada now carries Bluestar 30" and 36" rangehoods, no 48" ones, though.

Rather than having a shaped rangehood flanked by cabinets, we're going for a more old-fashioned look, somewhat like the one linked below, which means the exhaust system would be hidden from view entirely. Still needs to be easy to keep clean, though!

One last note - the local Bluestar dealer is adamant that the Bluestars sold by Costco Canada are made to lesser specs than regular retail; for instance the ignitor is the "old" one.....can anyone corroborate this?

Thanks again. I see some of you have posted enthusiastically and so helpfully about your Bluestars for years; I promise to do the same and help others once we have ours.

Here is a link that might be useful: Timber mantle/hood


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

The ovens have electric glow plug ignitors and will not operate during a power outage. The top burners will if you use a match. Just turn the knobs to a LOW setting when applying a match.

As for 12" options, personally, I am not a fan UNLESS you are really just cooking for one or two. The whole point of the French cooktop is the concentric rings that produce a gradient of heat. The 12", in my opinion, is not wide enough to produce the effect. A 24" French top gives you a lot of options, too. Hot in the middle, keep lots of things warming all around.

I had a whole thread on the uses of a French top but I can't seem to dig it up on this byzantine forum software. (Sorry, this place reminds me of a dial-up BBS from the 80s).

-Stooxie


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

As stated already, the range burners will light and work without power. However anything with the glow plugs will not. If you get one with a grill, they use glow plugs so it will not work during a power outage just like the ovens.

We wanted a charbroiler (grill) and after looking at the 12" ones we realized that would only work good for 1 or 2 people or you would need multiple cookings. We wanted to be able to cook for us and additional guests so we got the 24" grill on our BS. We really like it and use it often but make sure you get a really good hood - it can produce lots of smoke.

As far as different versions - I don't know about Costco, etc but the latest BS (rangetops) have V1 added to the end of the model number. This indicates some changes that were done to make improvements - including each burner having its own ignitor capability instead of all sparking at the same time.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

One other thing - we have a stainless backsplash with the 1" island trim. We also put stainless on the sides of our upper cabinets and we see not many people do that. However for us, it is really good because with all the smoke and grease, these cabinets do get nasty and with the stainless we just clean them like the backsplash. A wider rangehood of 3" to 6" on each side would also help in keeping those upper cabinets clean.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I have one of the Costco bluestars...it is the RCS that costco sells, not the RNB but I've read here that there are no differences in the product - one person indicated that they had the non-costco serial number delivered from Costco.
I think we would have to phone BS directly to get the real story. My guess is the dealer is trying to protect his margin. Also, the Costco price is not much different from the US price for the RCS so BS does not need to 'cheapen' the RCS to sell at the rate they are selling.
Look for posts here on the pricing differences for top end appliances in Canada and the US...basically we get shafted up north.
One local distributor (who did not sell BS but was familiar with them) said the costco price was so good for such a good product that he would not really try to sell me something else.

I could not see any difference in the product that I received and the RNB's i've seen in the showrooms other than the burner BTU's. It certainly is not a scientific review but the main limitation for the costco BS is that is is one model, one configuration...if that fits, great, but in your instance, it looks like you want many options, none of which is available through costco
caspian


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

OK, stooxie - what you have to say about the 12" vs 24" French tops makes perfect sense - thanks for the explanation.

racmrc - hope you don't mind me asking, what size of Bluestar do you have, and where does your charbroiler (grill) sit in relation to the other burners?

Caspian - good to know about the Costco Canada version. I'm going to the dealer tomorrow, and I'll call Costco and Bluestar about it as well. Which size did you get? They've only got the 30" and the 36" at the moment, but they used to carry the 48" as well, iirc.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

We have a 48" rangetop with 2 burners on each side with the 24" grill in the center. This is the standard BS configuration but they would relocate items for a cost. I was quoted $300 to change burner locations or $500 to move the 24" grill to one side. We liked the idea of having the grill in the center and its proven to be a good location for our range hood removing the HOGS.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Interesting; I didn't know they charged extra to shunt the top options around.

As of this evening, over supper, we went back to the idea of two 24" Bluestar ranges; that way we'd get two ovens with two brilliant broilers, although not voluminous capacity (which I don't see as an issue, although I stand to be corrected on that one); one side would have 4 standard burners, and the other side would have the French top (means I can use really big pans to make chutneys and jellies, etc).

Oh, what a luxury it is to debate great choices for good cooking, when so much of the world has little food and less options to cook it. :/


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Oh! What is - or are - HOGS?!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Heat
Odor
Grease
Smoke


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Ah, OK: the divine byproducts of great cooking, therefore!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Many thanks for the great photos beekeeperswife. This is the first and only time I see other photos of backguard with shelf other than the ones on BS website. Those on BS website did not capture the angles and beauty like yours do. They don't even have it in the local stores.

Few questions:
- Do you feel the shelf on the backguard decrease the effectiveness of your hood performance in anyway?
- BTW, what hood do you have? Best? It is a good looking hood and goes well with your BS.
- If you have a moment, could I trouble you to upload a photo of your shelf from a top view angle? I am curious if the shelf has any open slot in the back to help ventilation flow. The sales rep told me there is.
- Someone on GW (not this thread) mentioned that the shelf is flimsy. Do you agree or it is fine?


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I went and spent some time at the local Bluestar dealer yesterday, who was really helpful, and has a few Bluestars on the floor - a couple of the double-door ones (Marcus's "Precious Metals"), a 30" and 36" in ss, a working 36" in white with middle char broiler on the top, and a 48" in a very nice dove grey with a 12" griddle and a 12" charbroiler in the middle.

I could find no fault in fit, finish and design: to put it simply, imo Bluestar ranges outclass anything else on the market.

Everything comes apart easily for cleaning, and everything does what it's supposed to do; bakes well, grills well, goes from a polite simmer to a raging heat at the flick of the wrist. No-one else, to my knowledge, offers the star-shape in an open burner that is so versatile that you can put a teeny weeny pot or a huge great pot on it and not end up with a culinary disaster. And did I mention easy to take apart to clean!

What's not to like, really, so now it's down to us to make a decision, right! I definitely put what I'd learned here from you Bluestar owners to good use - thank you.

If I had my druthers it would be a 48" with two burners at each side, and a centre 24" French top (like Stooxie's, which I found via google - thanks, Stooxie!). $11,399.

Obviously I've adjusted my thinking quite a lot from when I first started out on this venture, lol. No Heritage, no char broiler, etc.

But I am definitely staying with the tallest backsplash with the shelf; for me, that's a no-brainer, ymmv.

An alternative configuration I considered is two 24" ranges side-by-side; one would have the standard 4 burners ($4,300), the other would be a French top ($4,900 - I'm surprised it's the more $ of the two).

The potential downside is the ovens are obviously only 24", but the upside is, I get two broilers, which is what drove my thinking.

The other upside is the two 24" combo I describe is $10,200 (includes two shelves/backsplashes at $1,000), whereas the 48" is another $1,200, which seems incongruous to me. Anyone care to speculate why one 48" range is $1,200 more than two 24" ranges? A combination of labour + materials, obviously, but I'm curious what, where.

She also priced a 60" RNB with French top, which (un)fortunately we don't have room for; $14,995 (inc free shelf backsplash).

We also discussed range hoods - the dealer's opinion is that, if I don't have a charbroiler, Salamander, Heritage, etc, ie not much direct "HOGS," then a 600 cfm with a window close by (it'll be approx 6' away), will suffice. The Bluestar rangehoods are very very nice, but expensive because they're finished to the same high quality as the Bluestar ranges, and, given we're hiding the exhaust system behind a big beam (see my earlier link for an example of the alcove-to-be), then we'll just go with their own home brand, around $500.

She also lent/gave me a colour card, and we talked about the fancy brass, bronze, etc, trims for handles. She'd had a 60" in black with the brass handles in the shop, like the one on their website, and says it was gorgeous, but iho the special metals wouldn't stand out so much in anything smaller than the 60". Good to know, as they're also a very expensive option.

Every knob is $50 for colour, and I can understand why, as we pulled one off and looked at it; must be a right fiddle to get done.

By the way - Zippety do dah - I agree, Lacanche really are a thing of beauty, but they have sealed burners, and with my restaurant background I cannot abide sealed burners, sorry!

They sell the Lodge cast iron grills which sit over a burner or two - around $70, which I'm sure will suffice for occasional use when DH doesn't feel like braving the weather to cook on outside on the BGE.

Oh, and we talked about the Bluestars sold by Costco Canada. According to my dealer, they have the old ignitors (which aren't as reliable or sophisticated, apparently?) which can't be retrofitted with the new ones, the burners are a bit less BTU (not an issue for most cooks, including myself, I'd venture), and the interior of the ovens doesn't have anything like the same robust spackled finish, so are harder to keep clean, and less resilient to corrosive spills. Still, we agreed they're great value for $$$, just not what I want. This is going to be our treat to ourselves, and we want it to be just right, right!

My only minor concern is that I haven't "met" a Bluestar 24" French top yet, although I totally get the concept of a big hot slab of metal that you can happily shunt pots around on for greater or lesser heat, having grown up with Agas.

I'm probably heading to Toronto over the weekend or Monday; anyone know if any of the dealers have one on the floor I can play with? I'll phone around today to find out.

Lastly, they are demeyere cookware dealers, and if one buys one's Bluestar from this dealer, one gets a hefty (33%, I think she said) discount. Very handsome cookware, gorgeous satiny finish, but omg expensive, and I think I'll continue to beat the snot of our industrial Paderno and Le Creuset before splurging on those handsome Belgian pots and pans.

Phew - sorry it's such a long post!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

beekeeperswife: when you've got a minute, would you mind measuring the depth of the shelf on your backsplash, please? The dealer and I couldn't find any reference to it in any of the literature or the website.

cookingdad: the dealer did have a 10yo Garland (Bluestar's ancestor) for sale, and it had the shelf - it was surprisingly deep, approx 8", so deep enough for little frying pans, etc, and also very robust indeed. Definitely tough enough for commercial, not just domestic, abuse.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

cookingdad - spoke to Bluestar, and the shelf is 10" deep.

And, as far as venting up the back goes; if you look at beekeeperswife's first photo, you can see what looks like a 1-2" black line running the length of the shelf, immediately above it - that's the vent, I think - it looks like the ones I saw on the shorter (lower) backsplashes I saw in the shop yesterday.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Another option would be a 24" and a 30" range. Yes, that's 54" but it gives you a bit more real estate on the bigger range, and a larger oven if you think you'll need it. I think the 24 inch oven size is just fine, and I've read of people on this forum who have bought 2 24" ranges.

I don't know how they would look, but I like the idea of two ranges side by side instead of one large one. Each oven has a broiler and window, and they're easier to move around. If one needs repair, the other is still working.

I guess you'd need two electric and two gas outlets, but that doesn't seem so difficult.

While I love the look of beekeeperwife's range, my own thoughts would be to use a short island trim especially with two ranges- with stainless sheet on the wall behind it and then put your own shelf up- I think it would look more integrated. What I like about the tall backguard with the shelf, is that it looks better made, more finished and maybe stronger than the shorter 8" one.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Thanks for your great info why_not_me. As for the vent question, perhaps I used the wrong term, but I was referring to any holes on the horizontal shelf itself allowing air to flow up from below the shelf, through the holes, up into the hood. My local dealer finally found a picture that shows the reflections of the vent holes on the shelf if you look at it closely (attached). BTW, my 48" with high backguard shelf is $8888 (with 6 burners and 1 grill). Just for your reference since you said you were quoted $10,200+$1,200 for a 48"?

Also, my local dealer had a live demo from Bluestar, and whoever attended the demo got a certificate for free upgrade of either color, colored knobs, or custom burner config. I went and got my red knobs for free for my 48", so saved myself $450 for 9 red knobs. You should ask your local dealers if they have such an event to save some money.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Looks like the image did not upload with my previous post. Here it is once again:


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

cookingdad - might be best to email or call Bluestar and talk to Mandy for a straight answer - just a thought!

I noticed this morning that there's a gorgeous red 48" Bluestar with a 12" griddle on Ebay this week - looks like a sweet deal if it's what someone wants, at $7,000 inc shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Red 48


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Happy New Year all,

I have owned the 36" SS six burner for 7-8 years...love it.
I have the high backsplash with shelf...love it...must have in my application.

Just a few comments:
Pros
1) Its a Ferrari, fast, high heat - the broiler works great, the issue is the height adjustment for the racks, with the current broiling pan...they are either too high or too low...I therefore use a 1/2 sheet pan under my broiling pan...works fine.
2) Wok cooking...OMG...if you have a hand hammered steel wok...you are in business...as good as any asian restaurant...BTW I live in Oakland, CA...I eat in SF and Oakland China Towns alot.
3) Huge oven - full sheet pan - cook anything
4) Relatively easy to clean - with the way I cook, I have to break the top down @ 1/month and clean the whole thing.

Cons
1) Fit and finish is not Wolf...some sharp edges, one or two knobs a little loose...I dont mind...easy fixes.
2) One oven bottom support came loose...aluminum rivets broke...need to replace...its the angled piece for the removable bottom in the back under fan...its probably my fault, I left a pizza stone on the oven floor for several years...probably overheated the bottom.
3) Ignitors...major issue for many people...the complaint is they break...yes they do. I think I know the problem...after many replacements...its operator error. The heat from the front burners will sometimes run away from you...especially if you've been drinking :-P (ie careless) and dont pay attention. The ignitor sits in the flame...the insulator is ceramic. When you have a boil over, the 212 deg water comes into contact with the 400+ deg ceramic...crack! Ive simply come to terms with my Ferrari...I buy @ 6 ignitors a year and replace as needed...no big deal.
4) Ignitor module - it broke on me once...several years ago...I bought a new one, replaced it...its been fine ever since.
5) Oven cleaning...not bad, but its a huge oven, so it takes a little longer, I get a little dirty...oh well...my cast iron butterflied chicken is unbeatable.

I love this range...it will change the way you cook.

I installed my range, had to recalibrate my oven initially...very easy...small screw in oven dial shaft.

When friends come over...they always want to help out cooking...I havent been able to figure that one out yet :-D


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Just wondering if Why_not_me bought a BS and what configuration and colour? We are leaning towards the 48" with four burners and the 24" French top. We are also in Canada and I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for BS dealers in the Toronto area?

This post was edited by atabt on Sun, Nov 3, 13 at 15:22


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I'm the OP! We did a 180, and ended up with an Aga, if you can believe it.

When we were seriously considering a Bluestar, though, I eventually turned away from the 24" French top, and would have gone with the 48" with 8 rings...it seemed a lot of rings, but it gave me a more useful configuration than limiting myself to any of the options, as imo I could have got them as add-ons - a Lodge griddle, for instance.

I wish they did the 48" with 2 24" ovens, instead of a 30" and an 18". However, you can achieve this option by going with two 24" stoves, which is quite a bit less than one 48" stove: in your case, you could opt for one with 4 rings, and one with the French top.

I'd shop around all the GTA for dealers....we're near Ottawa, and our dealers all had floor models that they would sell in the first year or so for a good bit off the RRP. They'd also get what you wanted in as a floor model, and if you were prepared to wait you'd get it for the discount after 6 months or so. So if you're not in a rush, you'd stand to save a couple of grand at least.

My other concern I was never able to resolve was the large cfm requirement for a 48" range, especially if I'd gone with the broiler (which I'd have loved, I know it!). This was a tech/architectural problem, ymmv.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are in the process of building a new house and thus selecting appliances. Im pretty set on a bluestar 48" rangetop, but was wondering for those of you who have just the rangetop (not the full range), which wall ovens did you go with? Im deciding between bluestar, wolf, and thermador.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

We got bluestar range top (36" with griddle) + wolf combo steam oven +wolf 30" oven…not finished yet…but here is a quick photo
1620963_10203180833946953_2102469125_n

This post was edited by YuliaO on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 20:37


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

In our last house I had a 48" range top with a griddle, Though I liked the griddle, I rarely used it. We're building a new house and we going to do a 36" range all burners with a Cooktek 3500 watt induction hob next to it and a separate 27" electric oven under a counter.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Hi
I'm new to the forum. Does any one own a platinum series range. I'm looking at a Blue Star and trying to decide if 25000 BTUs is useful or over kill.

I'm also looking at Traditional AGA, so I would love to hear from Why not Me,


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Whether or not you'd find it useful all depends on your skill level, what you cook, what you would cook if you had the BTUs and how comfortable you are with high heat.

Could provide any additional context?

-Stooxie


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Hi, Mrs Stringer - what would you like to know about Agas? Happy to help if I can, so fire away!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

What changed you mind from BlueStar to an AGA? What size and type AGA did you get? What do you love about the AGA and what is not so enchanting?. Do you use a wok often and how is it for searing? Did you notice a large increase in your utilities bill? Do you get tried of the bottom oven being so low? What about cookware, did you get new?


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Answering in sequence....

I got totally fed up with the crappy sales service from our local Bluestar dealer (who I've been told has now severed ties with Bluestar - not sure who pushed and who pulled in that little break-up though!), around about the same time I found a 30yo 4-oven Aga on Kijiji (Canada's Craigslist) in near-perfect condition.

I was also having problems sorting out adequate exhaust systems for the heat, fumes, etc, that come off a large Bluestar range. We have no separate exhaust systems for the Aga, as they're not required: the heat and smells from the two hotter ovens go straight up the chimney. No need to fry on top, as you can pretty much "fry" in the top right oven.

I grew up with Agas in Scotland, always wanted one here (Ontario, Canada), but they're very expensive new. The seller had it professionally dismantled, and our hvac guys had a go at reassembling it, but it was too finicky (they'd never heard of Aga before), so we got the pro in. He was FANTASTIC, and worth every penny. He's in London, Ontario, and afaik the best in Canada. New burner, new vermiculite (insulation, safe), a good body-scrub with a wire brush (!), and we were good to go.

I never use a wok - but I never was much of a wok cook anyway. It's not an efficient way to use an Aga, given that, every time you open a lid to use a hob you're losing heat. I tend to cook very little on the top - pretty much everything goes in the oven, except my poached eggs for breakfast! I roast all the veggies, using different ovens for different veg. They don't dry out like they do in a regular oven. Meats are the same - it's very hard to dry them out. Strange, but true.

The hotter hob is very hot - brings a kettle to the boil quicker than an electric kettle, or a standard hob, as it's already at a high temperature. So, plenty hot enough for searing. But again, no point in searing something that's going to sit in a radiant oven for a while (either top right - very hot, or bottom right - moderately hot, or top left - warm enough for sloooow roasting - there's nothing quite like a ham that's been cooked in the top left oven for 8-10 hours, without stinking up the house!). I don't have the figures handy, but I'd say as far as heat goes, top right - 425 or so, bottom right 375ish, top left 300, bottom left 200. We dry firewood in bottom left, or pile plates and serving dishes in there to heat for dinner parties - they're slightly too hot to hold when first out of the oven, so perfect by the time they're on the table.

I don't find the bottom ovens annoyingly low, no. Biggest issue was shunting the dogs and cats to one side to get the doors open!

Our Aga runs on LPG. Hard to tell the difference in running costs, as we installed the Aga at the same time as we switched the heating from oil tank to propane tanks. Unless propane costs go through the roof, we'll stick with the Aga, as we love it so much. It was amazing how quickly we got used to its incredible convenience.

Cookware - I had an assortment - stainless steel, Pampered Chef stoneware, Le Creuset, etc. The advantage of stoneware is the even distribution of heat, not a requirement in the Aga ovens, plus it's heavy, so it got relegated to the back of the cupboard pdq. I'd bought some nice Le Creuset, but again, it's kinda heavy, although it is pretty. :) I used mostly enamel-ware and stainless steel, but my favourite dishes of all, funnily enough, were the old-fashioned ceramic ones, with handles, that used to be used for a Swiss fondue. The handles made life MUCH easier, and they were the perfect size to get three into one oven. I've linked one below, but I never spent more than $5 on mine at thrift shops.

I suppose I might consider buying some of the Aga cookware - a few of the pans, a couple of their fitted roasting pans, etc, next time they're on sale! The old stuff was aluminum, the new stuff is stainless steel, I think.

I dunno what the Aga sales people are like in the US, but, apart from the lovely people I mentioned, in London, Ontario (Belle Vie), the sales people I've dealt with here haven't been particularly knowledgeable. Quite friendly, but fairly inexperienced with actually LIVING WITH an Aga.

Here is a link that might be useful: Traditional ceramic Swiss fondue pot


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

We too have found most of the AGA dealers try to get us to buy another brand. I seem to know more about them anyway.

We are also looking at a used AGA. We only have room for the 2 oven. No one has a used 3 oven for sale which makes me sad.
Thanks for taking time to answer all my questions.
I totally can see the dogs and cat claiming the AGA as there own.

Since you grew up with AGAs I guess it didn't take long to figure out how to use them. It will seem odd to put everything in the oven as I'm used to doing most of my cooking on top.

Thanks again for all your help.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I have to word this carefully so as not to offend anyone, but, it's been our impression over the years that, presumably, the higher-ups at Aga (either in the UK or in N America, not sure) simply aren't particularly motivated to sell product in N America, or something. There isn't a lot of information, or support, which is downright disappointing, as it's such a great product. Flashy websites (Aga's own) mean NOTHING if there's no substantial quality sales service behind them!

My advice would be to talk to the lovely people at BelleVie. They do sometimes have used Agas for sale, they're extremely knowledgeable, and trustworthy. They also run Aga cookery training courses (and have a B&B iirc) which, if you're not experienced with Agas, might be really helpful, I think (plus, their property is GORGEOUS, and well worth visiting the showroom).

I don't regret for a second that we went with an Aga and not a Bluestar. I was impressed with Bluestars, but an Aga just has something about it....lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: BelleVie, Aga Specialist


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Mrs Stringer - I thought you might find David Ogilvy's sales brochure for Agas rather amusing. It's dated, and sexist, but absolutely brilliant.

David Ogilvy was "the real McCoy" that Mad Men was based on, as well as being a debonaire WWII spy, and the godfather of modern advertising, genius, and more:

http://www.lannigan.org/the_theory and_practice_of_selling_the_aga_cooker_training_manual.htm


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

We are considering the RNB 36" Bluestar with 6 burners. My question has to do with configuration of the burners. We are trying to decide whether to order the factory presets or custom order configuration of the burners.

Factory presets put the two 22k BTU burners on front right and front left. Two middle burners (and rear right) are 15k. We plan on leaving a stove-top griddle on the range top most of the time. My assumption is that it's best to use the griddle on a front and back burner that are the same strength, presumably two 15k btu burners. Does it make sense to move one of the 22k burners to the front center, so we can leave the griddle on two outside burners, or would it be cramped to have the two highest-heat burners next to each other?

Put more simply, does anyone have an opinion on whether we should leave the front 3 burners as 22k, 15k, 22k, or custom order them to be 15k, 22k, 22k?


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

If you are handy with a socket wrench set, it doesn't matter, you can move them around after you buy them. It takes 5 to 10 minutes. There is a pretty detailed description on GW, and a video on you tube.

Here is a link that might be useful: video


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I have the Range Top 6 burner model and left them in the default configuration and we use a cast iron griddle from time to time. When I do use it I had the same thinking as you I put it across the two middle 15K burners so the heat is the same on the pan. If you don't use those two burners one side of the griddle will most likely be hotter/cooler than the other.

As for the placement of the burners, I don't know that I would personally want my 22K burner in the back, but that is just me. I have read posts on here from people that do want that in the back so they don't have to reach over it to the simmer burner to stir things.

I look at it this way, if I am going to be doing something on that super high heat it is most likely for a short amount of time and it will need my attention, it is not something that I am going to just stick in a pan and let it go at full blast on that burner, so I want to have easy access to it and therefore I want it in front. Again, that is just for me, doesn't mean I am right or others are wrong, it has to be what works for you.

Best of luck,
Phil


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I put one of my 22k's in back, basically for boiling water. We like pasta, I put the big pot on the back burner and let it go. I put the 8k up front as my thinking is that something on a low simmer may need more attention than a pot of boiling water. I find I use the 8k and 22k the most, 15k the least. One 22k in front for woking and searing (I have 4 burners and a griddle). Since the burners are so 'portable' I would just get it as is (rather than spend the $$ for a custom configuration), figure out how you like to use it and move the burners where you want them. If you don't like it move them again, easy peasy.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Thanks for the responses. Great to know I can easily reconfigure as opposed to making a final decision before the product is in my house. Factory defaults it is!


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

I've got a 30" and have only had it for a couple weeks, but I find the 22's SO beefy that I'm thinking of moving the 15 in front and thought like someone above the 22 in back would be good for boiling water. I can't see doing two fast/hot things at once, but I could see doing one fast and one along the lines of boil water.

My question for others: Do you just get used to the dial not being what anyone else would get? Meaning I made a recipe that said to start on med-high and after X happened, turn down to medium. On the 22, that translated, in my experience, to start just to the left of the L in LOW and turn it down to about the O.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Two answers. I moved one 22 to the back to boil water, so that the hood would do a better job of collecting the steam from a pan in the back. As to the dials, yes and no. I think ATK did an piece on their show once that said that they tested a number of stove top burners, ( aluminum pie pan with a set amount of water over flame on high ) and that with their ranges at ATK the water boiled at so many minutes, and then you could do the same test at home so that you would know where you would set the dial to get to their version of high or medium, etc. In general, most recipes are not based on 15' 18 or 22 k burners, so you have to adjust downward. That said, while I like my BS, the least favorite thing are the knobs - I think they should be thermoplastic so they don't heat up, and should have more markings other then H and L. My prior oven had a series of marks, so when I was using a griddle to pancakes, I knew to set it two ticks from the bottom.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

We got ours in the standard configuration at the time which was one of the 22K at the left front and one at the back right. I use the back right when I need to boil a big pot of water for things like pasta or a boiling water bath for canning. That leaves the option of the front right and middle or the two middle burners when I want to heat something across both burners with an even heat.

I use the front left for the wok. The 15K burners are hot enough for just about everything else we do and very versatile.

I can see where some cooks might want the simmer burner on the front. Our Bluestar is on an island 1 foot from the side of the island on the left so if something on the simmer burner needs to be tended, I'll sometimes do that from the side.

The main downside of the configuration is that if I'm using a large wok on the front left burner, I can't use the simmer burner (back left) for rice because the wok hangs over that burner too much.


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RE: Bluestar questions for Bluestar owners

Yep, have to take into consideration the size of the pans, 2 large (12"+) pans and they'll need to be offset, can't be side to side or front to back inline. One of the reasons I like the 22k's so much are that the flame pattern is larger in diameter and covers the bottom of a pan better, any pan. I have them adjusted so that they'll all simmer quite well, the reason the 8k gets used so little is that it's pattern is quite small and I don't use REALLY small pans that often. My DW likes it better as she has her 'egg' pan which is about 6" across and she tends to get things a bit hot on the other burners. She too actually reads directions and figures the dials are accurate, so has some issue w/the big burners unless she really intends to burn something (hard sear).

I tend to look at the dials as a guide and 'read' the flame, I know how hot I want something so make the flame wherever I need it regardless of what the dial says. After a while you should know how far to turn the dial to get what you need without looking. I did have a learning curve, I've been using mine about 18 months (36" RNB) and have a better handle on it now.

As far as the dials getting warm, I've never had that issue. Now the space in front of the griddle when it's on a higher setting gets freakin' hot! I'm surprised no one has ever mentioned that, you only need to put your hand there once and you'll remember not to do it again :)


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