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'Professional' Range Saves Energy

June 20, 1993|JAMES DULLEY

QUESTION: My friend has a new gourmet "professional-type" gas range with six special burners and boiler, grill, griddle, warming tray. . . . Do these use more gas and heat up a kitchen more than an ordinary gas range?

ANSWER: Even though these special professional gas ranges have many features and super-high-output burners, they actually can consume less energy overall than an ordinary gas range. With one of these ranges anyone can become a gourmet cook. They are commercial-quality and should last a lifetime.

Professional home-use "restaurant" ranges have burners with heat outputs as high as 15,000 BTU. The largest burners on ordinary ranges are only 9,000 BTU. When you are boiling water or cooking, the pot heats up faster with the higher-output burners.

This reduces the overall cooking time and the total amount of heat that is wasted and lost into your kitchen. When cooking or entertaining, your kitchen will stay more comfortable, especially in the summer.

Professional ranges also have special burner designs and controls to provide more precise; and therefore, efficient cooking. One model has a multistage burner that varies the heat output from 14,000 BTU down to only 400 BTU. This is ideal for extremely delicate simmering.

Other professional ranges use special star burners. Instead of a round burner flame on an ordinary burner, a star burner has eight fingers projecting from the center. There are many holes in the top of each finger, so the flame is in contact with the entire bottom of the pot for even cooking with no burning.

Many professional ranges have six burners, built-in grills with lava rocks and griddles. The ovens are very large capacity, big enough to handle a commercial bun tray. Some models have the option of gas or electric ovens, or one of each. If you prefer an electric oven, you can get an optional convection oven which allows you to switch the fan on or off.

Special infrared broilers produce evenly cooked, juicy meats and seafood. Instead of just an open flame above the meat, the gas flows out into a large rectangular honeycomb box. As the gas burns in the hundreds of tiny holes, the entire honeycomb piece glows red and sears the meat perfectly. You can also get a super-hot 30,000 BTU accessory burner for wok cooking.

Don't just go out and buy a commercial-grade restaurant range. They are not certified by the AGA for home use. Certified professional "home-use" ranges have child-proof knobs, cool air-wash oven doors, electronic ignition and insulated/multi-wall construction for zero-clearance against cabinets.

You can write to me for Utility Bills Update No. 637 showing a buyer's guide for professional home-use gas ranges listing manufacturers, number of burners, burner heat output, design of burner and broiler, griddles, grills, convenience features and prices. Please include $1.50 and a self-addressed business-size envelope. Send your requests to James Dulley, c/o Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.

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