The Essential Chef's Kitchen
Most of our chefs wanted to cook with a gas range or cooktop, and liked the idea of two ovens.
Every chef's kitchen needs a cooking surface, whether that be a cooktop or a stove. One thing that's not in question: Chefs prefer gas to electric, saying that gas offers more precise temperature control.
Only Chef Scott Gottlich said he would prefer an induction cooktop to gas: partly because it heats quickly and partly because it only heats magnetic metals and does not retain it. "You could leave it on by accident, and little kids wouldn't burn themselves," explains Gottlich, a father of two.
Even though some of them get by on four burners, they prefer a minimum of six, with a griddle or a wok burner depending on their style of cooking.
Courtesy of Jenn-Air
Having wall ovens separate from the cooktop comes in handy when multiple chefs are working.
While a range works well if one person does all the cooking, wall ovens allow multiple chefs to work without interfering with each other's activities. Either way, having two ovens makes it easier to cook multiple dishes requiring different temperatures at the same time and get them to the table simultaneously.
Of course, you still have to time each dish properly for that to work. Explains Chef Michael Daniels: "You have to know the things that take the longest to cook. But some people have been cooking at home for years and they don't want to hear it." With a laugh and the voice of experience, he adds, "Like Mom."
One more thing: the ovens should be electric, which Chef Duncan Firth prefers to gas for its dry heat when roasting and even browning when broiling. Convection capability is a must.
Tip: If you need to get a range for space or other reasons, dual-fuel models offer a gas cooktop and electric oven all in one appliance.
Read the Appliance Q & A for a more in-depth look at chefs' appliance preferences.