It's all about the heat.
Today’s ranges—gas, electric or induction—can help you maximize energy dollars by heating more quickly and efficiently. If your range or cooktop needs replacing or you’re thinking of expanding your cooking choices, here are some options to consider.
Ranges were a big part of the Kitchen Innovation Awards at this year’s NRA Show, with Garland’s new Restaurant Range one of the winners. This model features an expanded cooktop that easily accommodates large pots. The range’s 33,000-BTU burner provides increased heating speed and its gas delivery design eliminates hot spots. Another KI award went to Electrolux for its S90 Full Surface Induction Range. Its 33- x 29-inch cooking area can handle up to 16 pots simultaneously with virtually complete usability of the cooking area. Specific heating zones can cook at four different temperatures at once.
Speaking of induction, single-burner induction ranges are a popular choice for off-site warming or emergency fill-in use—they’re convenient and require less energy than full-size ranges. But if you have a location where you’re using two or three single induction ranges, it may be worth investing in a full-size induction workstation, table or cart. Spring USA offers a stylish solution with the SmartStone Induction System, which features induction warmers under a faux granite top. The unit is designed to look like a piece of contemporary furniture, allowing it to double as a sideboard when not in use. Vollrath offers a mobile solution with the new ServeWell Induction Workstation, a stainless steel cart that holds from one to three induction hobs, with an undershelf for storage.
Induction hasn’t made quite as big a splash in the griddle category, where the traditional gas and electric models still hold sway. But griddles that use steam—along with gas or electric heat—are finding favor with many operators due to their quick recovery times. Accu-Temp’s Accu-Steam griddle uses water stored in a hermetically sealed chamber under the cooking surface to create steam. The Steam Shell from American Griddle also has circulating steam underneath but adds a clamshell-type “lid” which, when closed, disperses steam above the griddle surface, too. The fact that these griddles can return to optimal temperature in a few seconds makes them a good choice during rush periods.
Cooking up ethnic cuisines
- The flat Spanish grill called the plancha is similar to a griddle, maintaining direct contact with food. But since most planchas reach higher temperatures than the average griddle, cooking is faster. Jade Range offers a line of ranges with plancha tops that measure 18 to 36 inches wide.
- The teppan yaki griddle has become ubiquitous in Japanese steakhouses. Wolf and other manufacturers offer stand-alone teppan yaki grills—even some that are set in the center of dining tables.
- The Mongolian barbecue style of stir-fry cooking traditionally is done on a large, rounded cooktop with a surrounding rim. Town Food Service Equipment makes a line of gas-powered Mongolian barbecue ranges in sizes up to 72 inches in diameter—accommodating six chefs.