Before you head to The NAFEM Show 2017, learn what features to look for in today’s higher-efficicency range options.
The range is one of the oldest cooking platforms in the foodservice kitchen. To this day, they are revered for their versatility, dependability, durability, simplicity and variety of models. A basic range with multiple top burners and an oven base is capable of performing nearly all wet and dry cooking functions with the help of a supporting cast of pots and pans.
The availability of broilers, griddles/plancas, solid and French hot tops and even induction cook-tops on heavy-duty hotel and restaurant ranges provides even more cooking capabilities. Multiple modular heavy-duty ranges can be connected into linear cooking batteries or positioned back-to-back into creative chef cooking suites, complete with integrated shelving, sinks, dry or refrigerated storage, plus plenty of work surface for prep and plating.
The addition of electro-magnetic induction heat transfer as an alternative to gas burners and electric resistance elements has further expanded range cooking options. Initially available only as small single or twin hob portable countertop hot plates, their efficiency, safety, performance and popularity has spurred development of more powerful induction coils, more sophisticated controls and more robust multi-pan hot tops.
With all these variants and capabilities, a range is found in most restaurant, retail and institutional kitchens. That demand and a growing cadre of competitive suppliers has driven product differentiation, creating new range types and styles to better fit the needs of that diversified customer base.
Refining a category
Products: Endurance Restaurant Ranges Company: Vulcan
Spurred on by an influx of Asian-built gas ranges and domestic countertop range alternatives, old-school manufacturers have responded with their own line extensions and innovative design refinements for the range.
While fielding a very broad and popular cooking equipment line, Vulcan has redesigned and upgraded virtually all its products, including ranges. The company’s offerings include the Endurance Restaurant Range Line and Countertop Series, V-Series Heavy Duty Ranges, plus specialty models and supporting range-match cooking equipment.
In 2016, the Endurance Line got a new 24-inch char-broiler that uses Vulcan’s Supercharger technology for an even heat distribution. The V-Series added new 24- and 36- inch IRX infrared broiler-top options, which are available on oven, cabinet or refrigerated base models.
More 411: In addition, its award-winning high effi ciency PowerFry3 Fryers are available as range-match models, with optional KleenScreen plus oil fi ltration. There’s also a composite griddle plate option that delivers faster heating, more uniform surface temps and easy cleanups.
A better way to sauté
Products: Ice & Heat Sauté Station Company: The Montague Company
Need a more effi cient way to sauté? While refrigerated equipment stands allow chefs to store fresh ingredients below countertop cooking equipment, several manufactures have introduced special sauté stations that make these cook-toorder work stations even more user- friendly and task effi cient. The Montague Company is a 150-(plus)-year-old company that continues to innovate. Its newest addition to the Legend Heavy Duty Range Line is a Glycol Ice and Heat Sauté Station, which earned a 2015 National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations (KI) award. This work station combines both hot- and cold-side capabilities, including: three or more 30,000 BTU frontmounted gas burners; a handy rear-mounted glycol-chilled ingredient cold rail; a supportive drawer-type refrigerated equipment stand.
More 411: A dependable Turbo Coil is used to chill and circulate R-290 Ethylene Glycol (a heat transfer liquid) to the heavily insulated top rail, maintaining safe ingredient temperatures only inches from those hot burners, even when the insulated lid is open for easy access. These spacesaving sauté stations are available in: 36-, 48-, 60- and 72-inch widths; with three, four, five or six raised-port star burners, respectively. The size and number of bottom refrigerated drawers and top-side (1/3 or 1/6) rail pans vary with unit width.
Raising the bar
Products: Hestan Ranges Company: Hestan Commercial
Not all new range manufacturers are imports.
Anaheim, California-based Hestan Commercial is a major new player on the range scene after introducing its line at the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show in February of 2015. Focusing on both performance and aesthetics, Hestan did its homework to make each top and base design more effective and chef-friendly.
All that hard work earned Hestan two 2015 NRA KI Awards. One was for their modular salamander- cheesemelter-shelving system designed to hang off sturdy stainless steel rear risers, which allows them to be moved laterally to change location as needed. The other was for its French tops that have 35,000 BTU/hour burners surrounded by a stainless steel radiant cone that focuses heat on the center plate, providing up to 1000-degree center heat and perimeter heat as low as 320 degrees.
More 411: In 2016, Hestan earned another NRA KI Award for its unique open burner tops, which have high performance sealed single- or dualring burner heads, mounted above stainless steel burner bowls; with a water bath with overflow drain positioned below; and top grates fabricated from heavy 1/2-inch stainless steel bars.
And if you are tired of plain old stainless steel, Hestan offers optional textured (Marquise) stainless steel control panels and a choice of front and side panel colors that can dress up a range, battery or chef suite destine for open or display kitchens.
Energy saving gas ranges?
Product: Green Flame Technology Company: American Range
With those multiple open burners, ranges are not known for their efficiency, but the times they are changing.
While not as old as some range manufacturers, American Range has rapidly expanded its American- Made product lines and added designs and performance features to meet the needs of today’s restaurant operators. American has recently added ranges with Spark Ignition Green Flame Technology.
Green Flame models have a pilot-less burner ignition system (PBIS) that uses direct spark ignition to light individual range top and oven burners. No standing pilot means no time wasted lighting pilots each day, less energy wasted when burners are not being used, and less heat in the kitchen. They automatically reignite any burner if the flame goes out. These models also use the AMERICAN STAR high-efficiency 30,000 BTU range top burners.
More 411: Sometimes, less is more. While most manufacturers offer four and six burner ranges, American was first to introduce a five burner 36-inch range. Its 365 Series range burners are configured with an oversize center-mounted burner grate designed to accommodate the largest stock pots, without overlapping or blocking the four perimeter burners. All five burners are rated at 32,000 BTUs. The 365 Series can be ordered with a 26.5-inch or larger 32-inch wide oven base.
How suite are they?
Product: thermalineMade to Measure (M2M) Company: Electrolux Professional
The chef or island suite was first developed in Europe by premiere cooking equipment manufacturers. With the growing popularity of TV cooking shows, celebrity chefs and open-kitchen restaurant designs, most major North American range builders have developed sleek chef suites.
Electrolux Professional has introduced “Made to Measure” (M2M) chef dream suite customization to its Thermaline chef suites. Chose from gas, electric or induction cooktop capabilities and from over 40 equipment options. The suite also includes full-surface induction units that can accommodate 16 pans at once.
More 411: A Thermaline M2M suite can include new flush-mounted, triple-ring, high-efficiency flower- flame burners; frytops (griddles) with a durable non-stick Powertop surface; multi-purpose aquacookers (water bath cookers) for pasta, sous-vide or bain marie use; powerful char-broilers with a patented high-efficiency gas heating system; and integrated refrigerater and freezer bases.
More sizes, power, control
Product: Adventys Induction Cookers for Professionals Company: Equipex
With its growing popularity, more manufacturers are offering induction- heated cooking and holding equipment in more sizes, with more sophisticated control capabilities than ever.
Equipex has added powerful induction cookers to its extensive line of countertop equipment. The Adventys Induction Line includes countertop, semi-recessed and drop-in model cooking hobs equipped with large 11-inch diameter (magnetron) coils, delivering 2.5, 3 or 3.6 kilowatts of power. That’s more power than typical single hob models with 7.5- or 8-inch coils. Both flush-mount and countertop/ semi-recessed (curved coil) wok-style hobs are available with 3.6 kilowatts. All models feature easy-to-clean touch controls with automatic pan detection, controlled high temperature for stir fry and sauté applications, plus precision low temperature control and empty pan/overheat protection.
More 411: Want to do some induction cooking but don’t have a kitchen ventilation hood where needed? Equipex can solve that conundrum with its Small Appliance Ventless Hood. The easy-to-clean SAV-G Model is designed for surface heating equipment, including induction ranges, providing efficient capture of heat, grease and smoke.
Product: Lang Wave 36-inch Electric Induction Top Range Company: Lang Manufacturing
Lang is the preeminent player in electric-heated ranges. So it is no surprise it has embraced induction coil heating. For example, the RI36S-ATE Model is a 36-inch wide range with six induction coils up top, mounted on an even heating full-size electric oven/base.
More 411: This heavy-duty, all-electric range has 21.6 kilowatts total power input, with 2.6 kilowatts per individual induction coil. The oven is insulated on all six sides, has an aluminium steel interior and adjustable pan rack side supports. The solid state controls are accurate to 4 degrees, with an operating range of 150 to 450 degrees.
What’s HOT in hot plates
Product: Ultra-Max Gas Step-Up Hot Plates Company: Star Manufacturing
Countertop ranges use to be pretty basic, but not anymore.
Some sophisticated restaurant ranges are available in step-up burner configurations that provide easier access to rear burners. Star Manufacturing has stepped up its Ultra-Max Hot Plate Line with the addition of Step-Up variants, available in 12-, 24-, 36- and 48-inch wide models; with two, four, six or eight 30,000 BTU burners, respectively.
More 411: Not everyone has the space or need for a large wok range. In answer, Star introduced the STAR-MAX Gas Wok Range. Like its other countertop equipment lines, this gas-heated wok range is only 19.4 inches deep. It’s available in two- or three-burner models that are just over 24 and 36 inches wide, respectively. Each cast iron wok burner puts out 25,000 BTUs and has a heavy-duty stainless steel wok ring.