Home at the Range

Cooks may differ on how much seasoning to add to the soup, but one thing they all agree upon: The better the range, the easier it is to get it just right.

By Ian McLean

A range is a very personal choice in a very public space in the house. Chefs rank the range right up there with knives. Whether you choose gas, electric or induction — the latter is gaining a strong following among the pros — the range is the centerpiece of the kitchen. It is the artwork at the heart of the home. We are talking about performance and function, but also aesthetics.

Check out these top-notch ovens. They are high-powered, efficient and beautiful in any kitchen. Warning: Upgrading the range may prompt a makeover of the entire kitchen.

AGA TOTAL CONTROL COOKER

The British have sworn by them for ages; converts wondered how they managed without one. The TC3 and TC5 bring AGA cooking to a new level. AGA is a completely different way of cooking from other ranges; there are no flames or electric elements, and no temperature dials. And you can bake, roast, boil, simmer and warm, all at the same time. The ovens radiate even heat from their walls—eliminating hot spots—and every square inch of oven space is available for cooking. They are controlled and programmed with a state-of-art touchscreen panel and remote control. The hotplates are each 14.5 inches to accommodate large pans. As with all AGA Range Cookers, the TC3 and TC5 are available in 12 colors. TC3, about $15,000; TC5, about $20,000. Five local dealers sell AGA and are listed online. AGA Marvel, 800.525.5601 | aga-ranges.com

OFFICINE GULLO

Handcrafted in the famous metalwork tradition of Florence, Italy, the Officine Gullo reflects the Italian sense of sleek, timeless design. Metal kitchens date back to 18th-century Tuscany, and Officine Gullo, a third-generation family-owned company, can fabricate an entire custom kitchen from metal. With 212 color options and three finish options, you can make your kitchen exactly the way you want it, whether contemporary or traditional. Ranges start at around $18,500. Officine Gullo USA, 800.781.7125 | officinegullo.com

WOLF DUAL FUEL RANGE

At 60 inches, the Wolf Dual Fuel Range packs maximum space, power, control and dual convection double ovens. 10 cooking modes in each oven and five choices of range-top configurations deliver flexibility to suit your cooking needs. Two fans and multiple heating units control heat and airflow to eliminate hot and cold spots in the ovens. The dual-stacked, sealed burners provide two tiers of flame ports on each burner; one delivers high heat and the other only a simmer of heat. Available at Exquisite Kitchen Design, Denver, 303.282.0382 | myekdesign.com; Sub-zero and Wolf, 800.222.7820 |subzero-wolf.com

THERMADOR PRO GRAND STEAM RANGE

The Pro Grand Steam Range, the star of the Thermador line, is the first high-performance range with a built-in steam and convection oven. The sealed burner’s five-point design allows for more ports and flame than a round burner. This Ultimate Culinary Center features seven cooking options including extra-low simmering; 22,000 BTU power burner; titanium-coated griddle; a large convection oven; warming drawer; and steam-and-convection oven. $15,399. Check online to find a dealer near you. 800.735.4328 | thermador.com

LACANCHE SULLY

The hand-assembled Lacanche Sully is a functional work of art from France. Configure it to suit your cooking needs: Custom order with one gas and one electric oven and select the BTUs of four of the upper burners or plates. The burners come in graduated BTUs for a fine temperature control. Customize the trim with four options: brass, chrome, nickel or brushed stainless. The Lacanche surface is durable kiln-fired porcelain enamel that is available in 23 premium colors, as well as custom colors. From $13,500. 800.570.2433 | frenchranges.com