The heart of any commercial kitchen is the natural gas range – but getting the most out of this all-important appliance requires careful consideration of available configurations. Before making any final purchase decisions for your natural gas range, be sure to familiarize yourself with all the different features and options offered by your manufacturer of choice.
Finding the right range configuration to match your unique kitchen requirements is key to boosting speed and efficiency in your workflow while maximizing the performance and longevity of your appliance.
Natural Gas Range Stove Top Options
In most commercial kitchens, the top of the natural gas range is used considerably more than the bottom. To get the configuration just right, you will need to consult with the head chef and consider cooking preferences and needs for both your current menu and any planned future changes.
- Open burners: Open burners are the most versatile part of any stove top as they can be used to fry, boil, sauté, and more. In most cases, two open burners per range are considered the bare minimum. Add more when needed.
- Smooth griddle: Most commonly utilized for breakfast service, a smooth griddle does more than fry eggs and cook up flapjacks. From burger patties to toasty sandwiches and other lunch favorites, a smooth griddle will be a stalwart in any diner-like setting. Note that many manufacturers offer an open burner smooth griddle combination, with varying griddle dimensions.
- Plancha: At first glance, a plancha looks just like a standard smooth griddle, but the circular burner strategically placed underneath makes all the difference. The plancha provides a hot cooking surface in the center with cooler edges to give the cook more control over cooking temperatures plus room to keep food warm without over-cooking.
- French Top: The French Top features graduated heat working out from the center ring that makes it easy to sauté, simmer, and warm food all at the same time, without needing to adjust any burner knobs. To use a French Top, the chef simply slides pots and pans around the flat-top surface to find the perfect area to meet current temperature requirements.
- Charbroiler: To get those hot, direct flames that leave iconic grill marks on steak, burgers, chicken, and fish, your kitchen will need a charbroiler.
- Broiler: A broiler is a separate drawer that provides intense concentrated heat from the top of the unit. Two common types of broilers, salamanders or cheese melters, could be a convenient addition for finishing off certain dishes.
The most important decision you will need to make regarding the oven on any natural gas range is to choose between conventional or convection. The heat source in a standard natural gas oven is stationary whereas the circulation fan in a convection oven generates even heating throughout the cavity.
Convection ovens use less energy and result in faster cooking times with more consistent heating but certain delicate dishes and breads come out better when baked in a conventional oven.
A couple of lower configurations worth considering include:
- Cabinet base: Ideal in kitchens that are tight on space and have little to no need for baking, opting for a storage space to keep pots, pans, and utensils could be a good fit.
- Refrigerator or freezer: Storing ingredients right where the cook needs them can add an extra layer of efficiency in kitchens that feature a simple menu that is primarily cooked on the griddle.
Mix and Match
Planning an effective commercial kitchen requires the perfect balance of best utilizing available space without packing too many appliances into the work area to allow cooks to move freely. Once you have figured out your exact configuration needs, the right combination of natural gas ranges and other appliances can be mapped out in the kitchen.