There's an old saying:
It's quite an old saying so you maybe haven't heard it before. Maybe.
But there's a lot of truth to it. The stove (or range if you prefer) is the guts of your kitchen. And unless, like reader Susie, you only have a kitchen because your house happened to come with one, your stove is probably pretty important to you.
I told you before that I would be getting a BlueStar range. I got mine from Costco as opposed to from BlueStar because even though it doesn't have the same interior finish or quite as many BTU's it's also thousands of dollars less at Costco.
I paired it with an astonishingly powerful G.E. Cafe range hood from Home Depot.
And here they are ...
The BlueStar range (both the Costco and higher end version) have something that's called an open burner system. Most ranges have a sealed burner.
The open burner makes for easier cleaning of the stove because if a pot ever boils over it falls right through the burner system instead of staying on the surface of the stove and baking on there.
To clean up spills, you just slide out the tray underneath the burners and wipe it out. If I were to tell you this has made my life 14 million times easier you'd probably think I was exaggerating. I am not. 14 MILLION TIMES.
And the BlueStar open burner is designed so when you lift the centre grate out of the burner, you can fit your wok in there perfectly. The outer grate cradles the wok, keeping it right next to the open flame and stopping the wok from sliding around your stove.
I believe we're up to 28 million times easier now.
The other thing that changed my life was getting an exhaust fan. Or a range hood in fancy talk. I have lived in this house, cooking every single night, for 15 years without any range hood. If I ever made anything greasier than boiled water I had to run around the house opening windows and doors in a complicated pattern in order to get the smoke to suction out.
If I opened one window too little or a door too much I'd get smoked out of my own house and quite often spent the evening enjoying a pleasant dinner of grubs from the lawn while shooing away the well intentioned fire department(s).
This is a POWERFUL range hood. And that's what I'm recommending you buy if you're ever in the market. My mother for instance bought a cheap exhaust fan and it just doesn't work. It couldn't suck a meow out of a kitten.
Some things you can skimp on in the kitchen and other things you can't. Don't skimp on the range hood. I say that with all the confidence of someone who has owned one for almost an entire month.
What you *can* skimp on is the flue cover. That's the chimney looking part at the top of the hood. G.E. Cafe makes a narrow flue cover that just covers the width of the vent. I wanted something that ran the entire width of the range hood just for aesthetic purposes.
Buying one like that would have meant a cost of around $250-$300 and it wouldn't have fit perfectly (I have 9" above my range hood and the smallest one for sale is 12"). So I found a sheet metal worker to make me a flue cover for a grand total of $60.
I've been using the BlueStar range for a while now and I have to say I'm glad I didn't get the higher end version with more BTUs. I'm barely woman enough to handle the BTUs the Costco version provides. Definitely NOT in need of more BTUs. HOWEVER, if you're thinking of making the jump to a range like this don't be an idiot. Like I was.
I assumed that because I already had a gas range that I could just have this new range hooked up to my old gas lines. But because this range has a gas oven (my old one had gas burners and an electric oven) and is so much more powerful than my previous gas stove I couldn't just hook it up to my old gas line.
My old gas lines weren't big enough to provide enough gas to my new range. If I were to have all 4 burners going and the oven there wouldn't be enough power to have everything bubbling away at full capacity. So I had to have the gas line running from my basement to my range replaced at a cost of around $650 if I remember correctly.
A kitchen renovation is always full of surprises. Life is full of surprises. Some of them are bad. And some of them that will make your life 72 million times better.
Hmm, maybe your friend has another one and wants another friend! :) Thank you for the response. Much appreciated.
I too have a Medalta crock beside my stove holding all my whisks. You can never have too many whisks. By the way, if you ever get to Medicine Hat, the old Medalta Potteries site has been renovated and turned into a museum and the reproduction pieces (the bowls! OMG) are gorgeous! Big mixing bowls and matching sizes down to little prep bowls. And crocks. And mugs. And bean pots! Even original pieces; bowls and plates for sale. Oh, if only I hadn't been flying back to British Columbia ...
LOVE it! I have a viking stove and hood! Hood was super luxurious and is now BROKE! Second time in fact! I miss it! Your kitchen looks spectacular Karen! Bravo.
PS: If you give a moose a muffin....He'll run behind your rolling pin caddy and show you his butt!
SIGH. Jealous :)
Looks like a great stove.....and I really like great stoves.....I convinced my husband to step it up by explaining that having that having a 'great stove' in your kitchen is like having a Harley Davidson in your garage. Enough said......we now have a really great stove....
Late to the party, but that flue cover, hubba hubba. Really nice proportions. How is it attached?
Thanks Cussot! To tell you the truth, it's literally just resting on top. If I wanted to I could just use a dab of silicone to make it stay but because I had it made to fit, it's wedged in there perfectly so it's not going anywhere. ~ karen!
I am in the market for a hood myself. I am very close to buying the same one you bought because I figure you have already done the research. In case you read this and feel like answering, is it very noisy? Is 600 cfms really enough or does it just seem great to you because you had nothing before? I made the STUPID mistake of getting an over the range microwave (never do this). It never worked (because duh. It only covers the back and no one cooks on the back burners. My aunt warned me and I didn't listen... why do they even sell these pieces of crap?) and my custom cabinets are always covered in grease.
Anyway it finally died last week so I don't feel bad getting rid of it. I would even go without a microwave at all in favour of a hood that actually works. Home Depot doesn't list a noise rating, so I'm curious, did you test it out in the store and compare it to other hoods? Our stove is electric but we will probably upgrade to gas soon. My husband is a chef so he only cooks on maximum heat. 600 cfms is the highest Home Depot sells but not the highest out there. Just wondering if 600 is really enough for a home cook who has professional habits? Congratulations on the kitchen. It truly is amazing!!
Thank you for your excellent blog.
Hi Margaret - Thanks! The hood seems to work great. Yes, it's loud, lol. But only when you have it on heavy duty super high. It's been great for me and I cook every night and oftentimes with oil. In fact, if I ever use my deep fryer for anything I stick it on top of the stove and turn the hood on. Does a really good job of getting rid of the stink from the stink monster. So far I've been really happy with it. ~ karen!
Just in case you read this, it's been a year and our range hood saga is still ongoing! The range hood was back ordered (probably because of your great post) so we finally got it in October, then the installation guy said it wouldn't fit under our cabinet because there's not enough clearance and also we need a larger vent. So my husband has taken out the old fan and the cabinet and we want to get the piece of stainless steel above it like you did instead of replacing the cabinet. We are in Toronto. Does your metal guy service Toronto? Who installed the venting for you? It seems like we need so many tradesmen to do this and want to get them in the right order, e.g. tiler, metal worker, vent installer, hood installer, etc. thanks!!
Hi Margaret - I believe the name of the place I used was Burlington sheet metal. Or something like that. I just brought the measurements into him and picked it up a few days later. You should be able to find a sheet metal shop around you to do the same thing. It's literally just a piece of metal cut then bent. Sounds like you're going through a bit o a nightmare! ~ karen
Thanks so much! We are going to get the same one you have and also, great idea about the deep fryer. Ours sits right next to the stove so it will be easy to put it under the fan. I love fish and chips but I don't like my house smelling like them. My twenty year old self could never envision my forty year old self being this excited about a fan. But I really am!! Thanks again!
I was soooooo sold until I read the post about having "extra" hot flashes from the heat. Say it isn't so! I have a glass cooktop. We're remodeling the kitchen in the fall, so I'm doing my research now. Converting to a gas cooktop, but now I'm super paranoid that it will make it too hot to cook on. I''ve never cooked with a gas cooktop. Can't imagine getting a range with the oven next to my lady parts Ü Spontaneous Human Combustion does exist! I don't know what to do now....insert pathetic sad face.
Hi Karen! I'm having this range installed as I type...and guess what they have to move the gas line! :"""(
My gas line is big enough but with my old range it came up as a hard pipe sticking too far out into the opening. Hope we're not looking at $650 but I'm sure it won't be cheap!
How do you find the oven? I have this range at my cottage as well and find it takes forever to heat up. My kids really didn't want one at home for that reason but the aesthetics of the range are just so nice I couldn't resist. Hoping it will be faster now as its been 3 yrs since we bought the last one and crossing my fingers its improved.