As someone who has cooked and written professionally about food off and on all my life, it’s quite natural to pay attention to ranges — especially French restaurant ranges — which we’re seeing in home kitchens more frequently these days. Most of these “pianos,” as French chefs refer to their stoves, cost as much as the best cars. But they have been brought home as the ultimate kitchen luxury – particularly the custom La Cornue range, a favorite of top kitchen designers like Mick De Giulio. La Cornue is now sold by Williams-Sonoma Home.
Many of the French restaurant ranges in kitchens lately are enormous! By that I mean more than 6-feet long. These veritable eco systems that occupy entire walls. Complete with storage cupboards, warming ovens, rotisseries, induction units, salamanders, water baths, char grills, griddles, French tops and high-powered open burners plus ovens lined in cast iron, these are the monster trucks of the food world, tricked out with any feature the owner desires.
The largest range I’ve seen in any home kitchen, and perhaps the most expensive, is the 11-1/2-foot long Bonnet, set up in a Connecticut home [top]. The range is the focal point of a kitchen addition to a 1940s stone manor house and the design is by Victoria Hagan. Bonnet’s Maestro range is housed under a gargantuan arched custom copper hood. The set up includes storage cupboards, a gas oven, warming ovens, 4 burners, an induction unit, a plancha (griddle) for searing, a salamander and perhaps the ultimate accessory – a plating rail that runs along the entire front. Additionally, this kitchen has electric wall ovens used for baking, two dishwashers and specialized prep zones for baking and flower arrangement. Many small hotels aren’t equipped to this extent.
In a kitchen designed by Mick De Giulio, a black La Cornue from the Chateau series (which appears to be the 48-inch Chateau 120) , with double ovens (one gas; one electric) is built out by the brand’s matching storage units. The installation looks about 12-feet long and combines drawers and slide-out storage bins filled by $290 Vanelle walnut baskets with leather handles.
Another La Cornue (which appears to be the Grand Palais 180) is set into an imposing stone niche in a Colorado kitchen. I’m a bit jarred by the combination of rustic stone and traditional blue and white tiles (someone must have visited Monet’s Giverny Kitchen). But what this range wall lacks in design wisdom it makes up for with enthusiasm. This a showstopper of a range which retails in the $50,000 range. And because size and cost so clearly matters in each of these kitchens — a statement of the most serious culinary intent.
(Source: At Home with Town & Country, de giulio, djarchitects)
For more on French ranges see: Black French Range in a White Kitchen
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