Advice from Other Experts:
High-End Appliance Shopping
By Tim Murray
As you venture into the hypothetical sea of appliance stores and salespersons
in search of your dream kitchen, which will aesthetically please your family
and guests as well as perform to your sense of taste, keep the following points
in mind. Just as in shopping for a car, appliances come in many different sizes,
shapes, and models. During your shopping process, take a moment to absorb
what you have learned and prioritize what features are most important.
Is performance an issue? The amount of sound a product emits? Does it
boast a state-of-the-art design? Prioritizing makes it easier for you
to decide which product to choose based on YOUR needs. Attempt to strike
a balance between form and function.
Some ovens feature meat probes that will measure the temperature of the
meat and automatically shut off the oven and notify you when your perfectly
cooked poultry, beef, or lamb is ready. Many ovens now give you the ability
to cook with either thermal or convection heat. Thermal heat is produced
by an element, and no matter where the heat element is situated, the hottest
area of the oven is at the top and the coolest is at the bottom. A convection
oven conveys heat by a fan that circulates the hot air. The circulating
air penetrates the food faster and more evenly than the motionless air
of a standard "conventional" or "thermal" oven. Some ovens have "fine-tuning"
capabilities that allow one-third top element and full bottom or one-third
bottom and full top element combined with thermal or convection heat.
These different cooking modes can provide cooks with finishing cooking
capabilities that have never been available in the past.
The rising popularity of the professional gas cooktop has resulted in increasingly
powerful burners available for residential use. Some burners can output
20,000 British thermal units (Btu). This impressive number will bring any pot of water to a boil
in a short period of time. Although the upper limits of these burners
is quite amazing, remember to also ask how low a burner can go. The ability
of these burners to simmer is as important as their ability to quickly
boil a pot of water. Some professional-strength burners now have the ability
to simmer at levels as low as 500 Btu.
The popularity of professional cooking equipment has created a need for
proper ventilation equipment, as some professional gas cooktops can produce
upwards of 16,000 Btu per burner. Let's use a 36-inch cooktop with six burners
as an example. Although not common, assume all six burners are being used
simultaneously. That would result in 96,000 Btu of heat. Combine that
heat output with steam and grease emitted while cooking and you'll start
to get an idea of why a proper ventilation system is so important. Many professional
brands recommend 300 cubic feet per minute (CFM) per linear foot of cooking
surface. That would equate to a minimum of 900 CFM for a 36-inch cooktop.
Every kitchen has differing ventilation needs; consult your local dealer
and designer for more information regarding your kitchen's requirements.
The phenomenon of built-in refrigeration continues to gain strength. As
more players introduce their products to the marketplace, consumers are
being provided greater choice, higher quality, and competitive prices.
Many of these state-of-the-art refrigeration systems are controlled by
microprocessors resulting in increased efficiency and greater temperature
control, in turn resulting in food staying fresher longer. Many of these built-in
systems are capable of achieving a completely "frameless" or fully integrated
look, allowing the unit to virtually disappear in your kitchen.
Tim Murray * and Larry Purcell are co-founders of the Purcell Murray Company, which has been
distributing the highest-quality kitchen and bath appliances since 1981. Their commitment to
quality and service is exemplified by their superb staff and elegant showroom. The showroom is
located just south of San Francisco in Brisbane and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m. The showroom is open to the public and allows consumers to learn, see, and touch the
various products. Purcell Murray proudly distributes the following products throughout the state
of California: Amana "Special Edition" products, Best, Bosch, Broan, Creda, Franke, Gaggenau,
La Cornue (North America), U-Line (Northern California only), Venmar (Southern California only),
and Wolf. These products are available from Purcell Murray's select dealer network throughout
the state of California.
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