Long time reader of Chowhound but decided to join and post about my thoughts on the Big Chill range we have had for about 18 months.
Two years ago we moved into a 1950s house and we immediately wanted to try and remain true to the heritage of this house.
I wanted to get a vintage stove such as a Chambers or O'keefe and Merit but my wife wanted something that would be easier to have serviced if we needed it. So the search began and we came accross the Big Chill which is essentially a lower end, sealed burner version of a BlueStar.
Despite my efforts to just get a BlueStar with the open burners my wife won because of the look we were trying to have in the house.
Now, before I go any further, let me just say that I am not a professional cook but I really enjoy cooking and the better and more reliable my tools are, the more I like to cook.
So first the burners:
Well, they are sealed so they pretty much cook like any other sealed burner. Honestly, this is the compromise with this stove. I personally think that if you have sealed burners you might as well go to Home Depot or Lowes and get an LG or Samsung or GE Range....normal hot spots and all the other pains as a regular stove...
I really like the oven. Seriously.
First I love that it is an all gas oven, I know this is not the best for all applications because sometimes you want the drier heat that you get with an electric oven. However, in those instances I just use the convection fan.
The oven does seem to take longer to warm up than others that I have used in the past(they were all electric) but that is not an issue in my mind.
This past week alone I made Pizza, Cookies, roast chicken, and several other dishes.
However, the biggest plus for me with the oven is that there is no computer. I just don't like there being computers in items that get hot, really hot. My other main hobby is building computers and I go through lots of trouble to make sure my electronics don't overheat so putting a chip in an oven just screams at me.
My other "oven" is my Big Green Egg which I use as well. I really like to make Sourdough there because I like the slight smokey taste it takes on but the Big Chill is used for everything else.
This is an expensive range, not top of the line by any means but still a pretty good investment.
in 18 months the bulb that lights the oven has gone out once. I had it replaced by a technician under home warranty but you would think this expensive of a range would have come with a spare. Especially since they market it as being "reliable". Therefore it would be nice to have a bulb on hand at all times so that in the even that one goes out you can replace it quickly.
Another gripe is that the chrome trim is rusting in a couple places. This is the one that really irritates me.
I live really close to the Pacific Ocean so I am probably not your common consumer but still, this is something that should not happen at all on a range this expensive.
Finally, would I buy again/recommend to other?
Personally, I would not buy this again. I would rather look for a real vintage stove or just get the BlueStar. Mainly because I would rather have the open burners and I can't stand the fact that this thing is rusting already.
My wife is also with me on this and says next time she just wants to get a BlueStar and keep the great oven and have the open burners and avoiding rust issues.
I would recommend this range to people looking for the vintage look though. It's really a gorgeous range and fits the bill nicely if you want to keep that design aspect. However, that is the only reason I would recommend it.
We will probably be moving again in another year and we had originally said we would take this range with us and just buy something cheap to go with the house. After 18 months we have decided that the range goes with the house....we will be making a switch to something else.