Love to cook with gas
Aug 22, 2009 (Updated Oct 9, 2010)
Review by jamtex
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Quick gas cooking, excellent variable controls, stable continuous grates.
Cons:Black is a pain to clean, simmer is too high, reliability has been an issue.
The Bottom Line: Cooking with gas is a joy; I love cooking again! But I hate cleaning it; that black glass shows every streak and bit of dust.
Last year we gutted our kitchen and replaced all the cabinets and almost all of the appliances. This project included finally running in a gas line so I could get rid of the 1976 GE Corning ware smoothtop electric cooktop, which has to be one of the worst cooking inventions since man first put meat on a stick and stuck it into a fire! I grew up cooking on a gas stove and always loved to cook and create new recipes, but 11 years of that electric cooktop had me hating to cook.
Recommend this product?
My next-door-neighbor, bless him, builds custom houses, and offered to help, which meant not only being lucky enough to get a custom cabinet builder to do the cabinets at contractor cost, but also getting the appliances at wholesale.
My aunt has a fairly new house with Kitchenaid appliances, including a 5-burner gas cooktop. I've used hers, and really like it, so I decided to get a similar one for my new kitchen. After consulting our budget and what our neighbor's supplier could get, we went with the KGCC566RBL model cook-top. Since my new cabinets are natural maple, and the quartz countertop is blue flecked, I thought black appliances would look really sharp. And they do.
First the specs:
The cooktop is 36 7/16" wide, by 20 5/16" across, by 2 7/8" deep. It requires 120V, 60 Hz, AC copper wire connection, and a time-delay fuse and separate circuit breaker is recommended by the manufacturer. It should be installed by professionals.
It has five sealed burners in three sizes and four BTU measurements, one in each front corner, and three across the back. The largest burner is the front left, 17,000 BTU, the two smallest are the 6,000 BTU left rear and right front. The middle and right back burners are 9,100 and 12,500 BTU's respectively.
The matte black plastic "infinite heat" control knobs are in the front middle, easy to reach and see, and easily removed for cleaning. Just pull them off, and when you're through cleaning, fit them back on.
The three matte black cast iron grates are continuous, making it easy to slide a pot from one burner to another. The two longer grates on each side are notched to fit snuggly against the small knobs at each end of the shorter back middle grate; all have little rubber feet to keep them from either slipping or scratching the cooktop surface.
The surface is smooth ceramic glass; nice, shiny black.
The large, 17,000 BTU burner needs adjusting, and I haven't figured out how to do that, yet, mostly because I haven't taken the time to do so. It sometimes takes a few extra seconds to light, while gas is meanwhile building up, which results in a large "whumpf" and blast of flame when it does catch. It's a bit... scary. And I've noticed this same issue with my aunt's cooktop, too, so I think it may be something Kitchenaid needs to address.
The one and only thing that old electric cooktop did well was a very low simmer. That's great when you're cooking rice, or trying to keep cider/cranberry punch hot, and it's the ONLY thing I miss. Even the small 6,000 BTU burners on this model don't quite seem to simmer as low, and I have to watch it when I'm cooking rice.
Aside from rice, I love how fast it cooks, especially compared to that old clunker. The infinitely variable temperature knobs make it easy to control the heat, and my omelets have never been better. I don't do any deep-frying, but I do sauté a lot, and I make sauces and steam veggies, and I love being able to go from high heat to low heat without having to take the pan OFF the heat! As Gershwin said, "S'wonderful"!!
That said, I will NEVER get a black ceramic glass appliance again! Kitchenaid claims that it's easy to clean, well, yeah, spilled food does wipe up easily... but it streaks. And smears. And shows every single speck and mote of dust that gets near it. In fact, I think it attracts dust to it like a magnet! It looks sharp when it's clean, but next time I'll go for white or almond.
09/09/2009 Update re the issue of the largest burner not turning on immediately: The burner is getting worse about lighting. Now it really shoots flame out the side when it finally lights, and the flame is noticably higher one side of the burner by several inches, no matter the setting. Tonight it flamed over my hand on the knob as I turned it on, and even on med-low heat it flamed up the side of a 10" saute pan. It has been suggested that there's too much pressure, but I have no idea how to adjust that.
I just used the Kitchenaid website to schedule a service call, and will let ya'll know how that goes. The website was easy to use, and not only let me select the date I wanted the service, but had three options for time: 8:00 AM - 12:00PM, 8:00AM - 5:00 PM, or 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM. We chose the all-day option for day after tomorrow, so we'll see how long that takes.
09/11/2009 Service call: Boy, am I blonde. The very nice service man was here by 8:30 this morning, and the first thing he did was move the grate, then reseat the flat black cap that sits on top of the burner. The burner now lights perfectly.
He said that if those burner caps are even the slightest bit askew, it changes the airflow to the burner, and causes difficulty lighting and uneven flame. He said it's a common problem (that just cost me $130 to learn about) that he sees quite often. I felt really, really dumb. Also a little incredulous, because I have cleaned that stove many times since it was installed in April '08, and I have trouble accepting that I could have so consistently NOT put the burner cap back on correctly! He did say it was possible that the cap was a bit warped, and since the parts are still covered under warranty (labor, alas, is not), just went ahead and ordered a new one, which will be sent directly to us. Then he scheduled the return call to install the new burner, politely accepted our check, and wished us a good day.
The burner worked beautifully tonight. And I feel really blonde.
10/08/2010 Update: For the most part, I've enjoyed the cooktop, except for the smears left after cleaning, and the too-high simmer. BUT... one day as I was standing at the other counter, I heard a very loud POP behind me - almost sounded like a gunshot - that startled the heck out of me.
Turns out that the cast iron grate over the smallest burner (front right, and one of the two most used) just... cracked. Have you ever heard cast iron break? Hasn't affected the performance of the burner any, and while the grate is cracked all the way through in that one spot, it's not actually got a chunk broken out, and is usable.
I talked to the supplier (I've learned my lesson on KitchenAid's customer service!), and he ordered a new grate for me under warranty. Said he's never heard of this happening before. The new grate arrived, but it doessn't quite fit - the grates are notched and pegged to lock together, and the notch on this one is not quite in alignment with the others. I can use it, but I'm keeping the old cracked one, too.
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