The conversation seems to have veered to include gas vs electric for the tops as well as the ovens. Tim, the OP, seems to already have settled on a gas top, so there's no point in extolling its virtues. Forgive my lurch back to the topic.
Cooking in a Restaurant and Cooking at Home:
They aren't the same things. Because of differences in quantities, time parameters, restaurant and home cooking use different techniques and equipment. That's a good thing.
If you've got the skills and patience, you can produce food at excellent restaurant level -- but you're not going to go about it in exactly the same way.
If you really want to cook like a pro, throw out the non-stick, get some knife skills, and work with mise en place
. To dual fuel or not to dual fuel is a distant also ran.Commercial Ranges and Commercial Style Residential Ranges, Generally:
Look. They're not the same. For one thing, commercial ranges have a much larger gas inlet and can pump a heck of a lot more BTUs out the burners. For another, commercial kitchens which do a lot of baking, top-browning, rotisserie or whatever have additional, specialized equipment to do it. They mostly use range ovens for roasting and holding.
Commercial style residentials have more in common with regular residentials even though the manufacturers and retailers heavily promote the
In terms of the quality of the food that's not as big a difference as you might think. Speed yes. Quality, not so much. Give yourself enough time to cook, learn to preheat, and you've negated most of a commercial range's advantage.
There are a few good reasons to buy a commercial style residential. The three most important are size, features, and appearance.
One of the best features in dual fuel ranges is convection ovens. Another is an IR broiler -- although you can get IR in gas now, since TEC starting sharing technology.Answering Your Questions:
- Most restaurant ranges use gas ovens -- they're cheaper. There really isn't much of a performance difference.
- The big advantage in having an electric oven in your commercial-style range is convection. It is a big advantage, make no mistake. If you can get self-cleaning, that's a good thing too for a home kitchen.
Is Wolf the Best?
Wolf residential, commercial-style ranges have nothing to do with Wolf commercial ranges beyond knobs and logos. They're not even the same company. Wolf commercial ranges are made by Wolf, and Wolf residential is Sub Zero.
When Sub Zero introduced the Wolf residential line, the ranges were among the most expensive money could be, but were not necessarily the best. Since then, the prices have become more competitive and the ranges (supposedly) more reliable.
Most people aren't aware that almost all ranges are assembled from components made by third party, OEM manufacturers. Consequently, despite being sold under different names there's as much commonality as difference. It's all very mix and match. Surprising or not, that's how it is.
A few BTUs more or less is not going to make any difference in the use or enjoyment you get from your new stove. 14,500 vs 16,000 BTU at the front is not a life changer.
The biggest issues with expensive ranges are related to reliability. For instance, reliability itself; parts availability; cost of repairs; etc. I'm not sure where Wolf stands relative to everyone else. Before you make your final purchase decisions I urge you to investigate who repairs what, and so on. You could do worse than call an independent stove repairman and ask a bunch of questions.
When I used to have current knowledge about these things, my impression was that Jade made the best commercial-style ranges, and that American Range gave you the most bang for the buck (but hardly inexpensive). Is Wolf a Good Choice for You?
If you're set on buying a commercial style, can afford Wolf, and really like the way it looks -- yes. If you value features over looks, it depends. If you're looking for absolute quality, maybe. Bang for the buck, no.
Buy a dual fuel.