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June 23, 2006

What does a $180,000 stove look like?


See above.

It's a new Molteni range, recently installed by a specialized rigging firm using a series of small cranes in the Park Hyatt Washington [D.C.] hotel's Blue Duck Tavern kitchen.

That's executive chef Brian McBride standing in front of his new über-tool.

Specs: it measures 18 feet by 6 feet, weighs 5,400 pounds, has six brass burners, custom hardware, a mirror-finish stainless-steel griddle, sauté station, two deep fryers (one designated solely for duck fat to crisp french fries), four refrigerator drawers and heated storage areas.

The cobalt enamel, knobs and handrails were all created to order.

Twelve technicians spent six weeks building the bespoke range in Saint-Vallier, France.

It's the first of its kind in a Washington restaurant kitchen but won't be the last.

Turns out, according to Walter Nicholls's story in the June 14 Washington Post Food section, that one Molteni stove is in place in a residence in the Washington suburbs.

Residential models, should you be considering an upgrade, run $23,000 to $75,000.

Here's the Post article.

    Some Heavy Lifting Installs a Showcase Range in Its New Home

    For two days recently, a large wooden crate containing a gleaming, cobalt blue-enameled stove with a price tag of $180,000 sat on the pavement on 24th Street NW in the West End.

    The Park Hyatt Washington's construction team couldn't figure out how to get the unwieldy, 5,400-pound, 18-by-6-foot Molteni (pronounced MOLE-ten-ee) commercial range into the Blue Duck Tavern, which is scheduled to open for dinner on Friday.

    In the end, a Manassas rigging firm was brought in. With a series of small cranes, the impressive range, which took 12 technicians six weeks to build in Saint-Vallier, France, was set in place in the open kitchen that flows into the 106-seat, modern/American Craftsman-style dining room conceived by New York designer Tony Chi.

    "It's a monster -- one incredibly sleek machine," executive chef Brian McBride said as he fired up one of the six brass stovetop burners.

    McBride worked for 19 years in the hotel's far less glamorous kitchen, which served the former Melrose restaurant. The hotel has been closed for nearly a year for a near-total renovation costing $24 million.

    McBride's new stove is named for the Provencal stove maker Joseph Molteni, who went into business in 1923, and is favored by many top European chefs. Manufactured from cast iron and brushed steel, each stove is custom-built to the chef's specifications.

    In addition to the six burners, McBride chose a mirror-finish stainless steel griddle, sauté station, two deep fryers -- one designated solely for duck fat to crisp french fries -- four refrigerator drawers and heated storage areas. The exact dimensions, color, knobs and handrails are all created to order.

    It's the only commercial Molteni in the Washington area, according to a company spokeswoman. (Only one area resident, a Silver Spring woman, has one of the residential-size models, which range in price from $23,000 to $75,000.) Molteni is part of the Electrolux Group of appliance manufacturers.

    McBride's New American menu will feature local purveyors and include the origin of the ingredients, such as pork shoulder from Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va., served with black walnut glaze, and five-hour braised short ribs from Four Story Hill Farm in Honesdale, Pa. Entrees, which range in price from $18 to $32, will be delivered to the table in silver-plated casseroles.

    Like a teenager smitten with his first car, McBride vows to keep his new stove shiny. "I'm going to hand-wash it twice a day," he says.

June 23, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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