I have been involved in the buying and selling of French Ranges for over 15 years, both commercial and residential. I have sold $250k custom Diva suites and $7,000 Lacanche ranges. I
love French ranges, I love their style and their performance. This website is my attempt to cut through the hype about them and provide some real advice. I'd like to say I am utterly unbiased, except
that I care too much about quality.
So, Delaubrac... In this country, Delaubrac is a virtually unknown range. Priced a little more than a Lacanche but a whole lot less than a La Cornue, it would seem to be one of the "lower tier" of French ranges. However, its a much better range than Lacanche, and I would say at least equal to La Cornue. A really good find for the money...
If anyone is interested in the Delaubrac line, I can point you to the RIGHT place to get one. They have made the ever so common mistake of going with a BAD distributor in the USA, but there is at least one good retailer i know of.... just post a comment on this and I will forward you info.
P.S. all of this will eventually come out.... but if my employer knew I was writing this blog, I would be fired in a heartbeat. My goal is to conquer the mystery of the 'French range' and just give honest criticism from a person who has touched and used HUNDREDS OF THESE THINGS.
It is only because of Tim Murray at Purcell Murray that all of you reading this blog know La Cornue. He was and is the true mastermind behind La Cornue's name and prestige. Its not that they aren't very pretty ranges, but they are however overpriced and under-designed.
Even with that, I love the Chateau series from La Cornue (the range pictured here). They're designed well, built solidly, and they have the mystique that they've acquired from Purcell Murray's p.r. campaign.
However, I would strongly discourage anyone thinking of buying a 'CornuFe'... or for that matter, the 'Albertine' they're coming out with now (what used to be called the CornuFe 90).
And here we have the Sully from Lacanche. I consider Lacanche to be on the lower tier of the French ranges, but they are a great looking stove for the money. Given the option of spending $7,000 on a Wolf or a Lacanche, I would surely go with Lacanche over all the American pro-style ranges. Just check out the forums at GardenWeb or any other gathering of appliance people to see how fanatical their fan base is.
Lacanche's ranges are the lightest of all the French ranges, and while that isn't necessarily a measure of quality, I file that away as another exhibit in my measure of their quality. It doesn't have a chassis, its not built the same way a Diva or a Molteni is. I'll talk more about the physical construction of French ranges in the future, as thats one of the things that sets them apart from any other pro-style ranges on the market...
And here we see Le Petit Gastronome by Molteni Classic Ranges. Molteni was the famous grandparent, so to speak, of all the French ranges on the market today. Not seen much in the United States, but their name still carries a lot of weight.
This model is atypical for Molteni. A fusion of a Molteni and Electrolux, the quality is not as good as a true Molteni range.
That said, it will still kick a Viking or a Wolf's ass...
Here you see the Diva 900 from Diva de Provence. The company has made a name for itself in America with its forays into induction cooking, which are notable. But its their classic French custom ranges that I want to speak about. Diva has a great history and is a company worthy of respect. For those looking for the highest level of quality (i.e. you want better than La Cornue) I'd advise starting by looking at some of these.
While Diva were making 900mm ranges before anybody else on the market, except Lacanche (who have the lower end of the French range market locked tight), its their larger custom ranges where they really stand out. And the rotisserie they used to make... but that's a different story.