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Turn on any cooking show or Iron Chef Competition, and you’re likely to see chefs lighting a gas flame to help cook the perfect dish.
It’s no accident that gas ranges are all the rage in those cooking shows. A study conducted by Fryette Consulting Group indicates that 98 percent of the professional chefs surveyed prefer to cook with natural gas.
The Gas Foodservice Equipment Network (GFEN), which contracted the survey, notes that gas saves time, energy and money.
Better control, consistent results
Professional chefs rely on natural gas primarily because it offers superior temperature control. Unlike electric burners, which take time to heat up, a natural gas burner heats up immediately. And, when the burner is turned off, it cools down quickly so food doesn’t continue to cook.
“This enables the chef to go from a rapid boil to a delicate simmer instantly,” said Jeff Essenburg, vice president, sales, FiveStar, a division of Brown Stove Works Inc.
Cooks can also control the flow of gas, and thus the intensity of the flame, to get the perfect temperature for any food. That level of precise control can be especially important when cooking sauces or other delicate foods and makes natural gas the best choice for many types of cooking.
“The high heat produced by a natural gas cooking appliance is far superior (to electric ranges) for wok style cooking,” said Matthew Schutte, marketing associate at BlueStar. “Another benefit is the ability to quickly sear meats to lock in the flavorful juices.”
Natural gas is not only the perfect fuel for stovetops but also for ovens, offering a moister heat that keeps foods from drying out.
“Professional chefs typically prefer natural gas for cooking roasts and meats in the oven cavity,” Essenburg said. “This is primarily due to a higher moisture content within the oven cavity when cooking with natural gas, which can help retain the juices in the roasts and meats being cooked.”
The high moisture level is also good for baking, Schutte said.
Affordable and reliable
In addition to more consistent culinary results, cooking with natural gas costs about half as much as cooking with electricity. Not only is natural gas cheaper than electricity, heat from natural gas is distributed more evenly, allowing food to cook quicker, further reducing fuel costs, according to GFEN.
Many models of gas ranges, stoves, ovens and grills use electronic ignition switches rather than continuously burning pilot lights, offering additional energy savings.
Whether in a professional or home kitchen, natural gas offers both the chef and the everyday cook a reliable and consistent fuel source.