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What is a French Top Range and Should You Buy One? (Reviews / Ratings)

Paul Groux  |  September 23, 2015  |  6 Min. Read

Wolf  |  Professional Ranges  |  Cooking

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Legend has it that the French top was created by hanging cast iron pots from a hook over an open fire. The closer the pots were to the fire the hotter the bottom of the pot was.

What is a French Top?

A typical French top is approximately 24x24 and is made of heavy flat cast iron or rolled steel. Underneath the flat top is a high powered gas burner. The center of the top typically has a 8 to 9 inch removable ring. Surrounding the center ring are additional rings.

Short on time? Get our free Pro Cooking Buying GuideLearn More

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The hottest area on a French top is on the center ring. You can also remove the center ring allowing a wok to sit right above the exposed flame for high  temperature cooking. As you move away from the center ring the heat becomes less intense. The outer ring area is great for simmering soups. As you move to the outer edges this area is great for melting butter and chocolates.

Below is an image of a Wolf Range with a French top.

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Benefits of a French Top

The real advantage to cooking on a French top is to simmer and hold temperature. If needed you can start your cooking on the higher temperature center ring and move it to the outer edgers to simmer those sauces all without having to change temperature.

If you want to wok cook, just remove the center ring for the extreme heat directly from the burner. Picture yourself simmering several delicate sauces while boiling pasta at the same time not having to worry about adjusting the temperature because each area radiates a different temperature. There is a learning control of temperature, but you can cook multiple items without multiple burners.

Drawbacks

Because the tops are cast iron or rolled steel they need to be seasoned to keep clean (just like a griddle). Because the burner is under the steel itself, it is hard to know whether the burner is actually on without looking at the burners.

French Top Ranges

Many of the manufacturers do not offer a French top.

Wolf and La Cornue are the two sold at Yale. Wolf is a professional range design and built for power in the US. La Cornue is a French range known for style and color.

Wolf

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La Cornue

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Summary

The French top is not for everyone.

However if you really enjoy cooking and entertaining, the French top is an excellent consideration for cooking multiple items.

Additional Resources

Read the Yale Professional Range Buyers Guide with features, specs and inside tips to all the brands over 100,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our Pro Cooking Buying Guide

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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Paul Groux

Paul Groux has been with Yale Appliance + Lighting for over almost 20 years, specializing in appliance sales. He is a former U.S. Army Paratrooper and has completed two Boston marathons.

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A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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