Start finding answers in our Resource Center full of Videos, Buying Guides and Checklists
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 Guide
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.