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This Rangemaster was fitted into the kitchen when I bought my house, and it was definitely the biggest bonus I gained when I chose this particular house. I have to say I would never have seen myself considering, let alone buying, a cooker for £1500, and would probably have considered this to be far too over-designed for me anyway, but I would have no hesitation in replacing with like-for-like if anything ever happened to it... Let me show you around it!!...
The hob is gas and comprises 5 gas rings - 1 small (1kw), 2 medium (1.7kw) and 1 large (3kw) in the main left hand section, and a large single burner/wok ring (also 3kw) just to the right of centre. The pan supports that go over the rings are made from reassuringly heavy and solid cast iron, with an enamel gloss black finish, which give the whole thing a really solid and "trusty" feel.
The cooker is supplied with a cast iron griddle plate which is designed to sit on the hob, something I haven't used, but it's well designed, made to fit securely over the pan supports. It's a generous size, approx 8" x 18" so would be ideal for a couple of steaks if you prefer to cook that way. To the right of the wok burner is an electric hotplate which is handy (but energy-sapping) for keeping things warm.
The lid is toughened glass, smokey in colour, with a black edge trim. This lifts to open 90degrees against the wall and makes an effective "splashback" when the cooker is in use, it's easy to clean afterwards. There is an automatic shut-off in the mechanism that cuts the gas off if the lid is closed without turning it off.
The parts of the burner rings themselves come away and refix very easily making them very easy to clean. Giving the pan supports a thorough wash is much more difficult due to their size and weight so I keep on top of cleaning them after each use and wash in full less frequently. The whole of the hob is finished in the matt black colour and comes back good as new after cleaning.
The ovens on my Rangemaster are electric. This was the first time I've had electric ovens but I very quickly got the hang of them, and have found them much easier to accurately manage and control than gas. The right hand oven is fan assisted, the left hand a conventional oven. Inside each there are two shelves which can be adjusted to suit, in 4 different possible positions.
Attached to the door of the left hand oven is a "handyrack" which houses a roasting tray/meat tin, this is removable if you need the space but generally sits quite nicely in there and I've found useful for roasting spuds etc. Being attached to the inside of the door, it means it's a good safety feature, as you don't need to reach into the oven if you're using it for roasting, just lift the tray from its bracket with oven gloves.
There is also a browning element in the left hand oven which you can flick on at the end of cooking, the other cooking elements cut out and it just gives the finishing touch.
Both doors are hinged on their outer edge making it easy to access the ovens when the doors are open. Each oven has a decent light and a generously sized glass panel in the door so you can keep an eye on things as they bake or bubble away.
The grill is housed above the conventional oven on the left, and has a simple drop down door to reveal the pan. The pan fits fully inside the compartment when not in use, and hooks onto side rails when in use. Mine is an electric grill, and there's a high level of control over the heat levels, and also which areas of the grill you use. So you can heat just one side if you only have a couple of rashers of bacon, for instance, or leave it on a low heat if necessary - which it often is, because the pan sits quite high up in the compartment, quite close to the elements.
The controls run along the front of the oven at the top. They are all circular, in a chrome finish and there are diagrams alongside each dial to show what each dial operates. There are two light switches (one for each oven) and an ignition button to light the hob burners. There is a digital clock with a full timer function, which can be set to switch the ovens on on a time delay, handy if you want to come home to the smell of a chicken roasting!! Finally there are the lights which illuminate when you switch an oven or grill on and goes off when the ovens have reached the specified temperature, ready for use.
There is a deep drawer underneath the fan oven which is tardis-like in the number of pans and trays it seems to hold!
To me, this Rangemaster looks "the business", without being flashy. The finish of the front of the cooker is matt black, and all the knobs and handles are a lovely shiny chrome finish (they aren't metal, but you wouldn't know). It really raises the look of the kitchen and is a real focal point, even though mine is in no way a big kitchen. It wouldn't look out of place in a grand farmhouse kitchen, yet it doesn't look ridiculous in mine either.
I can't really say I've had any major issues with this cooker. As with any new cooker it took a bit of getting right, particularly the grill, which did go quickly from not cooked to burnt! But once I'd got used to cooking in the electric ovens I really haven't experienced anything I can record as a problem.
One thing that did cause a bit of a panic was when there was a power cut - it took me a while to discover (i.e. get the instruction book out!) that the ovens won't work until you have reset the digital clock. Once you know how to do these things, everything is very straightforward to operate.
The enamel on one of the pan supports has chipped, but as the cooker is now (I believe) five years old, I imagine that type of accidental damage can't be avoided in that time.
I live alone and my partner usually comes over at the weekends so I guess you can understand my opening gambit of this review thinking that this Rangemaster would be way over-spec'd for me/us. But honestly it has really proved its worth over and over. My partner enjoys cooking and creating different recipes, and he also enjoys baking and the dual oven means that now the cakes can go in whilst something is roasting away next door, veg & other creations on the hob... When we entertain we can now get all the burners going to get everything ready together and have the plates warming while things are finishing off...
I would never have imagined myself getting so enthused over a cooker before I moved into this house! A cooker like this wouldn't have even been close to my radar. This Rangemaster has transformed my opinion and really opened my eyes to how good a decent cooker can be and what it can add to both the look and feel of a room and also to the ease and convenience of cooking and baking. It's not cheap but I definitely believe it's worth every penny of the big price tag.
Rangemaster 110Cm Porthole Door Gas Range Cooker / With 2 Digital Programmable Ovens / In Black/Chrome / Includes Storage Compartment / Mains Ignition For Easy Lighting / And Gas Cooker And Hobs / Plus / Handyrack Makes Testing Your Roast Easy! / Short name: Rangemaster RMS110DFFBL/PDC