In earlier times, houseboats
were thought of as floating RV’s. But today’s luxury houseboats are more like
beach houses or mega-yachts. The familiar, RV-style propane stove is still a good choice for a small, basic
galley. However, many houseboat owners want a large, household range with all
the bells and whistles.
Gourmet home cooks want their
houseboat galley to have the same, top-of-the-line stoves they have in the
kitchen. We are also seeing more restaurant-style, professional stoves in some
custom-built boats. Thoroughbred President Shawn Heinen in Albany, Ky.,
reports that several customers have opted for 36-inch, Italian built, gourmet
gas stoves. “They work well, cost a lot, but meet customer needs,” said Heinen.
To see what’s new and
exciting in galley stoves, we looked at prestige stove maker Viking (www.VikingRange.com),
household appliance favorite GE and custom marine stove maker Andrew Moore of
Navigator Stove Works in Eastbound, Wash. Specializing in the traditional,
salty look and function of serious sea stoves,
he has done several custom installations for houseboaters in the Pacific
Viking makes stoves in 30-,
36- and 48-inch widths and also offers gas cook-tops 24 inches and over for
those who prefer stove-top gas burners plus, perhaps, one or two electric,
self-cleaning wall ovens. Endless options are available including a wide choice
of colors. Also offered is an electric induction range with convection oven for
just over $6,000.
The mammoth, 48-inch-wide
Viking Custom Sealed Burner range can serve your biggest onboard parties. It
has two ovens and a choice of burner configurations with or without a grill or
griddle insert. Although any range has to be securely anchored in a boat, both
freestanding and slide-in ranges are available to give your galley designer
Gas and electric GE stoves
are found in home improvement stores. To see the full line, which is enormous, go
to www.geappliances.com. The company makes electric, gas, induction and
dual-fuel ranges (gas cook-top with electric oven). A choice of finishes is
available to match GE’s full line of refrigerators and other appliances.
Dickinson Marine (www.dickinsonmarine.com)
is also another manufacturer worth taking a closer look at.
Shopping For The Ultimate
* Warming drawers have been around since
great-grandmother’s time. They are still found on many gas and electric ranges.
* Most household gas ranges have some electrical
components starting with a clock. Know what features require power from your
ship’s batteries, a generator or dock power. Know too what features can work
without electricity. When power is off, some gas burners with electronic
ignition can be lit manually, but some cannot. When choosing an electric stove,
make sure the houseboat’s wiring, the generator and dockside hookups can handle
* The more electronic features, the most power the stove
requires even when it’s not in use. Programmable features require a steady diet
* When planning a custom houseboat or doing a major
galley renovation, choose the stove early in the design process. Wiring,
ducting and gas plumbing are involved. The cabinet designer needs to know if
the stove is free standing, slide-in or drop-in. Your marine architect needs to
position and secure heavy appliances.
* Sometimes individual burners are too small for large
pots. Instead opt for a “hob” style stove-top with a single grate. This option
is found on many gas stoves including small RV stoves. Pots can be arranged
anywhere on the hob.
* Self-cleaning ovens are nice to have, but the cleaning
cycle takes a lot of gas or electricity.
* In a convection oven, hot air is circulated by a fan
for more even baking and browning. A convection gas oven requires electricity
as well as propane.
About Microwave Convection
In addition to a galley
stove, a microwave oven is almost a must these days. It’s even better if it doubles as a convection
(heating) oven that can both nuke and bake. Better still, get one with overboard
exhaust plus a stove hood. (Models that have a recirculating filter are easier
to install, but are less effective in removing cooking odors and steam.)
Many cooks are still confused
about these combination microwaves. It’s easy to use them in microwave mode or
baking mode. The confusion comes in when recipes tell you to microwave for
so-many minutes, with frequent venting and turning, then bake to finish the
dish. Our advice: use it as a microwave or use it as a convection oven. Forget
complicated combination recipes. Used only in microwave mode, the oven is easy
to clean. When heat is introduced, spills and stains bake on and create the
same cleaning problems found in any conventional oven.
What Is Induction Cooking?
Both radiant and induction
stove-tops have the same smooth, ceramic look that many cooks prefer. However,
all ceramic cook-tops aren’t the same. Some radiate heat just as electric
burners always have. In induction cooking, heat is created in the pot, not in
the “burner” itself. Only ferrous metal (stainless steel, iron) pots can be
used with this energy, which is lightning fast. It’s a real plus for cooks who
like iron skillets, steel woks and the shiny convenience of stainless steel.
It’s also more like cooking with gas because the heat is instantly on,
instantly off. Induction cooking is
available in an entire cook-top or as a single hot plate.