Unless you’ve decided to go the open pit oven method — or raw — it’s likely that you’ll need some method of cooking food if you own or run a restaurant. While there are a variety of options available, your choice will generally come down to choosing between gas or electric for cooking. Here, we’ll look at these two options to help you decide which one will work better for you.
Cooking with gas
Gas hobs are one of the darlings of the restaurant world, and for good reason:
- Quick: Gas is responsive and provides instant heat that is easily variable between high and low temperatures, so you can griddle a steak or simmer a delicate sauce.
- Safe: Gas hobs are less likely to be left on, as you can see the flame and often hear the stove when it’s on.
- Creative: Gas stoves are also great for a variety of cooking methods, like charring peppers right in the gas flame, and cooking griddle lines into meat.
- More coverage: The heat can lick up the sides of your pot or pan, speeding the cooking process up.
- Hotter: They emit more radiant heat, which can cost more in aircon or cooling costs, and can be a fire hazard if left unattended and something falls into the open flame. However, they heat up and cool down quickly once switched off, which offsets the heat emitted while cooking.
By contrast, electric hobs are:
- Easy to install: There’s no need for a special installation, you can usually just plug them in and start cooking.
- Easy to clean: Electric stovetops usually have fewer nooks and crannies, and can be easier to keep clean.
- Reliant on electricity: Although electric stoves are plug and play, you are reliant on electricity, which can be problematic when the power goes down.
- Predictable: They have a variety of different heat settings, and will generally get no hotter than the hottest setting. There isn’t infinite variability, but it is consistent and easy to predict.
- Heat is focused: Electric hobs generally only heat the base of the pan, which helps to keep the heat focused in one spot.
Of course, induction hobs are powered by electricity, but they are also often expensive and can necessitate the purchase of new pots and pans (everything has to be magnetic to work on an induction top). Induction stovetops have many of the same benefits as gas as far as variability of heat and consistency, but are also safer than both gas and electric, as they cannot transmit heat to anything that isn’t magnetic metal. This cuts down on burn accidents in the kitchen.
Gas vs. electric ovens
The same rules do not apply between stoves and ovens. Whereas a gas hob flame is a consistent, quick and even heat source, gas ovens are often inconsistent and provide unreliable results. Due to their design, gas ovens lose heat more quickly during operation, making them less reliable and sometimes less efficient.
Electric ovens, on the other hand, are low maintenance and much more reliable. Since the heating is provided by one or more elements, and is often accompanied by a fan to distribute the heat more evenly, electric ovens are more consistent. Electric ovens also require less venting, due to their heat source, and so emit less heat during cooking.
There are pros and cons to both heat sources. One way to get the best of both worlds, is to buy a combination solution, which offers a gas hob and an electric oven. This way, you get the quick heating, even cooking results on the stovetop and the consistent, well distributed heat in the oven.