My new cooker has arrived and it’s absolutely fabulous.
My new Falcon Kitchener 90 arrived on Monday, yippee. It’s only taken since 4 September to get it bought and delivered. I think it’s been halfway round France before it got to this neck of the woods, but it’s finally here and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Years back, when the DH and I still lived in England, we used to shop in Oxford Street very often. And no trip was ever complete for me without a trip to the basement at John Lewis to fondle the cookers. Of the leading makes – Smeg, Aga etc – the only two I was really impressed by were Fourneaux de France and Falcon.
The Lacanche by Fourneaux de France was way out of my price range, so in those days, it was the Falcon Continental I craved – its thick cast-iron burners, the roasting rack that swung out when you opened the doors, and the general build quality. I’ve wanted one for 20 years but never been able to stretch to it, and for 15 years or so have made do with a single-oven range with steel supports, which I have hammered to death.
A Continental is too big for my present kitchen (and probably still out of my budget). The space I have is 90cm wide, which is narrow for a range cooker, where the standard is 110cm.
A quick search round the internet (you can forget buying from a shop round here – the price would be doubled) and I narrowed my shortlist to the Leisure Cookmaster (shown right, three ovens, five burners, wok burner in the middle); the Belling Classic (three ovens, five burners, wok burner in the middle); a double-oven Smeg, and the Falcon Kitchener, which is much more modern in appearance, and has the wok burner on the right.
The Kitchener is a European model and isn’t distributed in the UK. As far as I can tell, the only English-language country it’s distributed in is Australia. In the UK, the same design is issued under the Rangemaster brand, which I found on various forums is reputed to have nothing like the build quality of the Falcon. Even in France, it’s been discontinued in favour of an induction model, which is why I was able to find it online for such a good price – they’re obviously selling off the stock.
In the end, although I prefer the traditional looks of the Leisure cooker, and ordering it from La Redoute would be completely straightforward (not to mention the fact that it costs a third less), I went for the Falcon because I trusted the build quality (I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen a Leisure cooker in real life).
And oh, it’s beautiful. The doors thunk shut like those on my Karmann Ghia. The cast iron supports weigh a ton. The knobs are sturdy and removable for proper cleaning. Not to mention the timer, the stay-clean oven linings, the super design of roasting rack, the grill – good grief we haven’t had a grill for 17 years! Pushed roughly into place in my home-built kitchen, awaiting installation, it looks like a swan among the ducks.
It’s now Wednesday and I’m kind of hoping my plumber will turn up soon to install it, as otherwise it’s a raclette for lunch. We’re getting a bit tired of toast, and soup heated up in the microwave, and it will be lovely to have a proper home-cooked meal again. When you’ve got a new toy, you want to try the damn thing out…