If you've ever watched an episode of How it's Made, you, like the Accidental Locavore, would have jumped at the chance to go down to the BlueStar factory in Pennsylvania to have lunch, tour the factory and drool over these impressive ranges. In this hyper-automated age, there is a definite cool factor in watching the manufacturing process and meeting the people involved in producing a product -- in this case, professional-grade ranges.
One of the things about spending thousands on a BlueStar is that you have the ability to customize it, choosing burner configuration and BTUs, something I would love to do (and then I would definitely want another trip to watch it come together!), but if that's not as important to you they can also match grannie's heirloom tablecloth, with their 750 color choices.
Because most of these ranges are essentially made-to-order, each range is built individually. While panels may be stamped out by a machine, how often do you get to see someone hand-spraying the interior dappling for an oven panel? It takes a surprising amount of finesse, similar to watching a great graffiti artist. We were joking about getting your initials dappled into the oven, but I'm sure it's possible. And, while we're on the topic, do you know why they dapple the insides of ovens? It's to make it easier to see what's going on in there.
Speaking of ovens, out of the demo oven came the best part of lunch, absolutely the greatest chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten! I'm not sure if it was because they were made in a superior (to mine, certainly) PowR oven, or just used really good ingredients, but they were fabulous. I'm working on the recipe, but haven't gotten it as good as theirs (yet).
We were lucky enough to have Chef Paul Marshall preparing a lovely lunch for us. There was a beautifully cooked chicken paillard with asparagus and an arugula salad. Before that, he made a shrimp and corn chowder, which was perfect on a brisk fall day. Dessert was chocolate-covered strawberries and the aforementioned incredible cookies.
Afterwards, we went downstairs to watch the final testing and finishing of the ranges. Interestingly, most of this work is done by women. Wonder why? One of the ranges, a big one, was in a baby blue with copper accents -- an unusual combination that just goes to show you the almost limitless combinations possible. While I can't imagine cooking so much that I would need a 60" range (huge) or a ten-foot hood (even bigger), it's nice to know they're available and in 750 colors.
Thanks to BlueStar for another fun outing and a chance to dream about what my perfect range would be!