Cooking is an art, with every tiny factor in the process making a difference to the final flavour of the dish.
One such factor, believe it or not, is what kind of power source is used! Just as different cooking methods give you different results, so do different power sources (and by default, utensils/instruments connected to said power sources).
The ‘gas vs electric oven’ is a debate that’s long divided chefs around the world, with a substantial number of fans on both sides.
But is there a preference? And what do home cooks like us use, to achieve Gordon Ramsay standards in our cooking? (Or aspire to, at least.)
If you’re looking for an answer to the above question or simply want to get in on one of the food world’s most-favourite topics, you’re in the right place.
Read on to find out whether chefs prefer gas or electric ovens!
Gas Vs Electric: Do We Have A Winner?
Yes, we do! If numbers are anything to go by (and they should be—numbers don’t lie and we’re starting to feel it’s right), it would seem that professional chefs prefer gas ovens to electric ones.
The victory isn’t just by a slight margin for gas ovens—a whopping 96% of professional chefs opted for gas ovens over their electric counterparts.
The reasons for this were many—a faster cooking time, the possibility of better heat control, versatility, and the fact that gas ovens are easier and less expensive to maintain and clean.
Here’s a more detailed look at the winning reasons.
Why Gas Works Better Than Electric
Gas ovens offer chefs better control over the cooking process. Additionally, they’re energy-efficient, especially when it comes to searing and stir-frying.
This is thanks to the fact that the pan or utensil is heated evenly on all sides by the gas flames, helping things move along faster and more smoothly.
Additionally, the experienced tongue will feel a difference when presented with electric-cooked vs gas-cooked—the latter is believed to better preserve the nutritional content of the food cooked in it.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of all the reasons chefs pick gas over electric.
Fast And Furious
One of the primary reasons why chefs prefer gas to electric is because gas ovens heat up fast—and boy, do they give you a mean and fast cook once heated!
Professional kitchens are among the busiest workplaces in the world, churning out several orders per second. While some amount of time is allowed for dishes to be prepared, no chef has ever complained when given the chance to reduce this cooking time and get dishes out faster.
Quick turnover time is essential in professional kitchens—no chef wants to get in between a hungry customer and their food!
A gas oven switches on in mere seconds and takes just as much time to reach extremely high temperatures—or any temperature that you want it to get to, really.
What further ups the convenience factor is that just as they heat up extremely quickly, gas ovens also cool down extremely quickly—energy efficiency for the win!
This makes it super easy and quick to cook delicate foods, such as fish and sauces, making all the difference between the perfect char and consistency and downright burnt or runny stuff.
In electric ovens, one needs to remove the tray or pan as and when it cools or heats up—something that is unnecessary in gas ovens.
In electric ovens, the pan may need to be moved away from the burner to reduce the risk of it burning, which gas ovens don’t warrant.
Instant heat control is possible in gas ovens because as mentioned earlier, heating is instant in gas ovens once they’re switched on, affording more efficient control of the heat.
This characteristic also lets chefs experiment more, without the worry of burning their food!
To say that cooking is a messy affair is an understatement—the kitchen walls and utensils probably taste more food in a day than those who actually eat it!
Especially when it’s a case of “too many cooks”, you may end up spending more time cleaning up than actually getting any cooking done.
Electric ovens require special cleaning agents to get all that burnt food bits out and efficiently clean the burner.
With gas ovens, on the other hand, it’s as simple as removing the steel grates, soaking them in a bit of soapy water in the sink, and then easily wiping off any food remnants that the soak couldn’t get. Easy!
You also don’t need special cleaning agents—a multipurpose cleaning spray will also work wonders on any stubborn spills.
Additionally, by nature of their construction (i.e, a lower surface and dryer heat than electric ovens), food tends to not stick as easily to surfaces in gas ovens as it does in electric ones.
Electric ovens can sometimes end up costing you an arm and a leg and the other arm, too, by way of repairs.
The tendency of electronic items, in general, is to become obsolete as newer models flood the markets.
If you’re making your Y2K era electric oven still churn out edible food in 2022, congratulations!
But the chances are that you’re shelling out quite a bit when it comes to replacing parts (if you do find them in the first place, that is) or getting any repairs done on your electric oven.
Even newer models, which seem super-convenient, can cost you as much as iPhone repairs can.
Additionally, spot repairs are tough in electric ovens.
With gas ovens, spare parts come easy and cheap and the most pressing issue you’ll face can often be set right by the gas provider relighting the pilot light!
Additionally, most gas oven repairs can be done at home by you, and even if not, an engineer for a gas oven comes much cheaper than one for an electric oven!
Gas ovens are also more long-lasting than electric ovens.
Not only can gas ovens be used for a range of cooking processes, from heating water to roasting to stir-frying, but they can also be used with a range of cookware.
An electric oven requires flat-bottomed cookware for heat to evenly distribute. This means that even the slightest dent or warp could cause hot and cold spots and result in uneven cooking.
The case with gas ovens? You guessed it—dents and warps don’t matter when it comes to even heat distribution!
Gas Vs Electric For Chefs? The Final Touch
So, do chefs prefer gas or electric ovens? If you’ve read the article, you know the answer!
Ovens are one of the most important appliances in the kitchen, which means there is the least amount of compromise when it comes to its efficiency and results. Gas ovens easily afford this.
There is the question, though, of gas ovens being dangerous.
The truth is, indoor pollution is inevitable no matter the kind of oven you use.
Gas ovens do emit pollutants such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, which is why it is essential to have a well-ventilated kitchen with an exhaust fan (or a high-quality range hood over your oven).
Also, invest in annual checks for leaks.
That apart, it’s better ‘everything’ with a gas oven—better speed, better control, better maintenance, and most importantly, better food.
So if you’re thinking of investing in a gas oven for your culinary expeditions, you can wholeheartedly go for it!