Aga Four Oven Cooker skips whiz-bang for cast iron badassery

This "Four Oven Cooker" from Aga is made from cast iron, covered in "three coats of vitreous enamel" in fourteen different colors, weights 1,290 pounds, and must be installed by a certified fitter. It's available in an electric model, but please, if you can, go with the gas version. This is appliance porn at its finest, no unnecessary and fragile space-age frippery, but four separate simple ovens, all holes filled with hard cook. It's enough to make a gingerbread witch swoon. It's $15,500 for this model (the one in the picture is technically the electric model, but the gas ones look the same) and features a specialized roasting oven behind door number five. Product Page [ via Appliancist]
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24 Responses to Aga Four Oven Cooker skips whiz-bang for cast iron badassery

  1. Piers W says:

    #9 “I am confident that if a medium-yield nuclear weapon were detonated nearby the Aga would remain, glittering and solid.”

    20 years ago my parents farmhouse burned down, the bathroom collapsed onto the kitchen below. The bath landed on the Aga. The house has since been rebuilt.

    My mother is still cooking with it, although the hotplate covers are badly dented.

  2. pgt says:

    Agreed with #4 – I haven’t seen one of these in 30 years, since I left Britain. Gas? Electricity? Wimps! The originals I remember ran on coal, and were kept going 24/7 to provide warmth and hot water.

  3. Zarniwoop says:

    To be honest, none of your criticisms really hold any weight at all (other than the energy waste, which isn’t much of a waste at all if you live somewhere cold.) Professional cooks sware by them (at least in the UK, for home-use) due to their no-nonsense functionality. The great thing about is there /aren’t/ any idiosyncrasies. I’ve never heard of them running out of heat from extended cooking sessions either.

  4. the lurch says:

    #14: Well, you have your opinions, and that’s fine. But I defend my arguments thusly: I live somewhere known as cold, but during the summer, it does get hot (or at least warm) and the Aga would truly be awful in that case. Perhaps in the UK people use them, but I’ve been in plenty of real kitchens (that is to say, run by chefs who get paid to make good food and not waste money) and not one had an Aga. All the chefs I know demand a large 6 or 8 top (that’s burners)gas stove with adjustable heat on each. And a couple of side ovens, and a salamander. I would agree that perhaps the ovens on an Aga would be ok, but I talked to 2 pro foodies about that. Both agreed the lack of temperature control and general fussiness would be a pain. No idiosyncrasies? Every recipe you will ever get will have to be “adapted” to the Aga. Using the cookplates effectively requires high-quality, flat bottomed cookware…forget using any pans that aren’t flat. Good luck with a Chinatown wok on your Aga. Want to boil a big pot of liquid? On the Aga you have to slide the thing around to the “right spot”…on a real stove one just turns the heat down. Perhaps the ovens won’t lose heat, but it’s been shown that extended cooking on the cookplates will cause them to “cool”. I still say these things are a waste of money and energy. But if you have one, and love it, that’s good too.

  5. SpookyInteraction says:

    As the owners of an Aga Six-Four (the little cousin of this one) and although the installation and infrastructure to move the beast into place was an adventure in itself, we love it. Gas up top, electric for the ovens. It is a complete bastard to keep clean, but then, we cook a lot.

    I am confident that if a medium-yield nuclear weapon were detonated nearby the Aga would remain, glittering and solid.

  6. rosetta11 says:

    For $275 I bought a stylish propane “Americana” at Home Depot. Absolutely no electric or electronic doodads to crap out, I light the stove top with wooden matches and keep the pilot going in the oven. Easy to clean, no yuppy sensibilities whatsoever, and it will probably last for a hundred years. I used to covet AGAs, Wolfs, Vikings etc. until I realized what a waste of gas, space and my hard earned money they were. Egos don’t cook worth a damn.

  7. Tinman says:

    My family has had an Aga since I can remember, and while their Badassery is in no way in doubt, they’re so much more than just an oven, they can the centre of a home. This cast iron behemoth is for more than just cooking, in the often grey and damp climate of the British Isles they’re used for drying clothes, warming up after a cold walk, the favourite spot for any pets in the house to snuggle up to, pre-warming your socks on a cold day, and replacement for heating in the kitchen. Without a doubt on a dismal winters day you’ll find everyone crowded round the Aga for a sense of cosiness (as much a a block of iron can be cosy) and security.
    People come and go, Agas stay

    Well they would they’re bloody hard to shift

  8. geo the moose says:

    JFC people!!! there is an energy shortage, isnt there?? do we really need to keep our freakin ovens on 24/7 nowadays?(and btw I could probably out cook 90% of the populace with a microwave and a toaster oven- it is skill/love of cooking not your silly 50k stove that makes food taste good)

  9. Patrick Austin says:

    There’s virtually nowhere in North America cold enough to use one, but then, maybe I should just have an outdoor kitchen for summer…

  10. Fnarf says:

    People who install stuff like this in their McMansions, but never do anything more complicated than boiling water on them, should be ground up into animal feed. As several commentators have mentioned, it’s designed to be always on — as are all of the restaurant-style ranges rich people buy but never use. You see these all the freaking time, but the only one that ever gets any use is the microwave.

    You might as well burn a 24/7 gas flare in your yard, too, while you’re at it. And leave your car running all the time.

    My granny could cook the average super-stove owner under the table with her 75-year-old white enamel Hotpoint.

  11. Hal says:

    I agree that the range shown is silly but solid fuel ranges can heat your home and hot water as well as baking your bread or boiling your kettle. I still have relatives who cut turf and use it to heat their home year round.
    I wonder could you use a solid fuel range to heat your home “sustainably” through the Winter if you lived somewhere like Vermont. How many acres of crop wood/biomass/whatever would you need?

  12. kfw says:

    My wife’s family in Ireland has an ancient Aga that is still working (what’s to break?). It burns anthracite coal. You have to keep feeding coal in so that the fire keeps going. Apparently if it goes out the anthracite is a bear to get going again – I’ve heard that some people convert theirs to gas. There may be some way to control the heat overall, but as far as I can tell temperature control depends mostly on where on the surface (or into which oven) you place things. Not a great stove for a warm climate, but fantastic in Ireland.

  13. sdfjkl says:

    1,290 pounds heavy, $15,500 expensive, five oven doors and not one large enough to fit a pizza.

  14. devophill says:

    “All holes filled with hard cook” for the friggin’ win. Seriously.

  15. Antinous says:

    There’s virtually nowhere in North America cold enough to use one

    San Francisco’s Sunset District. I don’t think that I turned the heat off in twelve years.

  16. demidan says:

    Aga! the best farm stove in the world! Would sell soul for one in cobalt blue!

  17. SamSam says:

    @ #14 Zarniwoop: Which professional cooks? I’ve been inside lots of restaurant kitchens in the UK, and have never seen one. Most cooks that I know prefer great big gas ranges.

    I can certainly see the draw, for the same reason that I own 7 different cast-iron pans (no-nonsense, great for everything, will out-live me, no fancy nonstick needed), but I wouldn’t have 7 cast iron pans if each cam with it’s own pilot light on 24 hours a day.

    They are beautiful, but in this modern, global-warming age, a bit of efficiency is something to look for.

  18. w000t says:

    Extremely nice oven, but I’d have to go with some color besides black to help allay the temptation to shovel coal into one of the ovens, steam engine style.

  19. studio2f says:

    It’s half the stove that the $40,000 La Cornue is.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Of course “proper” AGAs are wood burning, not gas OR electric!

  21. coop says:

    “There’s virtually nowhere in North America cold enough to use one.”

    North America is a friggin big place and a lot of it’s cold. Ever been to Newfoundland, or anywhere north of 55?

    Just askin…


  22. the lurch says:

    I remember first seeing these, and wanting one. Honking big cast-iron monster…and plus, I’d be the first (and only) kid on the block with one. Then I did my research. In short, these things are an anachronistic, over-priced, elaborate hot plate. Sure, you can find all sorts of folks that positively fawn over them, but serious chefs don’t use them. Why? it owns you, not the other way around. You have to obey it’s rules. Keep the bloody thing on all the time? Are you well? Who is going to pay for that waste? Sure, it’s handy when you have to heat something in a jiffy, but you don’t get something for nothing. The Aga is nothing more than a giant heat-sink. You effectively have a wee burner in the thing that provides the heat. If you drain that heat away with a big cooking session, you won’t be cooking much after that. Temp control? Sure, by shuffling the stuff around you can do it,just like moving your hot dog on a stick closer to the fire. Silly. And for all this uncontrolled nonsense, you need a massive wallet and a massively reinforced floor.

    If you have that kind of cash, get a La Cournue, La Clanche or even a Wolf or Viking.

    Oh, I’m sure it cooks well once you learn to bend to it’s *cute* idiosyncrasies, but you are not buying a better stove…you are buying a Luddite-inspired lifestyle. It reminds me of a friend who ordered a Morgan automobile. He’s happy to wait for 2 1/2 years for them to build him a 1940’s technology car at 21st century prices. What was it that PT Barnum once said?

  23. Zarniwoop says:

    Yeah, my parents had an aga for a number of years. They are so brilliantly no-nonsense and simple, using one is a complete joy. But boy, do they ever use much gas. I can’t imagine how much the electricity bills would be if you had an aga which used it. The fact that it’s on the entire time is what does it.

  24. Charlie Stross says:

    You really don’t want an Aga if you live in a climate that calls for air conditioning. But if you live somewhere chilly, these ovens are The Business. (I grew up in a house with one.)

    They’re always on, with hot plates up top under those insulated drop-lids; there’s a lot of thermal insulation in there to keep the heat in, and if you turn the gas off it’ll take three or four hours to cool down enough for the engineer to work it over. They’re effectively self-cleaning (crud just oxidizes away, if you keep it at 200 degrees celsius for a few days), and you can use them to run a hot water or central heating system. (Not to mention keeping the kitchen warm in winter.)

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