Thread Number: 78320  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Chef Appliances Australia
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Post# 1023458   2/3/2019 at 03:36 by maty_t94 (Australia)        

Hi all,

I've started to become more and more interested in the older Australian Chef Appliances (pre 2000s). I wanted to put my questions out there to those who have the answers as they pre-date what Google can provide me.

1. How do you read Chef Model Numbers and Sales Codes? For example, a Chef Gas Cooktop has the Model Number: 125GB and a Sales Code: GH7LXB/W/DG/BL.

2. How do you read Chef serial numbers? For example, a Chef Classic Electric Wall Oven EWOCLMFMSS has the Serial Number 2105539249.

3. Chef Non-Programmable Gas Ovens from 1980s to 1990s had Oven Valve and Oven Igniter/Igniter buttons. How do you light the oven and grill using these?

4. Chef Programmable Gas Ovens from 1980s to 1990s had Grill Valve and Grill Igniter buttons. How do you light the oven and grill using these?

5. What does the 'deluxe' signify for the Chef Wall Oven (e.g. Norfolk Deluxe)?

6. Does the 'trend' name after the model (e.g. Regency Trend) signify the wall oven is grey in colour?

Thank you, I'm hoping there are some Chef experts who are out there. It's a shame to see that Chef products are no longer the top-of-the-range like the used to be.


Post# 1023847 , Reply# 1   2/7/2019 at 06:35 by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        
Not an expert, but...

I used two 54cm wide Chef stoves when I was a cook, pre our kitchen renovation. We didn't have a commercial grade stove in our kitchen, just two Chef brand domestic stoves. They coped well despite getting hammered in a commercial kitchen. They would have been 1980s models.

the valve you refer to is probably the bypass button you press when lighting the oven or griller. (Broiler to Americans.) Here is how it works...

the oven (and in some models the griller) has a safety system, so it senses if there is a flame established using a temperature sensitive probe called a thermocouple. If the flame goes out, the thermocouple cools down and shuts off the gas - a safety feature so you don't end up with an oven full of explosive unburnt gas. But when you are first lighting the oven, the thermocouple is cold, so you need to press the bypass button to allow gas to flow so you can light it. Once lit, you keep holding the bypass button for about 30 seconds till the thermocouple is hot, then you can release the button and it will keep burning. If you let the button go too soon, the thermocouple isn't hot so the flame goes out and you have to repeat lighting it.
The procedure is as follows... Turn oven thermostat to your desired temperature. Press the bypass button. (Which might be called the oven valve in the manual.) Hold the button in with one hand, press the igniter button with your other hand. When the oven lights, release the igniter button but keep pressing the bypass button for 30 seconds as mentioned above.
The thermocouple probe is directly in the oven burner flame, so it burns out after a few years and needs to be replaced. Symptom - the oven lights, but the flame goes out as soon as you release the bypass button, no matter how long you try to establish the flame.

Later stoves had the bypass valve built in to the main thermostat knob, so you just turn the thermostat to temp and press the main knob in while you light.

Some Chef stoves had a silly design where the oven igniter was a clicky piezo operated by a lever in the oven cavity - OK when the oven was cold, but too hot to touch if you were re-lighting a hot oven.

I have a 1980s Australian Modern Maid stove (no connection to the US brand of the same name) which had electronic ignition with auto ignition for the oven - just turn the knob to temperature and it lights itself. It also has a bypass button so you can manually light the oven if there is a power failure. The oven auto ignition module on mine has failed and the part is no longer available, so I have to use the bypass button to light my oven, have done so for years. I will eventually fit a different brand ignition module to my stove, but it isn't a priority.

Modern Maids are a better stove than the Chefs of the period, but MM went bust in 1987 so parts are scarce now.

Post# 1024127 , Reply# 2   2/9/2019 at 17:59 by maty_t94 (Australia)        

Thanks gizmo for your reply.

I figured that would be how it worked. What I find weird is that the older Chef Monaco Wall Oven (1970s) doesn't have the valve or igniter buttons (these were on later 1980s models) on it (it is specified to have Electronic Ignition) so I wonder how works.

I do recall Modern Maid appliances as relatives of mine had their Electric Wall Oven and Gas Cooktop before they renovated. I thought at the time they might've had some affiliation with the US brand but there you go. What ended up happening? Were they just not a popular choice in the end?

Post# 1024189 , Reply# 3   2/10/2019 at 08:03 by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        
Modern Maid in AU

Modern Maid were made in Footscray, an inner suburb of Melbourne. I believe they were a smaller operation than their main oppositions, Chef and Westinghouse. I'm not sure how well they were distributed in other states, but I think they sold mainly in Victoria and South Australia. So that would have made life hard for them. Also I personally believe that by the 1980s, the name "Modern Maid" was getting bit daggy and wouldn't have appealed to younger feminist buyers.

In the early 80s they were in financial difficulty and were likely to close down, I have read that the workers' union got involved, the union and some workers bought in to the company with a view to turning it around. The company name was changed to "Modern Maid and Staff" though the badging on the appliances never changed.
They attempted to make a better product than the opposition, and developed a new line of gas stoves, called the Ultima line. They were well thought out, had good features such as: one burner is very small, ideal for gentle heat where you would normally need a double boiler. The griller is mounted above the oven in the traditional Australian way, and the griller door has a small mirror mounted on an angle so you can easily see if the griller has lit without stooping. The components were good quality, the burners and valves sourced from Germany for example. The oven door seals on mine are now 30 years old and still as good as new. The highest model had electronic oven controls including a digital temperature readout, so you can see what the actual temp is inside the oven. Modern Maid were the first to offer fan forced ovens in gas, too.

Back in 1987 my partner and I were renovating our house at the time, and went to the Gas and Fuel Corporation showroom where we found all Modern Maid stock was 50% off as the company had just gone broke and Gas and Fuel bought all their remaining stock. The salesman said buyers were generally not prepared to pay the extra for the Modern Maid over a Chef, even though they were a better stove. We bought one.

I loved ours and when we moved to the country I bought another one, second hand. When we built this house, I got another, this time the top of the range with the digital oven temp display which I love. (It has shown me when the thermostat became wonky and needed adjustment.) The oven ignition module is now stuffed and the membrane switches for the fan and oven light are temperamental now, but I love my stove. I have a spare membrane switch panel but it was the last one in captivity when I bought it, so I am holding out as long as I can before replacing the dodgy one.

Post# 1024396 , Reply# 4   2/12/2019 at 14:54 by wilkinsservis (Melbourne Australia)        
Queensland in the late 1960's

wilkinsservis's profile picture
AS a very small child I remember watching the socket for the rotisserie rotate when the switch was activated when being baby sat by our friend Mrs B. She indulged my emerging appliance fetishism. That stove was a Modern Maid purchased as an upgrade in 1968 to a house build in the mid 1950's. They also had a GMH Frigidaire washer but I never saw it being used

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