Why Do We Love AGA Cookers?
Hello I'm Graham Rogers and I founded OvenGleamers back in 2004. When I started I had owned my own AGA Cooker for 8 years. Today, my wife Catherine, and I, still have an AGA cooker in our house and I have had an AGA in every house I've lived in since 1996. I have always loved them and really we couldn't live in any house without one. Currently I own three, one in my home, one in my old house that I now rent out, and one in our training kitchen in the office. We have used this one to introduce and then train all our employees and franchisees up to the same OvenGleamers standard to become Professional AGA Cleaners.
We now, as a national AGA cleaning company, clean lots an lots of AGAs every week, and are *recommended by a growing number of AGA shops, kitchen design shops. and AGA servicing companies.
*recommended may be too strong a term; though we regularly gain new customers because our details have been given out by AGA shops. AGA as a company do not recommend any AGA cleaning company. We are NOT connected to AGA Rangemaster in any way. We are an independent company.
This picture, above, is of me after cleaning the 4 oven AGA at Spillers of Chard in 2006. It's the AGA just inside the door on the right hand side. Though the AGA in that position is now cream in colour.
My First AGA in 1996
I bought my first AGA in 1996 because I had always wanted one. I can remember as a kid going with my father to visit his farming friends and noticing the warmth and cosiness the AGA gave their huge farm house kitchens.
So when I got a good pay off, when I was made redundant from the Royal Air Force in 1996, the first thing I did was to get an AGA for my cottage in North Wales.
I actually bought it from a person in Wellington just down the road from my home town of Taunton in Somerset. I was down there visiting my parents and noticed the ad in the local Somerset County Gazette. Reconditioned AGA For Sale. £1600 including fitting.
I went to have a look at it and a few weeks later it was installed in my kitchen in North Wales. It was a reconditioned older Cream Standard AGA which had been re-enamelled. It came with a Dons oil conversion. So I had to put in an oil tank in the garden. We had to drill through the two foot wide walls of my cottage to run the oil line through them into the kitchen. Also I can remember mixing up the cement and laying the base ready for the AGA installation the night before it was due to be installed! I used quick drying cement and put it into a wooden frame which I made to the right size for the plinth. The whole experience was joyful with the installers staying over in a local B & B and we had a fabulous evening in the pub next door! A lovely way to start AGA life.
The Second AGA in 2002
The next house I bought I bought in my home town of Taunton. It was Grade Two Listed Regency house that needed work. But as it was listed I managed to get a band new AGA VAT exempt. It was a lovely Racing Green gas AGA with a power flue so we didn't need a chimney. I copied the design of the kitchen from the 'AGA Brochure'. So the AGA was the same colour. I copied the style and colour of the kitchen cabinets. When it was finished it looked fabulous. I got my cabinets from Ikea and paid for bespoke mahagony knobs to be made, and had a faux fireplace and surround made. I bought cream hand made Fired Earth tiles from the Fired Earth shop in Banbury; which is in The AGA Shop and Fired Earth shop today in Banbury. I now rent the house out. Here is the house and the AGA in this video, when Andrew Scott our Cambridge West franchisee cleaned it as part of his training in 2014. It is still looking good.
From getting it installed to starting OvenGleam, as we named our company then, I went through a process of trying to find a new way to make a living. I bought a Home Cleaning Agency and then when lots of people asked me if I also did oven cleaning, I started on focusing on the possibility of the idea.
This got me thinking about an add on cleaning business and I noticed a company advertising AGA Cleaning in the AGA magazine - "AGA Living".
But the day I made the decision was because of the conversation I had with the engineer from Spillers of Chard who came to service my AGA. He told me that they had 15 vans and that they were all out servicing 5 AGAs a day. "Wow!", I thought, " There are lots of AGAs about! And they all need cleaning!"
So my AGA Cleaning Company started then. But I realised that perhaps my day wouldn't be filled with AGA cleaning every day so I'd have to clean ovens to. So OvenGleam was born in April 2004.
In my first week I cleaned a four oven AGA in Dulverton on Exmoor, the lady gave me some eggs from her hens. I stopped off at a local store close to her and I put a leaflet on the notice board just inside the shop. I was back in the village two weeks later and I checked to see if the leaflet was still there, but it had gone, so I put another one up. A few days later I got a call from the shop owner to clean her AGA. In the back room of the shop was a very old original standard AGA which took me 6 hours to clean. The grease on the top was an inch thick. I've never since that day had an AGA with a dirty top as dirty as that one was.
The Third AGA in 2007
We still have an AGA in our home, which is in North Somerset now. We bought a reconditioned two oven Claret 30 Amp AGA just after we moved into our current house in 2007. The kitchen isn't so classic as the one in my house in Tauton. But we built a new kitchen again using an Ikea kitchen. The AGA was installed in December and my son had just been born 10 weeks premature. We've had it for quite a while now and my son has appeared in some of my AGA videos. And we just love it. We love the way it heats up our house, and the way we can cook with it.
It has appeared in my videos like this one where I describe how to clean a HOT AGA. You need to watch out that you don't burn yourself. And if the grease is too thick you need to get a professional oven cleaning company, like ours, in to clean it as you may damage the AGA if you clean it yourself.
The Fourth AGA in 2010
When we moved into our current home we also moved into our first real office that was separate from our home. We found the office first, an old bicycle shop, and then found the house afterward. Conveniently placed across the road from the office.
I knew that ideally we needed an AGA to help to train new employees and franchisees. I was on the look out for a while and then I struck lucky. I found one on eBay and managed to buy the AGA we have in our office for the princely sum of £123.
Its one of the first AGA Deluxes. It was cheap because no one else was interested in it because it was incomplete as the burner unit was not working. But it is immaculate and had been re-enamelled not too far in the distant past, its original colour would have been cream, duck blue or white and it would have been the same colour all over including the top. The shape of the towel rail gives it age away. Also being pre 1974 it has the large shelf at the back on the top.
We drove all the way to Stratford Upon Avon to pick it up and loaded it into the boot of our Skoda Superb. It all went in except for the six pages of vermiculite which we didn't need anyway.
I can assure you that AGA bits are very heavy, especially the roasting oven. I dragged it from my garage across our village green to my office on my own. We installed the AGA in our old office and relocated it to our new office when we moved into it, across the road, in 2013.
Here Malcolm Clark our Glasgow North Franchisee talks through our cleaning process using the AGA in our training kitchen.