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Old 03-29-2010, 07:51 PM   #1
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Buying a QUALITY professional cookware set:

Hey cooks!

I am in the process of making a decision of purchasing my first (and hopefully last) set of professional, quality cookware.

My main priority is QUALITY. Money is not a primary concern (I am estimating that a good set will run around $800-$1000). My life policy is that I buy the best upfront, that way I do not regret features and feel a need to upgrade. I know there are tons of brands out there, varying in material (copper, aluminum etc.).

Does anyone have one set that does everything they could ever want? I'm taking the best set you bought and have never regretted. Any helpful advice would be great.



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Old 03-29-2010, 08:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sandycanvas View Post
...Does anyone have one set that does everything they could ever want? I'm taking the best set you bought and have never regretted. Any helpful advice would be great.

Simple answer - No.

First, settle on a pan material; tri-ply stainless, stainless or tin lined copper, anodized aluminum, non-stick, cast iron, enameled cast iron.

Then realize that no one material does everything best. So you will have to have several different types of cookware to have the best of everything.

Third, many folks recommend against buying a set as they often include pieces you won't use enough to justify their purchase.

All that being said, my personal opinion is as follows:

My preferred material for every day cooking in a variety of pans is tri-ply stainless. It's the most durable and handles heat very well. All-Clad is the best here.

For a dutch oven I prefer enameled cast iron. LeCrueset is the best.

For eggs, omelets and frittatas, I use non-stick coated aluminum that I buy at a restaurant supply store for short money and replace when the coating is damaged.

For some frying needs I use a cast iron skillet. Lodge is the best here.

Top quality copper cookware is regarded by some as the best stove top cookware. It's quite expensive and requires more care than SS. I't not for me.

I don't care for anodized aluminum. Others do.

Stay tuned for differing opinions.

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Old 03-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #3
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I am a cookware junkie. I have some of everything: I basically agree with AndyM above. However, I do own much copper and find it cooks exceptionally well. You don't have to polish it, just keep it clean and enjoy the variations in color over time.

That said: do you want to put it in the dishwasher? Will you ever need to use it on induction range? Do you want a matched set? etc. What kind of range do you have now?

If I could only have one set to do everything...judging versatility, all around use, flexibilty, etc etc and range of sizes of pots and pans etc AllClad probably their stainless or new d5 stainless. Having said that, you'll never get me to give up my copper, the heat control is like no other, but no one material is ideal for all uses.

Ideally a set of AllClad plus some Le creuset French ovens, a few select copper pans, a Lyon pan from duBuyer (thick carbon steel) for searing ...a good start.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:58 PM   #4
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to me ,you ( this is only my opinion ) are making an error. Buying a set of cookware is a mistake. Buy the best saute pan you can get ,Probably mauviel,bourgeat or allclad, a brasier -maybe le creuset or lodge .skillit -- cast iron ---allclad -de buyer carbon steel ----stock pot -- ?? You see what I'm getting at ? I think you could probably like one from one maker or other and something from another line might fit you better than their companion piece. one company might sell a set with a 8' skillit where you like 10 " but a 4 qt sauce pan where you use a 2 qt. some people can use a carbon steel omelette pan because they use it alot ,where another might use it once every two weeks ,in which case it would surely stick(so they wouldn't use it ,so it will always stick creating a vicious circle )
I would advise buying the best piece for what you like to do then buy another piece based on merit not anything else.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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We have Henckel Twin Select and have been very happy with it. Solid construction, great to cook with, looks great too. ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS :: Product Range :: Cookware :: Series overview :: TWIN® Select Cookware

For about $500 or less you can get a nice starter set. We added the strainer/steamer pot.

For frying we have the cheapie disposable non-stick that gets replaced about once a year for $20.

Have a LeCrueset dutch oven for the oven.

Some enamelware roasters for chicken, roasts, stews in the oven.

Pyrex rectangular pan for roasting potatoes.

A bit of everything to do all the different jobs.

Don't have a cast iron pan as of yet, but will do when we replace the electric range with a gas one.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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I'm a big fan of the allclad LTD series and have been using the same pans for 20 years. They wear like iron and look like new. But I treat them well - no dishwasher, etc.
That said, I have a favorite omelette pan that's not allclad and a scanpan non-stick saute pan.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:11 AM   #7
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Try Demeyere.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:54 PM   #8
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more info than you'll probably want.. but good info:
Understanding Stovetop Cookware - eG Forums
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:02 PM   #9
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I agree with the others who said to stay away from sets. Different cooking situations call for different materials but a set is all one material.

If you are going to get a set anyway then I would go with AllClad. It is excellent quality and looks great too.

In My kitchen I have an AllClad saute pan, Calphalon non stick skillets, a Le Cruset dutch oven, Lodge raw cast iron, Henrey Emil pottery, and some others I am forgetting.

I am much like you in that I would much rather spend my money up front and get the best quality I can so that down the line I am not wishing I had gotten the next model up or this feature or that.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:48 AM   #10
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Emile Henry is pretty nice. I have some of their larger bowls for mixing and storing larger batches of bread dough. Their unglazed bottoms are not exactly a plus. The finish on Villeroy & Boch is a little nicer but they do not seem to have the big bowls.

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