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Old 10-21-2007, 02:07 PM   #1
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Commercial vs. Consumer

I got a chance to go down to the restaurant supply store and get a look at what most of the places around here are using. I was surprised to find that almost all commercial pans are aluminum. Apparently the steel stuff gets hot spots and in commercial grade is heavy as heck. What I have at home is stainless steel. The stockpots were all stainless steel. I'm not sure about the sauce pans, but the general use frying pans were all aluminum.

I would like to have commercial everything, because the stuff just works. Commercial Panasonic microwave, commercial Kitchenaid stand mixer, etc, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of commercial cookware? I know the pans are designed to hold up to heavy use every day, but what else? Is there a problem with cooking with aluminum?

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Old 10-21-2007, 09:56 PM   #2
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Falkon, most high quality stainless steel cookware has an aluminum core because of it's fantastic heat conduction properties. Restaurants don't waste money on the stainless steel layering for pans that will never be seen by anyone but cooks and will be beaten to h*** by constant use anyway. Some folks were concerned a few years back about aluminum cookware and whether or not it was linked to dementia. As far as I know, that hasn't been proved but it sure created a booming market for SS aluminum core cookware.

So I would say that you'll be very happy with commercial pots and pans as far as durability and performance. Some folks just don't think they look as pretty. I personally buy most everything at my local restaurant supply except my stove and my pots and pans. (I bought Calphalon SS because I store them on open shelves and I wanted them to look shiny and pretty).
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:13 PM   #3
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Okay, good deal. If I had a pot rack, I guess I could see investing totally in nice looking stainless cookware, but it all sits out of sight while in storage. It looks like I'm only buying things from the restaurant supply store from now on. Well, I am going to get my mixer on Ebay, but that's different.

I have only used aluminum baking sheets from the restaurant supply store. The consumer stuff is just too thin and can't handle being cleaned so much.

I found out, they like the knives I was looking at as well. They carry Dexter Russel, but they also carry Forschner and they seem fond of them. I like the genuine Victorinox myself.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:47 PM   #4
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I find the local restaurant supply to be very handy. I was just there today!

I think the NSF food storage containers and crocks to be in-disposable. Better than tupperware (for light use at any rate).

I also like the cookie sheets you can get there. They have the "hotel pans" if your oven can handle them, but the also have the "half hotel pans" that I love for baking cookies and bacon. They have the rolled lip so they don't warp in the oven.

You are right, they carry food service knives that with light use will last a long time. While I might not get a chefs knife there; the simple fillet and bread knives they carry
are well worth it.

There are a few restaurant supply stores around here, but I've only been to URM Cash and Carry. I picked up gallon of Peanut Oil for around $7 and 25lbs of Basmati rice for $12.
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Old 10-22-2007, 01:21 AM   #5
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I love my aluminum baking sheets, too, Falkon. They call them half-sheet bun pans at the place I go but I have 4 of them that I've had for 15+ years and I use them almost daily. About a year ago, I bought some silpat baking mats at the restaurant supply that fit exactly into the baking pans and everything I bake comes out perfectly now. I really love the utensils section, too. I got a couple of flexible SS spatulas that I love for about $2.50.

I also have commercial coffee equipment, but like you, I got it off of ebay. Another good place to check for kitchen supplies is Marshall's/TJMaxx/Ross. They all have a housewares department and you can find excellent deals there. Check frequently as stock changes on a daily basis. I got a Calphalon Katana 7" slicer at TJMaxx last week for $14. It's my first "good" knife and it's wonderful. I'll be checking back to find a Chef's knife in the same line.

warwick.boy, I love the food storage containers at the restaurant supply. Every size you can imagine, inexpensive, heavy duty - perfect for storing all your staples or bulk items like flour and sugar. I didn't know the rolled lip keeps the sheet pans from warping but I know they don't warp! And I did get a couple of sets of inexpensive steak knives there when I was having a big get-together and needed extras. They were very serviceable.
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Old 10-22-2007, 01:40 AM   #6
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I saw some Lodge cast iron at TJ Maxx for $13. The only flat 12 inch they had looked like there was a defect in the casting. I probably could have seasoned over it, but I decided to hold out. There are some good gadgets you can find there. Tongs, Spats,...etc

Another good Restaurant Supply find...PVC Cutting boards. I keep three and my favorite one is the big one I got from URM. I should have more than one of those. I keep one for poultry and one for red meat and one for veggies.

I wanted to buy a mandolin from URM but it was almost $200 bucks. You can get a decent civilian model at Bed Bath and Beyond for like a 4th of that. Any pros and cons on that?
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:19 AM   #7
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I don't care for the PVC cutting boards, and here's why. They're the right harness that they don't wear out your knives, but where I was working, I saw them when they had just rolled out of the dishwasher. They were nearly melted. I don't know if that's a testament to the hot final rinse water or how these things can melt, but I'm a bit weary of them. I suppose if you hand wash it, you'll never have a problem

TJ Maxx is great for consumer cookwear. I bought a nice omelet pan there and a cast iron skillet as well as my set of forged kitchen knives. They just happened to have a good brand, and I was willing to pay $20 to get them that day instead of on ebay.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:03 AM   #8
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I don't care for the PVC cutting boards, and here's why. They're the right harness that they don't wear out your knives, but where I was working, I saw them when they had just rolled out of the dishwasher. They were nearly melted. I don't know if that's a testament to the hot final rinse water or how these things can melt, but I'm a bit weary of them. I suppose if you hand wash it, you'll never have a problem

TJ Maxx is great for consumer cookwear. I bought a nice omelet pan there and a cast iron skillet as well as my set of forged kitchen knives. They just happened to have a good brand, and I was willing to pay $20 to get them that day instead of on ebay.
I've been using the white plastic cutting boards for many years. I always put them intot he DW for sanitation (190 F water). There has never been a melting problem. I'd guess it's the commercial DW that's the problem.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:19 AM   #9
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I've been using the white plastic cutting boards for many years. I always put them intot he DW for sanitation (190 F water). There has never been a melting problem. I'd guess it's the commercial DW that's the problem.
Yeah there has never been a problem at my work with the Dishwasher melting a cutting board. We have the really thick ones at work.

I did accidentally place one of my boards on a still hot burner ; it's okay though cause the other side is fine; I can still use it.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:33 AM   #10
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Sounds like I need to check out my local kitchen supply store!!! I am really interested in the baking sheets you folks mention. I keep buying this junk from BB&B and after 2 or 3 uses is looks like crud! (Not that I care what it looks like, just would like something that I don't have to buy every 6 to 8 months.) Sounds like a good place to get my stock pot I want to add to my kitchen tools!
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:30 AM   #11
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I bought good baking sheets at Sam's Club--half sheet size, and I think they were $7 each.

Rolled rims, heavy aluminum, no warping.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:46 AM   #12
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I bought good baking sheets at Sam's Club--half sheet size, and I think they were $7 each.

Rolled rims, heavy aluminum, no warping.


These half sheet pans are a great size for the home oven. I have 3 or 4. I also have a quarter sheet pan that's very handy for smaller jobs for the two of us.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:58 AM   #13
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What exactly do I need to look for in these baking sheets? I obviously keep picking the wrong ones... they warp, they discolor, they stick!
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:14 PM   #14
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These are plain aluminum. Silvery in color and about an inch deep The edges are rolled over so they won't warp. The large size for home use s a half sheet pan
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:24 PM   #15
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My altimate dream is to have comercial kitchen, everything from a to z. But That is only if i win lotery, otherwise I do not see where the funds would come from. I love comercial stuff, it is so much better.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:30 PM   #16
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Sounds like I need to check out my local kitchen supply store!!! I am really interested in the baking sheets you folks mention. I keep buying this junk from BB&B and after 2 or 3 uses is looks like crud! (Not that I care what it looks like, just would like something that I don't have to buy every 6 to 8 months.) Sounds like a good place to get my stock pot I want to add to my kitchen tools!
Okay, another thing here, use parchment paper! I can't stress enough how great this stuff is. It really saves in the cleanup department. It keeps your pans from staining as well.

As soon as funds permit, I'm going to get more half-sheets at the restaurant supply store.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:34 PM   #17
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My altimate dream is to have comercial kitchen, everything from a to z. But That is only if i win lotery, otherwise I do not see where the funds would come from. I love comercial stuff, it is so much better.
Oh heck yes! Commercial microwaves, mixers, food processors, cookware, blenders, etc. It's not as pretty [some is] but you can just feel the heavy duty quality in it all. The problem is, some of it is big and can take up precious counter space.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:53 PM   #18
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That is why I need to win lottery, so the counterspace is going to be as big as my immagination can see
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Old 10-22-2007, 01:50 PM   #19
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Falkon.. yes, I use the parchment paper... just started using it more often here the last several months. It took me a while to realize the value of this stuff!!! But even with the paper... I still got cruddy pans!!! LOL!

Thanks Andy M.!!!!
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:38 PM   #20
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Sounds like I need to check out my local kitchen supply store!!! I am really interested in the baking sheets you folks mention. I keep buying this junk from BB&B and after 2 or 3 uses is looks like crud! (Not that I care what it looks like, just would like something that I don't have to buy every 6 to 8 months.) Sounds like a good place to get my stock pot I want to add to my kitchen tools!
Sattie, the commercial aluminum sheet pans will stick, too, unless you use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper or oil the pan every time but they definitely don't warp. I really like them for reheating a huge frozen casserole or maybe a frozen Stouffer's lasagne because the sheets are heavy duty enough that you can pull them out of the oven fully loaded with one hand and they won't buckle! While you're at the restaurant supply, check out the "screen racks". They are wonderful metal racks designed to store pizza pans standing up on their rims. I built a shelf over my fridge and then permanently attached these racks to it and now I store all my baking sheets, platters, cutting boards, serving trays etc. standing up in these racks. Everything is easy to see and reach.
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