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Old 05-30-2006, 11:52 PM   #1
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Investing for a Long Time in Cookware

I'm slowly beginning to acquire some cookware, for which I intend to be a very active and hopefully skilled home chef. However, I want some very high quality stuff, so it will last, and also for...well...quality. Here's what I'm looking to get:

10" Skillet
12" Skillet
3 qt. Saute
2 x 3 qt Sauce

These are, I think, the items that I need to be high quality...maybe some of them in duplicate, like the skillets. I already have a cast iron Dutch Oven, soon to get a cast iron skillet, and intend to buy a metal bowl for a doulbe-boiler and a restaurant supply store grade stock pot for the pot.

So, if I'm looking to invest a pretty penny for longevity and quality, who do I go with? I've looked into it a bit and it seems like All-Clad leads the pack, but even there I see many different series. The Stainless Steel ones look pretty good...not sure about the Cop-R-Core or however its spelled, and I haven't even seen a real MasterChef. Any advice?

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Old 05-31-2006, 08:40 AM   #2
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All-Clad is among the top echelon. You won't go wrong if you choose them. Other brands will also provide good service.

The stainless steel All-Clad line is the only one that's dishwasher safe. The coppercore, masterchef (aluminum exterior) and other lines are not recommended for the DW.

On the other hand, some of the other lines have thicker cores. I don't think you'll have a complaint about any of them.

Other makers also have good stuff and should be considered. I would recommend tri-ply stainless as the material of choice.
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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Investing for a Long Time in Cookware

If you can afford the All-Clad, go for it! It's definitely top-of-the-heap stuff. I have a cute little All-Clad 1 qt. saucepan, and an 8" frypan, both of which I love dearly. Viking also makes great cookware, and I see now that Henckels has some interesting pieces.

However, several years ago, when I finally decided enough was enough, and I was going to get serious and buy some decent cookware to replace the scruffy collection of odds and ends I had (like most people) I did some research, and finally settled on the Wolfgang Puck cookware.

Consumer reports lists it as a best buy, it looked good, and I didn't have the $1300.00 or so I would have needed to get the same stuff in All-Clad. So I bought a set of Wolfgang Puck cookware for a little over $200.00, and I've never looked back. I love this stuff!

Both have stainless steel inner and outer jackets, both utilize a core metal that distributes heat evenly, both have riveted oven-safe handles. The major difference between the two is that the All-Clad, in most cases, has the core metal throughout the pan, where the Wolfgang Puck stuff only has it on the bottom. This, to me, is not a big deal. All this really means is the All-Clad stuff will cook things a little more quickly, once the pan gets heated, but will have more surface for things to stick and burn on.

Then there are things like this: The All-Clad stockpots have a squatty profile, meaning that they are wider than they are tall. This means that the stock you are making will evaporate rapidly. The Wolfgang Puck stockpots, on the other hand, are a little taller than they are wide, which means you can simmer stock for longer without having to add water. This can make for a more flavorful stock.

I'm not asking you to take my word for it, but just to check it out for yourself. Google "Wolfgang Puck Cookware" and it will take you right there.

Kelly
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Old 06-11-2006, 12:51 PM   #4
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I had some cookware that was disk bottomed like the Wolfgang Puck stuff. As I have a gas stove, the flame reached beyond the disk on some of the pans with smaller disks and caused scorching. That's why I switched to and recommed tri-ply. My daughter now uses the disk bottom pans on her electric stove and loves them.
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Old 06-12-2006, 10:00 AM   #5
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Hey Andy,

Admittedly I have never cooked with my WP stuff on a gas range. However, I wonder what you mean by "scorching"? Aside from a slight bevel, the disks on all my WP stuff are the same size as the bottom of the pans.

I certainly agree with you that the tri-ply stuff is a great way to go. However, if by "scorching" you mean soot accumulation on the sides of the pans, I don't see how either design would have an advantage over the other.

I have seen pans where the disk only covered about seventy-five percent of the bottom of the pan. Is this what you mean?

Please help me to understand. I also certainly agree with your implication that a gas range is superior to an electric one. However, even the one house I had that had gas heat had a fully electric kitchen. This bummed me out to no end. It would be wonderful to have a rangetop with burners that could be "now they're hot, now they're not." I thought about fixing this in that house, but while I am totally comfortable in doing my own plumbing and electrical work, I chickened out when it came to messing with the gas pipes.

Kelly
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Old 06-12-2006, 10:46 AM   #6
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Cookware and More sells cosmetic seconds AllClad at very reasonable prices (for AllClad).

I have been very happy with the quality of the cookware and their customer service.

Also, think about buying individual pieces rather than sets unless you are very certain that you will get good use from all the pieces in the set.
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyM
Hey Andy,

Admittedly I have never cooked with my WP stuff on a gas range. However, I wonder what you mean by "scorching"? Aside from a slight bevel, the disks on all my WP stuff are the same size as the bottom of the pans.

I certainly agree with you that the tri-ply stuff is a great way to go. However, if by "scorching" you mean soot accumulation on the sides of the pans, I don't see how either design would have an advantage over the other.

I have seen pans where the disk only covered about seventy-five percent of the bottom of the pan. Is this what you mean?

Please help me to understand. I also certainly agree with your implication that a gas range is superior to an electric one. However, even the one house I had that had gas heat had a fully electric kitchen. This bummed me out to no end. It would be wonderful to have a rangetop with burners that could be "now they're hot, now they're not." I thought about fixing this in that house, but while I am totally comfortable in doing my own plumbing and electrical work, I chickened out when it came to messing with the gas pipes.

Kelly

Kelly, some of the smaller pans or pans with small disks on the bottom such as the skillet with its curved sides, run the risk of a full flame's extending beyond the edge of the disk and heating the single ply stainless directly.

As SS does such a poor job of heat distribution, a hot spot is created where the flame hits the SS and burns (scorches) the food in the pan.

I had a set of Cuisinart Everyday (disk bottom like the Wolfgang Puck stuff) that gave me that problem so I got rid of it and switched to tri-ply, some of which is All-Clad. My daughter has the old set and has no problem on her electric stove.

I'm not dissing the WP stuff, just trying to point out a possible drawback for gas stove users. Nor am I suggesting that gas is better than electric for stovetops. Both deliver heat to the pot and you can cook great meals on both. It's just a matter of getting used to the tools you use.

My sister has the electric version of my gas stove (same brand and model). Her large burners deliver a lot more heat than my "high-output" gas burners.
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:38 AM   #8
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Welcome to DC, Garrett.

IMO, what you spend on cookware, depends on how much/often you cook & if you're a home cook or pro. I don't want something that lasts a lifetime -- very little does. There's plenty of high-priced cookware out there, and celebrity endorsed names don't carry any weight with me.

I dropped a bundle at Williams-Sonoma for copper cookware, that I kept on a potrack as part of my decor - wouldn't let anyone use it. I use utensils that will not scratch or mar the surface and don't turn the heat way up. The trick, for me, is using the cookware properly, according to manufacturer's instructions, and not abusing it.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:59 PM   #9
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All clad is basically an aluminum pot with a Stainless lining. the cheapest MC2 cooks as well as any of their other lilnes. THe Stainless outside is good if you want to use the dishwasher or an induction range top.

Calphalon is a quality pot...go for the top line not their bargain lines.

If you want copper, but top grade Mauviel, Faulk, Bourgeat, Delierhin, with stainless linings. THey are pricey but very fine! FAulk is readily available from their US website www.copperpans.com check it out.

However, you can get restaurant grade aluminum skillets with silverstone lining for a reasonable price from Broadway Panhandler ... also have a .com. And every kitchen needs some of those.
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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I've read your post several times. I recommend the All-Clad, but there might be some very high end brands that are beyond my radar.

As to All-Clad, between the master chef series and the stainless series I suspect the performance is the virtually the same. The difference in the exterior is, in my opinion, more for looks. Having said that, I paid the few extra bucks for the stainless exterior.

As for the other lines; well, I've never seen a post in the gist of, "that tri-ply with copper exterior cooks better."
It would, however, be pretty hanging from the rack if someone else took the time to maintain it.

The copper core sounds good but in forums where people recommend buying salt for $35 per pound plus shipping I've never seen it mentioned.

Whatever you decide, I'm looking forward to your invitation to dinner.
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:13 PM   #11
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You will not go wrong with All Clad as I am sure you already realize from this thread and from your own research. It is expensive stuff though and a good chunk of that cost is for the name alone. That is not to say that it is not worth it. All Clad performs well and looks very slick. You can find pans that perform just as well, but maybe don't look as cool or don't have the All Clad name and for a lot less $$$.

That being said, I shelled out the dough for a few pieces of All Clad and I am happy I did so.

Like Andy mentioned, look for Tri Ply pans. The will perform the best. Next best will be the disk on the bottom like what Kelly is talking about. If you have the money then go for the Tri Ply. If not then don't worry about getting the disk bottom type. Those can still be excellent.

As for the different lines of All Clad, I think skilletlicker hit the nail on the head. The difference, from what I can tell, is cosmetic. The will all perform basically the same. There is not enough copper in the copper core line to really make a difference. I went with the SS because I like the look.

A stockpot is one pot that I probably would not spend a lot of money on. You can get an inexpensive stockpot that will work perfectly. Kelly makes a great point about the width of the opening of this type of pot. A tall narrow stockpot is generally better than a short wide one for the reasons he mentioned.
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Kelly, some of the smaller pans or pans with small disks on the bottom such as the skillet with its curved sides, run the risk of a full flame's extending beyond the edge of the disk and heating the single ply stainless directly.

As SS does such a poor job of heat distribution, a hot spot is created where the flame hits the SS and burns (scorches) the food in the pan.

I had a set of Cuisinart Everyday (disk bottom like the Wolfgang Puck stuff) that gave me that problem so I got rid of it and switched to tri-ply, some of which is All-Clad. My daughter has the old set and has no problem on her electric stove.

I'm not dissing the WP stuff, just trying to point out a possible drawback for gas stove users. Nor am I suggesting that gas is better than electric for stovetops. Both deliver heat to the pot and you can cook great meals on both. It's just a matter of getting used to the tools you use.

My sister has the electric version of my gas stove (same brand and model). Her large burners deliver a lot more heat than my "high-output" gas burners.

Andy,

I felt kind of silly after I posted, and realized you were talking about the food scorching. Duh!

It's just that I have had no problems at all with scorching food, so that was the furthes thing from my mind. And yes, I realize at this point, you're probably rolling your eyes and saying "I'm talking about cooking with gas, dummy!" I don't blame you, but please read on.

Does the cookware you are talking about have a disk that covers the entire bottom of the pan? It would seem to me from your description that it does not, and leaves at least part of the bottom stainless exposed. I can certainly understand why such a design would lead to scorching on a gas burner, and it seems to me that such a design wouldn't be the best even on electric burners.

However, as I said, the disk on all the WP stuff covers the entire bottom of the pans, so I can't imagine turning a gas burner up high enough that flames would get beyond it and come in contact with the sides of the pan. As I also said, I've never used them on a gas range, so If I am wrong, please let me know. I'm not trying to argue with you; please forgive me if this seems to be the case. It's just that this set has been such a great value for me, and I would hate to see someone dismiss it out-of-hand because of a problem that might not apply.

Thanks for your patience.

Kelly
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:35 PM   #13
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I don't see this as arguing, Kelly. No problem.

Yes, the disks cover the entire bottoms of the pans. However, if you have a small pan, such as a one or two quart saucepan, the diameter of the pan and, therefore, the diameter of the disk on the bottom would be smaller than the reach of the gas flame.

This was especially a problem with the 10" skillet. The skillet measures 10" across the top. the sides taper down to the bottom which measures maybe 6.5" across. The disk on the bottom can only be 6.5" in diameter. The gas flames easily extended beyond that, causing scorching.

Yes, you could use a smaller burner or turn the flame down, but then you lose (or limit) the ability to do high heat cooking.
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