Buying Pans, what’s important? Question for cooking expert

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Waveform

Assistant Cook
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Dec 23, 2004
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USA,Illinois
Hi, I’m not experienced in what makes a cooking pan good but I wanted to buy some good cooking pans for my parents, like the kind you see the cooks on TV using. Not Teflon.
Can anyone make any recommendations what I should be aware of in picking out high quality pans?

I'm willing to spend 2 or 3 hundred even on 3 or 4 pans if I can get somethaing high end, or do I need to spend that much?

Advanced thahks!
 

Waveform

Assistant Cook
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Dec 23, 2004
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Location
USA,Illinois
Thank you PA Baker for the link, I'll take a look at that.
That wolf gang set looks nice.

I was reading somewhere that some of the good stainless steel sets have an aluminum layer for heat conductivity laminated between the stainless steel interior and exterior. These things are like $170 for one pan, that’s a lot.
I’m guessing you can put most of the good pans in the oven right?
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
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Fort Worth, TX
Hi Waveform! Glad to have you join us here!!! :D

Cookware made from different materials in different ways have their advantages and drawbacks. The discussion we had on this, that PABaker gave you, demonstrates this.

Stainless steel is a rotten heat conductor .... that's why good SS cookware has either a center core of aluminum - or a thick disk of aluminum "encapsulated" on the bottom of the pots/pans. I, personally, don't find that the high end All Clad is any better than the cheaper good quality aluminum bottom disc cookware.

I don't have it - but if I was buying cookware today .... I would have no second thoughts about buying Wolfgang Puck's cookware.

Stainless Steel cookware can go into the oven. The only problem is with the handles and lids. Metal handles can go into a hotter oven than plastic, some plastic can't go into an oven at any temp. Tempered glass lids can only handle between 350F-450F - depending on the brand. But for most oven cooking like a braise or a stew - that would be fine.
 

Waveform

Assistant Cook
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
5
Location
USA,Illinois
Thanks for the help guys

I yesterday I went and bought two things from Williams Sonoma which is a place here in Chicago not sure if they are anywhere else? Have you heard of them?
I spent $140 on a 12 ’’frying pan and about $90 on a sauté pan. I think they have the wrong picture up at the site becouse when you click on the 12'' fry pan it's not the right image. Click on the 14'' thats what my pan looks like.

They want almost $500 just for a 7 peice set so I just got two of the most important things at this time.
These have the aluminum in the center but I think they are stainless steel on the top so they won’t wear away. I guess some of these brands that have aluminum none stick on the outside is not so good, that guy at the store was telling me that aluminum reacts with food.
Anyway they have some beautiful stuff at this place!


http://ww2.williams-sonoma.com/cat/...shop&pkey=cckwacsb&gids=c035&ftest=1&flash=on


http://ww2.williams-sonoma.com/cat/...|rshop/catcckwacsb|p1|rshop/catcckwb|p1|rshop
 

Waveform

Assistant Cook
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Dec 23, 2004
Messages
5
Location
USA,Illinois
I just called the William Sonoma

They said I’m the second person that called on the web site not having the correct image.
Apparently it’s correct so I have the 14’’ which is fine. I guess I should let the store know. I can't beleave they have the wrong lable up.
 

Psiguyy

Sous Chef
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
843
Somebody posted earlier that the Wolfgang Puck stainless steel set was highly rated by Consumer Reports. For the price, you can't beat it. It's sold at the Home Shopping Network. There's a dizzying array of sets available for under $300, as I recall. I'm talking 30+ piece sets for two hundred sumthin dollars.

One caution. Lots of old home cooks don't know how to cook with Stainless Steel. SS takes a bit of learning to cook with it properly. When frying, there's no such thing as oil free frying, so if your parents are on a low fat diet, that could be a problem. You may want to include some non-stick frying pans.
 

mjsorkin

Assistant Cook
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Oct 9, 2004
Messages
23
I think you made the right choice. All-Clad is truly top of the line, both by reputation and quality. I don't have any all clad myself, but I've handled them in the store and I have heard enough good things about them.
 

buckytom

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beware of the "emerilware" by all clad. i have worn out the nonstick coating inside a frying pan, an omelet pan, and a sauce pan is scratched. what used to be a shiny non-stick coating is now a matte, very sticky surface. the anodized grey outside is also very stained, and i have tried everything to clean it.
i really liked their weight and heat conductivity, but the non-stick coating needs to be improved.
waveform, something you might want to research and invest in is a good cast iron pan, grill pan, and/or dutch oven to go along with non-stick and stainless cookware.
 

Otter

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USA,Minnesota
Most of my stuff is Calphalon non-stick (I make a lot of sticky things - eggs, sauces, pancakes) but I do have an All-Clad fry pan for searing meats and putting in the oven to finish - it is excellent cookware. I'm sure your parents will be happy with your gift.
 

Lifter

Washing Up
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Jun 26, 2004
Messages
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I spent about $90(Cdn$) on a 10" ThermAlloy non stick aluminum fry pan better than three years ago that has been very good to me (and have no doubt that you can do better on the price!)

I found the "secret" was in laying down the law on the implements that were permitted to be used with it, hand-washing it, and keeping it very scrupulously clean...I will use oil in if there's any doubt in my mind about stickiness...

On the other hand, congrats on selecting a superb gift for your family members, that they will appreciate for many years, and yield them fantastic meals! Who could give better, or more? Things that will be treasured and appreciated daily!
 

Waveform

Assistant Cook
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
5
Location
USA,Illinois
Thanks everyone.

Like anything else I guess, there are different tools for different jobs it seems.
I choose to stay away from the none stick stuff becouse like someone said it wears out.
However All clad makes a line of Teflon pans, but it’s different then the traditional Teflon that gets scratched. This stuff is actually imbedded into the pan. I don't by any Teflon yet but I'll probably get one for eggs.

I’m still confused though about weather or not I have the 12’’ or the 14. The box says 12’’ yet when you click on the 12’’ sample image from the web site it shows a completely different pan then what I have. It’s very crazy.
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
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I shop at Williams-Sonoma about as often as I do Neiman-Marcus or the Rolls Royce dealership ... :shock:

This is going to sound like a really basic idea, but, break out a tape measure and check the diameter of you mystery pan on the inside at the top of the pan. If it's close to 12" - it's a 12" pan, if it's closer to 14" - it's a 14" pan. Companies change things up from time to time .. so might very well have a 12" with a helper-handle that looks like the 14", but isn't.
 

Caine

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CHINATOWN
I have been telling people about this place for years. It is called Le Gourmet Chef, and you usally find them in an outlet mall, or you can shop online. Check out these two tri-ply stainless steel sets, one 7 piece set http://www.legourmetchef.com/product.php?category=1&page=9&product=776 and one 10 piece set http://www.legourmetchef.com/product.php?category=1&page=9&product=777. I guarantee you they are of comparible quality to All-Clad, manufactured to the same standards, and work just as well, at 1/3 the price. I own these myself and I swear by them.

If you continue to peruse Le Gourmet Chef's web site, you will find that they also sell both Calaphlon non-stick, and Calphalon One pots and pans at the best prices available anywhere. I also own some of the Claphalon stuff and am very happy with it. In additon, they carry a complete line of Lodge Cast Iron at reasonable prices.

You said you are in Chicago, so you can find a Le Gourmet Chef at the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora. The store carries much more than you see in the online site, and you can buy all their cookware individually, rather than in sets.

Before you spend any more money at Williams-Sonoma, please check this place out. I believe you will be thoroughly satisifed with the price, the selection, and the quality.
 

jennyema

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buckytom said:
beware of the "emerilware" by all clad. i have worn out the nonstick coating inside a frying pan, an omelet pan, and a sauce pan is scratched. what used to be a shiny non-stick coating is now a matte, very sticky surface. the anodized grey outside is also very stained, and i have tried everything to clean it.
i really liked their weight and heat conductivity, but the non-stick coating needs to be improved.
waveform, something you might want to research and invest in is a good cast iron pan, grill pan, and/or dutch oven to go along with non-stick and stainless cookware.


All Clad got it's name from being just that -- all clad. The aluminum core is not just a disk on the bottom but surronds the entire pan. his makes for better and more even heat conduction. That is one of the things that makes real All Clad such good cookware. I heartily endorse it -- just make sure you never pay full price. You can buy cosmetic seconds for cheap.

Anyway "Emerilware" is the bottom of the line All clad and isn't "all clad." And they charge top dollar for it because of his name. It just has a disk on the bottom. People complain about food burning in the corners of the pan because of it.
 

Rob Babcock

Head Chef
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Dec 23, 2004
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Big Sky Country
I'm not very swayed by brands, but my favorite, most cherished saute pan is a Calphalon, a nice nonstick with an encapsulated disc bottom. Nonstick pans can burn out eventually, but if you use common sense (and don't use them to blacken or pan broil) they'll last quite awhile. Just don't let anyone use them! Er, anyone else, I mean!:LOL:

Really almost all pans should have an encapsulated disc bottom- they just heat more evenly and do a nicer job. I've got nice stainless 8 qt & 10 qt ones like this for my soups, stews & pasta cooking. I keep a few burned out pans for when my mom comes to visit- saves her the trouble of ruining a nice pan. :P A nice heavy wok is handy to have, as is a small saucepan.

My sister recently paid for her life subscription to The Cooking Club of America. She got a free cookset, and I was surprised to see the stuff wasn't to bad. Not huge, maybe a 10 peice, but all the pots & pans had encapsulated disc bottoms and are reasonably heavy stainless steel. The handles feel a tad lightweight, but not bad for a spiff.
 

masteraznchefjr

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
785
Location
UCLA
I use one pan for everything 360 times a year and have been using it for hmm lets see 4 years. and its still in good condition. I use a cast iron pan that is Le Creuset. Very durable and easy to use
 

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