Pros: Unbelievable heat distribution, Stainless steel lined, durable, craftsmanship and quality of copper
Cons: Cost, do not come with lids, incomptability with certain cook-tops, high maintenance, Manufacturer is closed for July and August
In 1997, my wife purchased 5- L Atelier Du Cuivre sauce pans in varying sizes for my Birthday.
The quality of this cookware is truly amazing. I could not have asked for a better set of pans for any type of cooking.
Construction: Each pan is constructed of the finest French Copper, 2.5mm thick for the entire pan, even the sides. This is ideal and helps eliminate any type of heat loss through the sides of the pan. It basically is the whole pan heating the food at the same rate instead of the bottom being a different temp from the sides.
The pans I have are lined with stainless steel but you can get them lined with tin or even silver. The handles are cast Iron with a hammered finish. Although my pans have the handles fastened with rivets, it’s my understanding that they now fasten their handles with a weld. Even though they claim this is more hygienic, I can't help but wonder about this choice. The rivets have never posed a problem for me and it gives the pan a more secure, heavy duty feeling and look. They also have a detachable wood handle available as an option. I actually would have welcomed this option if it were available. Especially in a commercial setting because of the versatility of cooking surfaces the pan could be used on without the handle getting in the way.
Even at home, for those that have an indoor char-grill section of a cook-top, this option would be ideal for any one that doesn't mind using it as an additional cooking surface during special occasions. I used mine quite frequently because I never seemed to have room for all of the pans during the holidays.
Usage: Copper is and has always been one of the world’s best conductors... especially for heat. The evenness that these pans disperse heat is unparalleled by any other pan I have used. This becomes very important if you enjoy making sauce reductions instead of using roux to thicken. This provides a healthier approach to thickening sauces. These pans are ideal for gas ranges and cook-tops and even electric ranges where an element or hot plate is used. They are, however, incompatible with ceramic ranges and I cannot confirm their compatibility with the new induction cook tops.
Durability: The 2.5mm copper is very durable and the fact that I have used mine for 13 years with no decrease in thickness or signs of any type of warping gives testament to this. The copper also helps to reduce energy consumption because you are able to use less heat to attain the same results as any multi-ply, stainless steel, copper clad or aluminum pan. The stainless steel lining is ideal when cooking high acid foods since the greatest issue for an unlined copper pan is that higher acid foods can pit the copper and render the pan useless over time. It also makes for easy cleaning.
Care and cleaning: Copper, like any precious or semi-precious metal oxidizes especially when heated. I is also soft and will dent so care to not bang you pots needs to be taken Frequent cleaning with a high quality copper cleaner is recommended. To keep the mirror like finish you should never use any abrasive cleaners or pads to clean the outside of the pan. Bleach should never be use anywhere near these pans and be allowed to come into contact with the copper. This will immediately turn the copper black and destroy the finish. As far as I know, there is no product or procedure available to repair copper that has come in contact with bleach.
Summary: Although these pans are expensive, they unfortunately do not come with a lid. The lids are available for separate purchase which does add to the expense. We opted to never get lids because of this. Yet the fact that they will last for more than just your life-time if properly used and maintained helps give the cost of the pans and even the extra cost of the lids some perspective. Plus they are the perfect thing to pass on to the next generations of aspiring Chef's...at-home or Professional......in your family. Personally, I am hopeful that our daughter with get many years of usage out of them and then pass them on to her children.