Fry pans/pots

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by nathan kreider, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    Hey guys. I'm trying to become an apprentice chef, and I'm looking to get some decent (but not massively expensive) equipment. What would you guys suggest to buy for frypans, pots, etc.

    I don't want anything that will degrade quickly, and will have a decent non-stick for at least 6 months.

    Also, how would you suggest to clean non-stick equipment? I've read places to just use a non-abrasive pad w/ hot water, and no detergent. Is this true?
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    IMHO stay away from the non-sick, the only thing restaurants use them for is for omelettes.

    Go to a restaurant supply store and have a peek at the s/steel  cookware, then have a peek at Ikea--it's the same quality.

    Do not, I repeat, DO  NOT buy a "set" of cookware.  You only need a decent fry pan, a small sauce pan, and a large pot.
     
  3. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    If you get a non-stick pan, and I think every kitchen should have at least one, make sure it's anodized, not coated. I agree with foodpump that a set is not necessary. I bought a set a few years ago, and now only use the large saucepot from the set. I have replaced the fry pans with other s/s or aluminum pans. To be fair, however, I do the majority of my cooking in cast iron.
     
  4. franzb69

    franzb69

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    and if you really must have a nonstick pan, you could check out them new fangled ceramic pans. but anodized afaik are pretty good too.
     
  5. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    Thanks for the reply guys. Do you have any particular favourite/recommended brands to look at?

    As the only "good" company I could think of is Scanpan. And I mean "good" as in, I've read good reviews, but I'm not sure if they would be considered a good brand in the eyes of professionals. also, I would have a price limit of about.. $350 for a large fry pan, large & small pot. If you can get under, that would be great.
     
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    I agree with foodpump, stay away from non-stick as much as possible. Even omelettes, eggs, crepes and pancakes etc... come out better in a nicely seasoned carbon steel or cast iron pan. I haven't used non-stick in years, and I'm not missing it. 

    If you insist on getting a non-stick, I would get something not too expensive from the nearest restaurant supply store, or if there isn't one, look at the following pans: 

    http://www.culinarycookware.com/bourgeat-fry-pan-4-layer-non-stick-aluminum-matfer-bourgeat.html
     
  7. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    $350?

    How about $132 for those 3 items and then you can get some additional toys.

    Not sure what you're defining as large and small pots.  My largest is 160 quart; smallest is about 3 quart.

    Stainless steel lined will enable you to use them for tomato-based sauces.

    Non-Stick is largely unnecessary and often prevents a proper searing or caramelization from happening.

    $42 http://www.webstaurantstore.com/vol...-natural-finish-with-cool-handle/9224014.html

    $58 http://www.webstaurantstore.com/20-qt-heavy-duty-stainless-steel-stockpot-with-cover/922SSPOT20.html

    $32 http://www.webstaurantstore.com/8-qt-heavy-duty-stainless-steel-stockpot-with-cover/922SSPOT8.html

    *Note*

    While it could appear that I'm operating as a shill for Webstaurantstore.com, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have nothing to gain by mentioning them here.  Before buying equipment I did extensive research, and they were the primary source I used for stocking my kitchen and continue to use them.  I am nothing more than a satisfied consumer.
     
  8. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    Thanks for the links, ChefDave. I'm really intrigued in buying a meat needler, for quicker marinading/cooking. Have any of you guys ever encountered them before?
     
  9. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    Do you guys have any Australian websites like that one? Because I put in an order for a 48 Blade meat tenderizer, 2 x 8 oz. sauce bottles, the Vallroth 14" pan and the 8 & 20 Qt. pots, and it came out to $200 shipping, because I live in Australia, which I'm not too keen on spending on $155 worth of kitchenware.
     
  10. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    Yeah, you don't want to pay that for shipping.

    I suggest you do some internet searching and you should be able to come up with something within Australia that professionals use.

    Alternatively, get in touch with a restaurant supply company and tell them what you need.
     
  11. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    i found an Australian site, got a (what i think) decent cookware range. will link when i get home.
     
  12. franzb69

    franzb69

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    a few comments on the aluminum pan and the bamboo chopping board....

    aluminum pans are reactive to food so i'd steer clear from those. with the bamboo chopping board, although it looks to me as an end grain / edge grain bamboo chopping board and the fact that it's "environmentally sustainable", it's still harsher on knives than hardwood(preferably end grain, friendlier to your knife) boards and plastic boards. if you can find one that's not bamboo and still be friendlier to your pocket, it will be better for your knives in the long run.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  13. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    Thanks for the reply. The reason I went with the aluminium pan is because the iron fry pans on this website stop at 300mm. Maybe I'll just go with the iron? Also the chopping board, that is the only wooden board they have, unless I go plastic.
     
  14. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Nothing the matter with plasic cutting boards.  99.99% of restaurants use them.

    The meat tenderizer you wnat is called a "Jaccarderizer", 48 blades in a spring loaded plastic handle.  I was buying them in Singapore in the late 90's, so I see no rason why Australia shouldn't have them.
     
  15. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    There sure isn't anything wrong with plastic chopping boards, I'd just rather to have a nice big wooden chopping board, I love the look & feel of them, but the trouble is finding one that won't blunt my knives super quick.

    And thanks for that, I'll definitely get the Jaccard meat tenderizer for home use. With the tenderizer, would it be possible to just buy cheaper cuts of meat, and use the tenderizer to break up the connective tissue, make it tender without having to slow cook it?
     
  16. chefdave11

    chefdave11 Banned

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    Doesn't quite work like that.
     
  17. nathan kreider

    nathan kreider

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    I don't mean like, worst cut of meat possible. Something just below my choice cuts (Scotch fillet) to save money.

    What material would you suggest for fry pans, btw? As the website I found only has Aluminium, Iron & Bourgeat (They sell aluminium & ceramic).
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Think of a fry pan as a battery, but instead of storing electricity, it stores heat..  The thicker and denser the material, the more heat it can store, and has fewer "cold spots", and doesn't cool down as soon as you put something into it.

    Cast iron is a good choice, s/s lined heavy guage copper is a Rolls-Royce. In all honesty, I haven't used a ceramic pan yet.

    The Jaccarderizer cuts the meat strands into small bits. Tough meat that is jaccarderized will be still be tough, albeit in small bits.  The best thing for tough meat is longer cooking times, like braising.  In other words, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I don't know what is and what isn't available in Oz at reasonable prices, that's research you'll probably have to do at Oz specific sites. 

    You're not equipping a commercial kitchen and you don't need or even necessarily want commercial cookware.  It won't make you a better cook.  If you want commercial cookware because it's your style -- find some restaurant supply stores in Oz.  I can tell you where to go in Culver City and Monterey Park, but not Sydney.  You also want to look for mid to high-end consumer grade cookware in the usual sources, like department stores.

    Vollrath is great.  Don't waste your money shipping it to Oz.  Don't as in don't.  Not as in maybe.  Just don't.  You might want to take a look at Cuisinart cookware -- I think it's available globally.

    What works for most people in terms of low-sided pans is a core group of reasonable quality of multi-ply skillets and/or straight-sided frying pans with stainless steel linings, as well as a few specialty skillets.  The even heating and warp prevention you get from multi-ply is not as important with higher sided sauce pans which are used primarily for heating liquids -- a solid aluminum disk which reaches to the edge under a stainless body is all you need.  On the other other hand (we're up to the third hand), if you use your higher-sided pans for browning -- as with braising for instance -- you want something more substantial. 

    Your specialty choices depend on your needs.  There are a lot of possibilities, cast iron, enamel over cast iron, carbon steel, ceramic non-stick, etc.  Horses for courses.  Personally, I don't care for non-stick and prefer seasoned carbon steel for most non-stick purposes. 

    "Even heating" is a tricky concept.  It's partly dependent on materials, partly on mass, and partly on pre-heating.  Appropriate pre-heating covers a multitude of sins.  Heat the pan before putting oil in it.  Heat it some more to temp the oil and allow the oil to even out the hot and cold spots in the pan.  Then and only then add the food.

    "Temperature stability" is mostly mass, and partly materials.  Heavy cast-iron is best... but what is it best for?  Mostly things which involve putting large amounts of food into hot oil, when it's important to keep the oil temp as stable as possible.  E.g., pan-fried chicken.

    "Responsivenes" is the flip side of even heating and temp stability.  Everything else being equal the lighter the pan the more responsive it will be, but materials are very important too because you want the pan too change temps as a whole.

    Most of my stove-top cookware is the most expensive stainless lined copper money can buy -- Mauviel M'Heritage 250.  Very beautiful, but it doesn't work any better than the old Calphalon Pro (anodized aluminum) it replaced; at least not as a practical matter.  The same is true about our Le Creuset and Staub braisers, etc., etc.  More beautiful, more expensive and more better... yet I'm the same cook I always was. 

    Mid-level cookware is all you need.  Better is better, but it won't make your food taste much if any better.  It won't make you a better cook either.  Last longer, look better, more comfortable in the hand, clean better, yes.  Worth it? Depends.

    In terms of skillets, saute-pans, "chicken fryers," etc., we've got at least three of each carbon steel, cast iron, and copper/stainless.  Horses for courses. 

    Before spending money, try to nail it down a little in terms of what you can store, what you can afford, and what you want to cook. 

    The easiest, most efficient, and most cost-effective purchase for someone equipping a first kitchen from (more or less) scratch is probably a set of multi-ply with something like three frying/saute pans, three sauce pans, a small stock pot, and lids.  Add a non-stick or carbon steel pan for omelettes, a "spaghetti set," and Voila!

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
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