Redo and restock the kitchen general equipment (Pots/Pans/ Cutting Boards/Storage)

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Joined Aug 23, 2018
Hey everyone!
I am new to the forums here, I cook at home 3 to 4 times a day for 5 people. I am a home chef but I love to cook when I can. Up until now I have been using the pots and pans I have but no idea what brand they are and some Cut Co knives.
Well I want to up my game, I am taking some cooking classes to improve my skills, I am looking around at different magazine subscriptions and books to try to learn anything I can.

I am looking to improve things across the board based on things I have been learning and am finally ready to sink some cash. I have made another post over in the knife forms as well but this is more about the other equipment. I have old pots that do not have thick bottoms for even heat which just irritates me to no end. My containers are old plastic and breaking. My cutting boards are old, plastic and warped. I am done with the consumer grade junk. I want something that looks clean and will last.

Obviously I am not going to just go out and spend thousands at once but I do want to make a plan and start a systematic replacement here over the next year or so based upon what I can afford.

Cutting board : I am looking at Cotton and Dust / Boos / Boardsmith and maybe a few of the resin based ones you find a pro kitchen shops for meat prep.

Pots / Pans / Bake ware : I am looking at Coated cast iron (LeCreuset) / Cast Iron / Stainless steel / Ceramic / Stonewear. I am however having trouble finding some things I want such as a good quality pie pan that is 10” by 2.5” so you can do a large pumpkin pie for example without it spilling over the side much like the old school pie pans. I did find a few custom handmade stuffs for $50 which is steep but it would mean I get what I want. Also a nice pan for brownies that will allow more edge pieces and a good tea pot. For some of this since I am unable to find a good commercial product, I am looking at places like etsy and am all ears to any recommendations. I have seen post for scan pan pro / x-trema cookware.

I do NOT want any teflon or aluminum or any such junk, it always needs to be replaced every few years at best

Kitchen Storage Container : I am a big fan of ceramic / stoneware or glass for most of the baking ingredients. I honestly have not found anything that looks clean and has a nice wide mouth. As for things like potatoes, onion, garlic, tomatoes, squash, I have yet to find any good options beyond just stacking up baskets. I am all ears to any suggestions here.

I am well employed so I am not concerned about the cost of many pots and pans I see in general. Please let me know if there is any additional information that would be needed for appropriate recommendations to be given.
Please help guide me on high quality gear, when
recommend and please don't say since it is for home use anything will do. Buy quality once, use it for a long time. Buy garbage, buy a whole ton rather often and spend way more in a short period of time.... :-(
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Find a restaurant supply outlet with a showroom and walk around. Everything is commercial grade and will hold up well for home use.
 

pete

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Joined Oct 7, 2001
I think some of your ideas about what is "professional" are a little off base, but I agree that some of your items need upgrading.

First off, "professional" stuff needs to be "work horse" quality, not necessarily "high-end." I don't know that I know of any place that uses LeCreuset. It's great for home use, but that enameled cast iron is probably going to chip under restaurant usage. Not saying that you shouldn't have some-I'd love to own more than I do, but I don't consider that stuff "professional" equipment but more "foodie" equipment. When it comes to regular pots and pans, most places are using heavy duty All-Clad or something similar, and lots of it is heavy aluminum. And yes, it warps over time, but restaurants will replace that stuff from time to time. Same with "non-stick" stuff. Most places reserve the non-stick stuff for egg cookery (you don't get a really good sear with non-stick stuff) and most places are using Teflon coated (or other coated)pans and toss them when they have outlived their usefulness. I have never seen Calphalon or other such stuff in restaurant kitchens. Same goes for pie pans. Most of the time it is just thick aluminum, nothing special. At home I have both glass (pyrex) and regular old aluminum. Oh, and I think maybe a non-stick or 2. When it comes to size, personally I like 10" pies better, but the vast majority of recipes are based on 9" pie pans so there is a conversion factor you have to account for if making pies in a 10" pan or you end up with shallow pies.

I think you would be very surprised by a trip to a restaurant supply store and see what is being sold to, and bought by, restaurants. The only place where I feel really justifies the huge price jump is between "consumer" knives and professional knives.

Back to pans, most of mine are work horse quality All-clad with a nice thick bottom. I round that out with a couple of cast iron pieces (both pans and dutch ovens), a non-stick for omelet making, and French steel pan. When it comes to pots, I have a 8 quart (stainless) and a Calphalon just slightly smaller. I also have 2 enameled pots for canning and my large (5-6 gallon) stock pot is stand restaurant fare-aluminum.
 
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Joined Jun 11, 2013
I'm going to chime in here too. As said before, 'professional' restaurant quality is not the same as 'high-end'.

Brands like LeCreuset, Staub, Calphalon are designed for the home cook. The products are okay, but on the pricey side for what you get. I think more people buy them to impress their friends than purchase them because they're the best products for the intended purpose. They only look beautiful for so long if you use them. Plus, any enamel coating will eventually chip. LeCreuset and Staub are heavy and that can be a risk when moving them when they're full. I own one Staub pan for braising and the only reason I own it was it was a gift.

I like stainless steel All Clad. They perform well and last a long time. One thing I caution people about is 'store brand' or celebrity chef versions of cookware (e.g., Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table). I don't believe they are of comparable quality . . . and are even mediocre at best. Buy one All Clad pan in the size you use most often and see how you like it.

Every cook needs at least one nonstick pan for things like eggs. I have a couple of ScanPan and believe it's the best nonstick available.

Cutting boards can make a difference. I have a Boardsmith walnut end-cut board and love it. More important than the cutting board is knowing how to properly care for and use knives. This includes maintaining them on a regular basis, like honing. The best cutting board in the world will be marginal if your knives are poor quality, in bad shape, and you don't know how to use them well. Many home cooks fail to maintain their knives. Also, whatever you do, don't purchase a knife set!

I own a bunch of Epicurean boards. I like them because they're slim, store well, and are easy to clean. I use them a lot for prep work, but when it comes to cutting things, I use my cutting board.

For storage at home, I like clear OXO pop top containers. They're not the most attractive; however, I like clear so I can easily see what is in the container and how much there is. The tops seal well and come off easily.

Pie pan? If you want 10" (vs 9"), you will change the depth of the pie, cooking time, etc. Whatever you get, go for something that will work well (as opposed to looking pretty). If you're looking on Etsy, it sounds like you're looking at items made by an artist. Um, okay. It might look nicer, but probably won't even come close to a proper pie pan. You may want to consider a quiche pan with deeper sides.

Storing produce has a lot to do with humidity, temperature, and exposure to light. The list of produce posted in the original post is a broad range. In other words, you don't store potatoes the same way you store tomatoes. Frankly, the storage of produce is marginal since a lot of produce can decline in quality and I try to purchase what I need when I need it. Produce is not like wine . . . it doesn't get better as it ages.

Tea pot? Beyond a solid porcelain tea pot . . . I don't know what else to tell you . . . but, when I make tea, I usually make it one cup at a time.

Take some time and visit a restaurant supply store. What they sell is designed to hold up. It's often not the prettiest equipment and it won't impress others, but it will often work well compared with much of what is aimed at the home cook.

Start slowly . . . get one quality pan that feels good in your hand. Same for knives. Don't buy any of these items on-line (at least at first). You need to find what feels good in your hands and what works well for you.
 
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Joined Apr 24, 2018
I have a full set of expensive All Clad stainless that we got for our wedding almost 20 years ago. I almost never use them. My go to are my Lodge cast iron 10" skillet ($20), my lodge 6 qt enameled dutch oven ($60) and whatever inexpensive non-stick pan I have in my rotation. I find the searing and food release is much better on the cast iron skillet than the All Clad and the enameled dutch oven cooking more evenly for soups, stews, braised meats, etc. Both are super easy to clean as well. I have cooked using friends' Le Crueset cookware. 10% better than the Lodge for 4 times the price.

Have heard about warping issues with Boos. You can't go wrong with Boardsmith.

For knives, all you'll ever need if a nice 8"-10" chef's for on board work, a cheap paring knife (Victorinox-$20) for in the hand cutting and a decent bread nice. Add a boning/filet knife if you break down your own cuts of meat or fish. Tons of great options in the $100 to $200 range for the Chef's. Personally I prefer the bolster-less Japanese gyuto profile. The best resource out there is for knives is Jon Broida at Japaneseknifeimports.com. Call them up-they are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.

A cheap set of metal or glass prep bowls making cooking much easier. Prep all your ingredients 1st, clean up and then starting cooking. So much easier than prepping as you go.
 

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