Yet Another One Looking For New Cookware

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by impurescience, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. impurescience


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    Cook At Home
    Greetings all. I am a dedicated amateur cook, and this is my first time posting here, although I've read many articles and posts with great interest.

    I'm looking for some new cookware – I recently parted with a lot of older Cuisinart MCP in a separation and a move to a new apartment. I liked the Cuisinart a lot, inexpensive and very competent, but I figure that since I can more or less start over again I'd consider alternate solutions.

    I just realized that even after losing the stainless cookware I still have quite a bit: Le Creuset French ovens, a Le Creuset skillet, 2 Lodge skillets, some original Corningware and several pans for baking. It occurs to me that I may not need a set at all, but possibly just some stockpots and saucepans.

    Anyway, I've been doing some R&D and my brain hurts. There seem to be so many possibilities, most of which seem to be at least decent. Here are the parameters I've been considering:

    • Multi-ply vs stainless with aluminum disks: when I started looking I didn't even consider cookware with disks, but now I see that there are several highly-regarded lines (Vollrath, Bourgeat) that use disks rather than layered steel and aluminum. Not only that, but I see that where these items are reviewed at restaurant supply websites they get excellent reviews. Basically, the question here is: which is really better, or can really good stuff be constructed either way?

    • USA vs France vs China: At this point it may be silly to worry about buying USA-made items, since basically everything is now made in China, but I do note more (not many, but more) bad reviews of Chinese-made items in the area of non-corrosion-resistant stainless steel and flaking/bubbling layers of steel in multi-ply cookware. I haven't seen anything like this for French-made products, nor for high quality American cookware e.g. All-Clad.

    • I like quality stuff, and I lean toward the industrial rather than jewelry, although I do appreciate nice-looking equipment. I love things that are really well made, indestructible, and preferably unpretentious.
    I had come up with a few possibilities, and would appreciate any comments or suggestions:

    • A set of Vollrath Optio, plus one or two additional open stock pots. Unbelievably inexpensive, and yet all the reviews I see are very positive. Disk construction, made in China. This certainly looks attractive for cost-effective and industrial, not sure how I'd like them in the long run.

    • A self-designed collection of Vollrath Tribute stock pots and sauce pans. They look very sturdy and seem very well-regarded. Not cheap but reasonable. Multi-ply; originally they were made in USA but now seem to be made in China. I don't read of any problems WRT quality related to the change in factory location.

    • Cuisinart's French Classic line, either a set plus a few bits of open stock, or a collection of their stockpot and their saucepans. They seem nicely made, and of possibly better quality than the MCP line. Multi-ply, reasonably priced (about half of All-Clad), but not many pieces in the collection, selection is a bit limited.

    • Going for broke, a set of Mauviel M'Cook, either stock or the SLT version, which has a very nice brushed finish. The selection of pieces seems to be very intelligent to me: 2 saucepans, a stockpot, and a 10- and (almost) 12-inch skillet instead of the usual 8- and 10-inch skillets. (I actually wouldn't mind having the stainless skillets to complement the others I have...) Multi-ply, pretty darned expensive, and made in France. I am considering that if I get a set like this I'll probably keep it for at least 10 years, so the cost becomes less of an issue in the long run.

    • Then, speaking of going for broke, there's All-Clad. I would consider the 3-ply stainless, certainly no fancier than that; they seem to be favorites of many, and I probably shouldn't ignore them. I don't like the handles, I find they dig into my hands and I don't feel that I have as much control over them as I'd like. But the quality certainly seems to be there, and I see very little buyers' remorse with them.

    • Also Tramontina multi-ply, and the Saber cookware sold by Costco, but this post is already awfully long.
    I'm also beginning to worry that maybe I've overdone the R&D and I need to just get something, anything, and start cooking again :)

    Thanks for any comments and/or suggestions!
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    clad vs  disk. Good stuff exists in both. For saute pans, i prefer clad because of the flared sides. Thin sides on disk bottom saute pans scorch. Similarly, on saucepans or pots, you want disks that go all the way to the outer edge. Right now, a sort of pot bellied look is in style, but it's just asking for scorching on those thin sides. 

    Origin, Good can be had from any of them. Bang for the buck, I like tramontina out of Brazil. 
  3. aaron mckeown

    aaron mckeown

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    Culinary Student
    I have just purchased the multiclad pro and I am very happy using them with a gas stove there great very good heat dispersion and oven safe to 260c any questions regarding them just ask