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Anyone familiar with le Gourmet Chef tri ply?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am looking at a very nice looking set of tri-ply cookware from le Gourmet Chef that resembles All Clad in nearly every aspect. I have some AC pieces and have compared a similar item from LGC; the differences are almost negligible (AC has a very slight increase in thickness - about that of an index card). Can anyone comment on LGC? From the bits and pices I pick up in other forums, they compare quite favorably, but I'd like to hear from this forum.

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hope you don't mind if I bump this one up - I'm still waiting to hear from anyone who has tried the Le Gourmet Chef line of tri-ply....
post #3 of 18
I don't know anything about Le Gourmet Chef cookware but I will tell you that I am suspicious of a product with a name like Le Gourmet Chef. Like I'm supposed to be impressed by the French terminology.

I would want to know who makes it and how it is made and and the quality of the materials and get some testimonials from users of the product - just like you are doing here and where I can't help because I haven't used it. What's the cost comparison?

post #4 of 18

Le Gourmet Chef Tri Ply Cookware

Hi, I read your question about LGC try ply cookware. I work at a LGC store. I can tell you that you will love this cookware. I'm sure the person at the store has told you about the cookware but just in case they didn't I can give you some info on it. It is stainless steal cookware. It has an aluminum core which helps with even heating through out the pan. It has stay cool handles and can go straight from the stovetop to the oven up to I believe 600 degrees. (of course the handles will be hot when coming out of the oven). It has a lifetime warrenty on it and it is made for LGC by al clad.
I had a lady come into the store where I work. She said she was a personal chef (she goes into peoples homes and cooks and freezes up to a months worth of meals for them). She bought a 12 piece set of the tri ply plus a stock pot with a pasta insert. She told me that she had been shopping for a new set of cookware and she liked the tri ply best out of all she had looked at.
We sell a lot of tri ply in our store and rarely have it returned. I will tell you this LGC has a wonderful return policy. You can return any item you buy at the store at any time for any reason. You should try it I'm sure you will be very pleased with your purchase.
post #5 of 18
A factor to keep in mind when you're buying cookware is that Wolfgang Puck, Emeril, etc. are not in the manufacturing business. Therefore, someone makes their products for marketing under their name. LGC would, in my opinion, fall within the same category. When I buy quality cookware (or any cookware for that matter) I look first at the way it's put together. Do the lids/covers have a good seal; do they just sit on top of the pan or do they rest in a recess in the top of the piece. Are the handles held on with screws, rivets, welded, etc. Is the composition polished steel, copper, aluminum, solid stailness; stainless over copper, aluminum, etc. Is the finish smooth or pitted. Is the piece well balanced and does it rest flat on the cooking surface. Can the piece be taken from the stovetop to the oven and will it be easy to clean. Will the handles remain cool on the stovetop or will I need a potholder. I use cast iron quite a lot so I am no stranger to using a potholder (or that towel I tuck into my waistband) to pick up a pan. It goes without saying that anything removed from an oven is going to require a potholder.
If you know what you want in a piece of cookware the selection process will be short and sweet. It either meets your criteria, including what you're willing to pay for it, or it doesn't.
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
post #6 of 18
Actually, Consumer Reports has rated them in the December 2005 issue.

1. KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials was first
2. Calphalon Contemporary
3. Emerilware Stainless (but melt and fall apart if left on a burner)
4. Magnalite Classic
5. Member's Mark Tri-ply clad
6. J.A. Hennckels Classic Clad
7. T-Fal Jamie Oliver
8. All Clad Master Chef 2
9. Cuisinart Chef's Classic
10. All Clad Copper Core 6000
post #7 of 18

All Clad vs. Le Gourmet Chef (LGC)

Both are excellent. Handles are a personal issue; I like both. I recently started testing them side by side. The All Clad cooks a little faster and conducts a little better, but the LGC is fine for most jobs and people The All Clad tri-ply goes all the way up the sides which is probably why. I suspect the LGC is tri-ply on the bottom only. I have an induction range so conduction is important. I am using an infrared thermometer to try to measure differences. With liquid in the pan, a lot of the difference goes away as the liquid also acts to conduct heat. Both are well made. For the price and for most people, the LGC is a real bargain. The Lancaster, PA outlet has a 50% off sale now!
post #8 of 18
The KitchenAid set is just another "me-too" aluminum-disk-in-the-bottom set of stainless cookware. It's not clad cookware all the way up the side of the pan or pot.

I think all the sets in this list are of this same construction (except the All Clad). Can you get decent results? Sure, but at some point these kinds of pots and pans will ruin a dish. Unfortunately, you may not realize the dish has been ruined and I guess that gives rise to the term "ignorance is bliss." Indeed it can be sometimes. And the difference in a disaster or a success is often a fine line requiring an informed palate.

Cookware needs to be supple in terms of changing heat. The standard is probably 2 to 2.5 MM thick copper with tin lining with stainless steel and aluminum clad construction a close second (All Clad et al.). What otherwise seems to be well-constructed pots and pans with thick aluminum disks are not responsive enough to changes in heat. They hold heat great and might not be bad for continual searing and sauteeing but if you need to go in behind the protein and make a sauce you could have a problem on your hands.

There is no free lunch. You can't get six great pots and pans for $169. You can get a set, but they ain't great.

CR rating the All-Clad products eighth and tenth is a joke (especially on that list).

Just looked at a pic of the Jamie Oliver set which has received some kudos on the cooking boards. Well, the disk in the bottom is right there bigger'n poop. I'd bet good money these sets are made by no more than three different contract manufacturers and maybe only two. If you were a fly on the wall on the manufacturing line you could probably watch these brands rolling down the same assembly line ('cept the AC).
post #9 of 18
Clad up the side is marketing hype. I can't think of a time I want heat from the side of my pot or pan. And really, all the heat is being applied to the bottom of the pan. I can transfer that heat into the food just as fast through the bottom of the pan with no need for side heat. In the case of a pot, the thermal transfer into water is fast enough that a clad side isn't worth the added cost.

Clad may be SLIGHTLY more responsive than a disk bottom usually because stamped bases usually have a bit more thermal mass. But in use, few can tell the difference and if you're cooking competently, the pan won't be at fault for ruining a dish.
post #10 of 18
Really? ...... okeedokeee...... wet technique? pan-to-oven?
post #11 of 18
"...You can't get even heating on the bottom of the pan unless the heat can move up the side of the pan at the same rate. There's not a sign in the bottom of the pan saying "heat, please stop here..."

Hm, that statement doesn't make sense thermodynamically. If the bottom of a pan is a good thermal conductor and the sides are not, then the bottom will heat uniformly. However, if the sides are also a good thermal conductor, then the bottom will be hottest in the center and demonstrate a gradient cooling to the bottom edges and continuing up the sides.

Unless the pan is surrounded by a heat source, the sides will ALWAYS be cooler than the bottom and the better the thermal conductivity, the cooler the bottom will be.

The poorer the thermal conductivity of the sides, the more the bottom will be evenly heated precisely because the difference in thermal conductivity will effectively say "heat stops here".
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #12 of 18
The bottom won't heat evenly - it gets hot spots where the bottom meets the stainless steel only sides.

Clad is a decent workaround for the drawbacks (weight/reactivity) of cast iron which otherwise is perfect - it heats evenly and doesn't race.

Hey look, if this stuff is working for you I'm cool with it.
post #13 of 18
By which logic the food at the edge that is surrounded by two sides of the heat conducting core would cook faster than in the middle and you'd still have to move it around more to keep things cooking evenly.

There are plenty of pans and pots that meet these criteria already: cast iron, carbon steel, aluminum. Yet no-one is claiming they cook better because of side heat. And they would all outperform a clad pan in this regard.

Heat moves three ways in decreasing efficiency: Conduction, Convection, Radiation. Heat moves from hot to cold. The core or disk absorbs heat best where it's in contact with the burner. Putting the pan over the burner adds some efficiency for convection and radiation but most is still coming in to the pan through Conduction.

Heat coming around the edges of the pan is mostly convective with a little radiated. This is hot air in motion away from the pan. The core of the pan is conducting heat into the pan as even as its thermal properties allow. Once the heat is at the pan's surface it will radiate and convect in all directions. The food will conduct the heat out where it's in contact with the pan and absorb some convected and radiated heat but that's comparatively small in total.

If the core goes up the side of the pan, it will contribute to increased convection and radiation at the sides. Most foods outside of liquids will not be in contact with the side of the pan so the only possible gain is convective and radiated. Convective heat will dissipate up out of the pan. However, because heat moves from hot to cold areas this will largely be away from the inside of the pan which is hotter than the air outside of the pan.

This is not to say a clad pan is better or worse than a disk pan. There are good and bad pans of both types. You need a thick core of good material, a core that goes out to the edge of the cooking surface.

Cook's Illustrated did some testing on clad and disk pans. The best performer was a clad pan because it was slightly more responsive to the heat setting (both raising and lowering) because it was lighter than an equivalent disk pan. The difference in quantitative testing isn't much.
post #14 of 18
I'm not necessarily disliking what I'm hearing - I can cook hard on a set that costs less than 200 bucks (famous chef sets, etc.) and not skip a beat. Who wouldn't like that? I'm still not convinced though.

When the Cooks Illustrated people aren't testing pans, when they're just cooking to test recipes, etc. do you know what kind of cookware they use? I honestly don't, but since you brought it up.....

I'm guessing that if I walked into the test kitchen I'd be greeted by a sea of All Clad with some tasty French copper thrown in for good measure. I'm thinking they've not outfitted the place with Jamie Oliver but I'm willing to be proven wrong.
post #15 of 18
What I've seen of Cook's Illustrated actual cooking on America's Test Kitchen TV show is they use what the underwriters sell and then what wins on their testing bits. So i see SubZero refrigerators(sponsor), some All-Clad pans (sponsor), Forschner knives (a test winner (price per peformance))

They cook an awful lot on 12" teflon pans when i wouldn't have.

It's like on Ming Tsai's show. He's always cooking in an All Clad stainless steel wok because All Clad sponsors the show. I have a photo in a book of him beating out dings in the carbon steel woks in his restaurant though.
post #16 of 18
I would be interested in seeing some good testing on the topic.

You'd need to see how the pan reacts empty, how it is with mirepoix, how it is with some cutlets, and in a braise. I bet it's a little different in each of those situations.
post #17 of 18
Being able to outfit a pro or serious foodie kitchen, in a rational way, from Wal Mart, Target, or HSN sounds implausible but I'm willing to be convinced.

I just read the Cooks review of saute pans. The pan that came 'close' to beating the All-Clad pan was from a company that is now no longer in business. Check out the review - there is a notation in italics underneath the pan that came in second.
post #18 of 18
Supple heat change, anyone?
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