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CIA Masters Cookware 10 piece set review

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
CIA Masters Cookware -- just okay

We purchased the CIA Masters 10 piece set, plus the 12 inch frypan and a wooden spoon after researching the Viking and All Clad Copper Core sets. We were able to visit stores in our area to handle the Viking and All Clad sets before purchase - we were not able to see the CIA Masters set before purchase.

In terms of weight, the CIA Masters set is similar in weight to the All Clad regular stainless set. The handles have two rivets and have the All Clad grove with the Viking curvature. The lids are slightly domed similar to the Viking set.

In terms of the copper layer - we compared the CIA set against the All Clad Copper Core. If you look at a piece of All Clad Copper core you will see a copper layer that is about 1/8" thick and very easily identified. If you look at a piece of CIA Master cookware, the copper layer can hardly be seen. Given the price of copper these days, my guess is this amount of copper in the CIA cookware is part of the price difference to the All Clad Copper Core set. (10 piece set of CIA cookware is $499, 10 piece set of All Clad Copper Core $1200.)

The set arrived from Metro Kitchen in three days and was beautifully packaged.

So - why won't we recommend the set? First -you need to use silicon or wooden utensils with this set. Do not use metal utensils. The stainless steel is very very soft and the pans scratch easily. In fact, the very first time we used the set we made large, easily visible scratches on the outside bottom and inside just from making risotto. (note -- we have other stainless steel cookware where this is not a problem.)

Second, the golden rule when using stainless is to use low to medium heat. Higher temperatures cause a reaction with stainless steel which cause a bluish / brownish stain. The first time we used one of the frypans this marking appeared despite the low heat we used.

We haven't had any problems with food sticking - but we can't honestly say the cookware is any better than the Emerilware or Cooks Essentials set we had previously.

Frankly we wish we had not paid $500+ for cookware that is "just okay" and that is going to show wear in a very short time. The Viking or All Clad set would have been a better choice.
post #2 of 11
You'd have got more of a response to your post, but everyone identifies and feels so badly for you it's hard to figure out what to say.

I suppose you've already checked to see if there's any satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer or the retailer. If you haven't it's worth a couple of phone calls.

Otherwise, might as well get to the process of scratching and discoloring. Don't baby it. Use it.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Why we posted the review.....

Why did we post the CIA Masters cookware review? We searched high and low on the internet for any reviews of the CIA Masters cookware. Other than a few short comments -- we could not find anyone else that had actually purchased this set. We even checked with the Kitchen Conservatory in St. Louis, Williams-Sonoma and the Viking Store to see if they had heard anything about the cookware.

We called the CIA store before purchase to ask what the handle was like (you can't really tell from the pictures on the web..) The store clerk was very pleasant but didn't know! She says that every student at the Culinary Institute of America is issued this cookware as part of their tuition but she had never actually seen the stuff.

So -- hopefully if there is someone else out there trying to decide whether to purchase this set they will stumble across this post and have information to guide them in their purchase.

Regarding refunds etc..... Metro Kitchen provides no refund once you use the pans and the CIA didn't bother to respond at all. (We have had the set for 10 days)

My husband and I love to cook -- we won't baby the set but will have to make some accomodations (i.e. silicon utensils etc...)
post #4 of 11
Thats interesting. One of my daughters graduated from CIA in 2007 and I don't think she has any cookware other than the knife set they purchase. I will let you know later this week when she gets home for her work break.

BTW who manufactures the CIA cookware set?
post #5 of 11
Checked with my daughter and she didn't get the cookware set as part of her tuition. She did say that there were things that were changing about the time she was graduating so it is possible that the current students are getting the cookware sets now, although she is wondering why since the kitchens are all stocked with cookware anyways.

I would still be interested in knowing who the manufacturer is.
post #6 of 11
CIA is made by Robinson Cookware of Buffalo, NY. In this case, I understand "made by" to mean, "manufactured under license in China."

I would definitely contact both the retailer and the manufacturer. The stainless is supposedly 18/10 (18% chrome, 10% nickel). It's the highest grade of stainless available, and it should stand up well to both metal utensils and heat. You were likely sent exemplars of a bad manufacturing run, and consequently should be entitled to replacement, exchange or refund.

The ability of a metal pan to induce a slight stick, hold fond, and allow the cook scrape it up with a metal utensil is what makes a metal surface preferable to synthetic "non-stick." Under no circumstances would I purchase silicone utensils for stainless. They leave too much on the bottom of the pan. Instead, I'd accept a little scratching and eventually "haze" it out using metal scouring pads to clean. That is, a very even surface with a lot of tiny scratches works as well as a mirror smooth shiny surface for cooking purposes.

If you're stuck with these, and have decided to use plastic utensils with them, purchase a few inexpensive carbon steel, or commercial aluminum frying pans so you can at least do some cooking. FWIW, if and when you do replace the CIA, think about manufacturers like Vollrath and Wearever, besides the normal, overpriced consumer lines for your sauce pans and pots. Think about a few pieces of carbon steel for some of your frying pans, too.

BTW, it's silicone, not silicon. Silicone is an inorganic-organic polymer used for all sorts of slippery tasks. Silicon is a (periodic chart) element used for baking semiconductors.

Mmmm. Semiconductors.
post #7 of 11


There is some doubt in my mind about exactly what boar d laze purchased (a ten piece set of the 7 ply sells for over a thousand dollars where I live, Houston), but my experience

is nothing like his (or hers).  I did not purchase the ten piece set, only the 2 quart sauce pan and the 10 inch skillet, but I am so pleased that I am about to purchase more

pieces.  I am 73 years old and have been cooking for over 50 years.  I consider myself a gourmet cook and an accomplished chef.  This cookware is superb!  It far outclasses

the two pieces of All Clad I own:  the large covered saute' pan and the large roaster.  It is also superior to the two pieces of LeCreuset I own......the large covered casserole

and the stockpot simply because things burn and stick in them too easily, especially the stockpot.   The CIA is a dream to cook with.  Nothing sticks, and it cleans up with

a swipe of the sponge.  I love the way the skillet deglazes when I make special important for anyone following Julia Child!  I don't know how boar d laze came up with the

notion that it was necessary to use silicone spatulas, etc.  I don't even own a single utensil....spoon, spatula, fork, etc..... that is not stainless steel, and I use these two pieces

every day.  There is no evidence of discoloration much less any evidence of scratching.  Even the bottoms of these look like the day they arrived.  Tonight I ordered two more pieces

just to replace other pieces that don't measure up.

post #8 of 11



Perhaps you meant to address your comments to Sdrilling as they aren't in any way responsive to my posts.  Also, this thread is three years old and something of a dead letter.  Finally, I'm very happy you're enjoying your cookware.  I hope you use it in the best of health and that it may continue to give you pleasure. 





post #9 of 11


You're absolutely correct boar du lase.  My post should have been addressed to drilling.  Thank you for calling

it to my attention.   

post #10 of 11


post #11 of 11
Thanks, and -- as a husband myself -- here's to the same.

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