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Vollrath Fry Pans?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

I am looking to buy a couple restaurant grade fry pans to try out. I don't want any fancy name brands or gimmicky pans, just two workhorses that will stand up to use. I have come across Vollrath aluminum fry pans for a very reasonable price at a number of restaurant supply stores, and would like some input from the pros. I have good quality non-stick and stick stainless pans already, this was just to try out "the real deal."

Also, they make Stainless steel ones with alu disks in the bottom, would this be a better buy? Lastly, what sizes do most pro's prefer? 8" and 10"? I only cook for 2 so I don't need massive fry pans.

Thanks!
post #2 of 15
Yeah they should be fine. They're not too much money, and they'll be fine to go straight from stovetop to oven.
post #3 of 15
I have a bunch of the Vollrath stainless/aluminum disk pots & pans, most of which I got at a restaurant supply store's close-out sale :bounce:.

Two thumbs way up.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I ended up with the (AEC or AFC/ABC or something to that effect) Aluminum fry pans with silicone handles. They had one Lincoln Wearever and one Vollrath, and I liked the look and feel of the one I got better. I probably should have gone for the Lincoln but oh well. I didn't like the grip on the Vollrath after feeling the other one.

Now, we'll see how it goes. I always like the beat up, grungy, rough looking pans I see in restaurant kitchens and I'm kind of over the expensive stuff. (but I wouldn't turn down a free set of All-Clad) It all has it's place but I'm just tired of heavy slow heating stainless stuff, and I have my few favorite non-stick pieces already. Now a nice Le Creuset casserole and I'm a happy guy.
post #5 of 15
Vollrath and Lincoln-Wearever are the class acts of commercial cookware in this country. Their weights, fit and finish, handle shapes, etc., are as good as it gets. Very highly recommended.

It's nice to have some aluminum and/or carbon steel pans for the things (most) they do better than stainless. To some extent, this is why restaurants use so much aluminum and/or carbon steel. Another reason is price.

There are certain things you can't (or, more properly, shouldn't) do in an un-anodized aluminum, un-enameled steel, or un-enameled cast iron pan -- and that is cook with dry salt or high acid foods. High acid means all fruit, including tomatoes, as well as foods with lots of vinegar.

Aluminum is highly conductive, heats evenly, is very responsive to heat changes. Best of all, it is light and encourages developing toss-turning technique. If you don't already do this, it's something you should learn. Not because it's showy or looks good, but because it's the only way to truly saute -- it just cannot be done right with a spatula. Sorry. On the other hand, aluminum dings and warps easily. Good carbon steel holds up better than good aluminum -- especially in these respects. For that matter, plain stainless steel (like old Revere or Farberware) warps and dents easily indeed.

The most important skillet sizes for a home cook, cooking for two, are 8", 10" and 12". You should have at least one 8" skillet, two 10" skillets, and one 12" skillet. I'd double on the 12" before adding an extra 8". It's easier to make a medium-sized pan to act like a small one, that make it act like a large one. Because of the limitations with materials other than stainless or coated aluminum, steel, or cast iron -- I'd suggest one of each size made from a non-reactive material before adding aluminum or steel.

IMO carbon steel is a better choice for most cooks than aluminum because it does everything as well and a few (important) things (saute, sear, omelettes, pancakes, etc.,) better at the expense of a little weight. As it happens, Vollrath also makes very good carbon steel. So do Matfer Bourgeat, World Cuisine and DeBuyer -- to name a few. Stay away from Halco.

The Vollrath stainless line with the aluminum diffuser disk bottom, "Intrigue," is good stuff. IMO, on the expensive side for this type of cookware. You can find better deals with the normal big discounters. Emerilware, Wolfgang Puck, Cuisinart Classic, are a few lines -- just as good -- that you often see heavily discounted. Vollrath also makes an excellent multi-ply line, "Tribute," which competes with All-Clad, Calphalon, Gourmet Standard, etc. Great stuff, I love the flares on the pan edges. Unfortunately no helper handles on the large size saute pans and so forth. It's not really designed to translate to the female home cook. Also, the lids are ridiculously expensive. Of course, there's no law that says you can't buy cheaper lids.
An advantage to both the disk and multi-ply composite pans is that they don't warp nearly as easily. The best of the species warp less easily still. They also tend to be more ding resistant.

Cast iron is probably best reserved for certain specialty pieces. If you fry chicken, for instance, you may want a 14" cast-iron straight sided pan. Sound large for two? It's exactly the right size to fry a whole chicken at once. Horses for courses, as the saying goes. I feel the same for enamel over cast. That is, it's best in specialty roles. This has more to do with expense, weight and fragility of the surface than anything else. It's dynamite stuff, otherwise.

Bottom line: If you want to fool around with aluminum, Vollrath is one of the best ways to go. Get 10" and 12" skillets. The stuff is cheap enough that if you don't like it, you can toss it without breaking the bank. If you want to cut straight to the chase, buy a couple of carbon steel pans.
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post #6 of 15
Yes, they do. Perhaps not as readily as straight aluminum but, I have their wobbly carcasses as evidence.
post #7 of 15
You warped Vollrath pans? How? Do you put hot pans in the sink? Actually, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Nothing is forever and I should have caveated my prediction. Something along the lines of ...

"Composite stainless doesn't warp nearly as easily. The best composites warp less easily still."

BDL

OK. Edited. My bad.
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
The pans were ABC and to my feel even a slight bit heavier duty than the Vollrath but very similar in almost every regard.

I'm sure anything will warp, but outside of rapid cooling into water or some other crazy abuse I have zero doubt these things will last quite a while outside of a commercial kitchen. So far I've seasoned them, and used them on both gas and electric with great results. I'm in heaven, and to me they outperform my heavier stainless stuff (All Clad and Cuisinart) by miles for my style. Just what I had hoped for.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful info!
- Dominic
post #9 of 15
How did I warp a Vollrath Tribute 12" pan? First, let me define warped. The bottom is about 1/8 to 5/32 of an inch out of plane. Less than half the bottom of the pan makes contact with the burner. Since I have a stupid BLANK BLANKETY BLANK ceramic cooktop, the pan heats unevenly. I have seen all aluminum frying pans in commercial kitchens that more resembled woks with wash-board bottoms that still worked quite well over a gas flame, so I suspect I would still be happy with this pan if I had a gas cooktop.

I have a 10" Tribute pan with the plated handle and it's a terrific pan. Still maintains it's original shape and works quite well even for cooking steaks and making a pan sauce, which is what happened to the 12" pan. I had it on the 9" double element burner about med high, cooked two large ribeyes, poured out the fat, threw in some shallots, then some vermouth, deglazed,added a little butter, served and then set the pan on a cool burner while we ate dinner. After dinner I grabbed the pan to do clean up and there it was that annoying wobble. The pan had warped. This was about the 3rd or 4th time I had used this pan. The 10" pan has been used in a similar fashion with similar heat for smaller portions and still is as nice as the day it arrived.

Speaking of throwing a pan into the sink:
I also have a 12" Scan Pan saute, which is a late '90's vintage. The instructions say to run cold water over the hot pan to steam off food .....which I have actually done. I 've had this pan on HIGH and gotten it really hot, cooked with it and run cold water over it , and it hasn't warped. It's just a little too dark and "stick happy" to use in all situations.

I don't want to even tell you about the demise of the cuisinart sandwich bottom, one of my personal favorites.

I am Bob, destroyer of cookware....:mad:
post #10 of 15
How did I warp a Vollrath Tribute 12" pan? First, let me define warped. The bottom is about 1/8 to 5/32 of an inch out of plane. Less than half the bottom of the pan makes contact with the burner. Since I have a stupid BLANK BLANKETY BLANK ceramic cooktop, the pan heats unevenly. I have seen all aluminum frying pans in commercial kitchens that more resembled woks with wash-board bottoms that still worked quite well over a gas flame, so I suspect I would still be happy with this pan if I had a gas cooktop.

I have a 10" Tribute pan with the plated handle and it's a terrific pan. Still maintains it's original shape and works quite well even for cooking steaks and making a pan sauce, which is what happened to the 12" pan. I had it on the 9" double element burner about med high, cooked two large ribeyes, poured out the fat, threw in some shallots, then some vermouth, deglazed,added a little butter, served and then set the pan on a cool burner while we ate dinner. After dinner I grabbed the pan to do clean up and there it was that annoying wobble. The pan had warped. This was about the 3rd or 4th time I had used this pan. The 10" pan has been used in a similar fashion with similar heat for smaller portions and still is as nice as the day it arrived.

Speaking of throwing a pan into the sink:
I also have a 12" Scan Pan saute, which is a late '90's vintage. The instructions say to run cold water over the hot pan to steam off food .....which I have actually done. I 've had this pan on HIGH and gotten it really hot, cooked with it and run cold water over it , and it hasn't warped. It's just a little too dark and "stick happy" to use in all situations.

I don't want to even tell you about the demise of the cuisinart sandwich bottom, one of my personal favorites.

I am Bob, destroyer of cookware....:mad:
post #11 of 15
Yeah, Bob...
In addition ot being a destroyer of cookwear, you're also a double-poster! :crazy:

I also am stuck with a ceramic cooktop and am every bit as happy with it as you are. What an abortion. :(
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #12 of 15

Thanks for all the information on Volrath cookware.  The ceramic cook tops are for people who like a clean kitchen and don't cook.  I was at "Sears" (no laughing) and told them I hated ceramic cook tops.  They then pounded on theirs to show the strength.  I can get rubber in my Toyota Camry also.. but it isn't going to keep up at Indy.  I liked my ceramic cook top for heating water.  I have since gone to gas and will take the further step to induction when we go step 2 in the kitchen remodel.  I love my aluminum cookware and may keep a gas top for using it while doing the main cooking on induction.  Oh, and we destroyed the ceramic cook top with little effort.  Dropped a salt shaker on it from 15 inches as well as left a little sugar on it.  The sugar popped pits out of it and the salt shaker spydered it.

post #13 of 15

i am a line cook for 12 yrs and have seen pots and pans of all brands, not expensive brands like all-clad, but i just bought the Vollrath Tribute line which has the 3 layer aluminum and stainless steel combination. all clad and other top brands offer the same 3 layer pots and pans, but for the money, I would go with Vollrath Tribute. They are very durable and a lot less $ than other top brands but are made with the same 3 layer process as Vollrath Tribute. So since the Vollrath are cheaper than All-Clad, this doesn't mean the Vollrath isnt as good, it just means they (all-clad) spend a lot more on advertising and marketing.

I am an experienced line cook of 12 yrs and have been sous chef and head chef of kitchens and i would DEFINITLY recommend the Vollrath Tribute line for price and quality.

 

chefjeff01

post #14 of 15

I'm not sure that Vollrath IS cheaper than original (tri-ply) All-Clad, especially if you factor in lids, and because it's so easy to find All-Clad on sale.  All-Clad's new "Tri Ply" line is definitely more expensive than Vollrath's Tribute, though. 

 

I don't really see many people having trouble choosing between one or the other, though.  Their appeal is very different.  If it were entirely up to me, we'd use mostly Vollrath.  If it were up to my wife we'd be using exactly what we're using -- which includes a few pieces of the All Clad original tri-ply. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/19/12 at 10:32am
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post #15 of 15

Wow. Great information and thanks for all the great comments about Vollrath. I work for Vollrath and am tasked with explaining the various lines we offer to our restaurant customers. You have summed up some difficult concepts such as Aluminum, Carbon Steel, Try-Ply and Clad bottom extremely well and if you do not mind I plan on adding some of your description the next time I am talking to a Chef about what makes Vollrath stand out against the competitors. Be well. Jason

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