post #1 of 1
Thread Starter 
I need to buy a completely new set of cookware, and I was hoping to get some advice on what to choose. I want to preface by saying I live in Canada, where almost all decent cookware is ridiculously overpriced. Even with the current exchange rate (1.27 :(), everything but the really cheap stuff still costs less to order from the US. However, ordering everything piecemeal (i.e. open stock from here and there over time) would eat into the difference because of shipping costs each time, so I want to order everything in one go.

Here is what I'm looking for:
10/12" fry pan
2-3 sauce pans, 2/4 or 1.5/3/4
4 quart+ saute pan
8 quart stock pot

I'll add at least a 16qt cheaper Cuisinart stock pot to this.

Here are the options I'm considering:

1) The 10-piece All-Clad stainless set from Williams-Sonoma ($699). I would not normally consider a set at this price level, but this particular set is quite well thought-out. I would buy all of these pieces as open stock, and there are no silly useless filler pieces. It is the only All-Clad set I would consider buying. This would work out to around C$1115 after shipping, tax, and the exchange rate.

2) The same pieces as seconds from Cookware & More. Here I run the risk of receiving an unacceptable piece and having return shipping eat up the difference in price. And well, it's seconds, but I could probably live with minor cosmetic defects. Total is C$940, about 15% less than the WS set. I also have the option of swapping around the sauce pan sizes.

3) Gourmet Standard 10 piece tri-ply stainless set that includes almost the same pieces, except with 1.5/3 quart sauce pans. I only include this as a cheaper alternative because I know Cooks Illustrated reviewed their saute pan and said it's a good buy. They don't have much in the way of open stock, so it doesn't make sense to not purchase the set. Total C$640.

4) Cuisinart MultiClad set, again with 1.5/3 quart sauce pans, and unfortunately 8/10" fry pans. I would have to buy a 12" open stock fry pan as well. This set is not induction-capable (not a big issue), and CI rated the fry pan as "recommended with reservations" because the saute speed was too fast. Total: C$440. This leaves the option of adding some high-end stuff like a couple of Falk pieces later, but I really think that would be overkill for my needs.

I've been researching cookware over the past week and watching the Canadian dollar die a slow death against the US dollar. Every day I wait, the price of that All-Clad set is going up $30-40, so I'd like to make a decision quickly Sorry I couldn't post links to all this stuff. I'll work on that 5 post thing...