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Vollrath Tribute vs. All-Clad vs. Cuisinart Multiclad

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
First, let me introduce myself to the forum. My name is Rob and I greatly enjoy cooking for my wife, family, friends and neighbors. Not a gourmet chef by any stretch, but good enough to keep myself and my "beneficiaries" happy. More than anything I enjoy the creativity and the tangible results that I get from cooking, and the satisfaction (ok - ego stroking) that I get from having others enjoy my food.

I also build furniture as a pasttime, for many of the same reasons. One thing I've learned from woodworking is the benefit of using the best tools you can afford. Good tools won't make you a good woodworker (or cook), but bad tools make it difficult to reach your full potential.

With that notion in mind I'm looking to upgrade some of my cookware. Most of my current cookware is Calphalon nonstick "Commercial" or "Professional" that we received for our wedding in 1996. In addition I have 3qt and 8qt Staub enamel/iron dutch ovens, a 10" cast iron frypan, and a few of cheap stainless steel stockpots. My cooktop is 4-burner gas Jenn-Air with the 4 burners rated at 6500, 9100, 10500, 12000 BTUs respectively.

I have no major complaints with the Calphalon nonstick other than it's not the ideal cooking surface for everything. For the time being I plan to purchase 1 or 2 clad frypans and perhaps a sauce pan and saute pan or 2. I've read through a number of great posts on the "which cookware" question and I plan to go with 1 of 3 options: Cuisinart Multiply Pro, All-Clad, or Vollrath Tribute.

I'm leaning strongly towards the Vollrath. It looks like the Cuisinart is at least 1/2 the cost of the All-clad (even less in some cases), and the Vollrath is perhaps 20 or 30% less than All-clad. I'm guessing the Cuisinart performance is a little bit less than the All-clad, but not enough to justify the price difference. On the other hand, my guess is that the Vollrath is at least as good as the All-clad if not better, and certainly a better value at the price. And while the Vollrath is more expensive than the Cuisinart, I think the premium better reflects the true performance difference, plus the "made-in-USA" factor for the Vollrath is worth a bit more to me also. These aren't display pieces, so pretty & shiny aren't important considerations.

Am I missing anything here? Do I need to provide any additional backround info? Have I misread the relative quality / performance of the 3 different lines I'm considering? I look forward to reading your replies!

Best,

Rob
post #2 of 13
Question: Have you actually handled any of these products, or just researched them?

Pricepoint is all but irrelevent with those brands. What counts is how they feel in your hands; particularly the handle shapes and configurations.

So, if you haven't as yet done so, find someplace that stocks them, and play with them in the store, handling them the same way as your cooking style.

Then make your decision.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I've handled the all-clad and cuisinart, although not in actual use - just in the store. I'm going to look at the Vollrath at a local restaurat supply store next week.

Should I infer from your focus on "feel" that the performance differences are negligible between these 3 choices?

Rob
post #4 of 13
IMO, performance is the same. Or close enough to make no never mind.

There might be measurable differences if you have lab equipment. But in practical terms, if you used them side-by-side on your stove I don't think you'd notice a whit of difference.

And even if there were, if you're not comfortable with the higher-performance brand, then the performance really isn't there, cuz you'll tend to not use it as often as you might overwise do.

One other thing to consider: All-Clad has, in my experience, the worst customer service in the industry. Something to keep in mind if there's a problem with your purchase.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 13
The Vollrath Tribute pans seem to cook on par with the All Clad that we have, and both of those are a bit quicker than the one old Calphalon anodized aluminum.

The Vollrath are heavier built, and for me , the handle is vastly superior, in comfort and having a more secure feel, than either of the other two.
The pans we have are the plated steel handle, not the silicone covered.

The finish of the Vollrath pans are a brushed not polished finish, which is nice because one can clean them with an SOS pad and not affect the finish.

We have a flat top cooker and did experience some warping of the Vollrath 12 inch fry pan we have, but it's only an issue with a flat top, I don't think one would even notice it using a gas stove. If I brown on the stove/oven finish the 12 incher is still my go to pan. The 10 inch we have hasn't experienced any problems at all.

The bottom line: Between the clad pans we have the type of pan and size are more important than the brand for cooking performance. I give the edge to the Vollrath for handle comfort and balance , but that's a personal thing. If I were starting with nothing I'd get Vollrath saute pans and covers. If adding to a collection I'd get the saute pans alone and use other covers, as those covers are pricey.
post #6 of 13
All I can tell you is that I have seen Vollrath in many pro kitchens, but never saw the other two brands. The reason most pans warp is that people take them hot from the stove and put them in a sink with water or let water from the sink drip on them in the sink. Let them cool first, I don't care what brand .
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I struck out at the restaurant supply house - no Vollrath tribute in stock. Of course they can order, but I can't get my hands on one first.

I see that a lot of websites are closing out the All Clad LTD line, and some pretty nice deals can be found on select pieces. Are there any strong opinions regarding the LTD, especially reltative to the regular All Clad stainless line?

Thanks,

Rob
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Last night I played around with some All-Clad in the larger frying pan sizes and I was amazed how uncomfortable the handle was. To the point of being a design flaw. No matter how I held it the upper edge of each side of the handle dug into my hand. Now, I may not have lumberjack hands but they're not exactly fragile. I think it could be remedied by reprofiling the upper edges a bit to make them more rounded, but I don't consider that a good use of my time. Surely I can't be the only one who finds their handels awful. All-Clad is off the list.

I also picked up some Calphalon tri-ply and found their handle quite comfortable. It resembles the All-Clad handle but the "v" shape isn't as acute and the upper edges are thicker and more rounded. I think I'll be getting few pieces of the Calphalon, but I'm still hung up on the "Made in China" thing. I always liked the fact that my aluminum Calphalon was US-made.

I've also become intrigued by carbon steel frypans, based on the information I've read on this and other forums (the eGullet cookware "course" was enightening to say the least). I figure I have nothing to lose (and something to gain) by picking up a carbon steel pan and learning to use it, so I ordered 2 heavy duty carbon steel frypans (11" and 9.5").

I found a local restaurant supply house who has the Vollrath Tribute pans on hand, so I'm still going to test-drive a 12" or 14" and see how they feel vs. the Calphalon. The truth it would probably be a better use of my time to just get the Calphalon and stop the over-analysis and searches, but I actually find the process kind of enjoyable. I think it's helping me learn a bit more about different types of cookware and nosing around in some of the restaurant supply houses has been fun - what a great alternative to Williams Sonoma and department stores!

Rob
post #9 of 13
[QUOTE=Rob Ring;274514]First, let me introduce myself to the forum. My name is Rob and I greatly enjoy cooking for my wife, family, friends and neighbors. Not a gourmet chef by any stretch, but good enough to keep myself and my "beneficiaries" happy. More than anything I enjoy the creativity and the tangible results that I get from cooking, and the satisfaction (ok - ego stroking) that I get from having others enjoy my food.

I also build furniture as a pasttime, for many of the same reasons. One thing I've learned from woodworking is the benefit of using the best tools you can afford. Good tools won't make you a good woodworker (or cook), but bad tools make it difficult to reach your full potential.

With that notion in mind I'm looking to upgrade some of my cookware. Most of my current cookware is Calphalon nonstick "Commercial" or "Professional" that we received for our wedding in 1996. In addition I have 3qt and 8qt Staub enamel/iron dutch ovens, a 10" cast iron frypan, and a few of cheap stainless steel stockpots. My cooktop is 4-burner gas Jenn-Air with the 4 burners rated at 6500, 9100, 10500, 12000 BTUs respectively.

I have no major complaints with the Calphalon nonstick other than it's not the ideal cooking surface for everything. For the time being I plan to purchase 1 or 2 clad frypans and perhaps a sauce pan and saute pan or 2. I've read through a number of great posts on the "which cookware" question and I plan to go with 1 of 3 options: Cuisinart Multiply Pro, All-Clad, or Vollrath Tribute.

I'm leaning strongly towards the Vollrath. It looks like the Cuisinart is at least 1/2 the cost of the All-clad (even less in some cases), and the Vollrath is perhaps 20 or 30% less than All-clad. I'm guessing the Cuisinart performance is a little bit less than the All-clad, but not enough to justify the price difference. On the other hand, my guess is that the Vollrath is at least as good as the All-clad if not better, and certainly a better value at the price. And while the Vollrath is more expensive than the Cuisinart, I think the premium better reflects the true performance difference, plus the "made-in-USA" factor for the Vollrath is worth a bit more to me also. These aren't display pieces, so pretty & shiny aren't important considerations.

Am I missing anything here? Do I need to provide any additional backround info? Have I misread the relative quality / performance of the 3 different lines I'm considering? I look forward to reading your replies!

Best,

Rob[/I recently purchased the Vollrath 12 in Fry Pan Tribute with the Trivent handle. The pan is fine, the handle is comfortable until heated. I was sauteing shrimp (medium heat) no flames coming up and over the sides of the pan. The handle became to hot to hold (at least for me). I pressed the tip of my instant read thermometer to the silicon handle where the thumb rests. The temp measured was 175 F. I called the Vollrath customer service explaining the handle problem and was then passed on to a higher manager. The manager informed me that all testing was done on the pan and compared favorably to other competitor pans (and their own pans). No, she had never used the pan but knew all about them. Her solution was to return the pan to the restaurant supply. She would not let me talk with any tech people and all of a sudden had to make a conference call and passed me back to the original customer service rep... So if you can stand the heat of the handle you have a very good fry pan useful for induction gas and electric. Nice flat bottom]
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Update

Since I got a lot of good feedback to my original question, I thought I'd circle back with an update. About a month or so back I found the Vollrath Tribute tri-ply SS pans in a local supply house. I picked up a 10" and 12" fry pan and have been very pleased with them. They definitely open up a range of cooking posibilities that were hindered by using all non-stick cookware.

I also picked up 2 carbon steel fry pans (roughly 8.5" and 10.5"), and now that they are getting well seasoned they are becoming my favorites. Part of it is the fact that they are so bare-bones industrial looking - almost ugly yet elegantly simple. But the primary reason is their performance and non-stick properties - great for frying eggs and omlets, among other things. They also are my go-to pans for any high-heat searing and sauteing. The Vollrath SS pans see service mainly for lower and medium heat duty, and a quick sear, but the oil splatter around the rim gets pretty tough to clean if I use them at high heat for any prolonged time.

If I had to do it all over again I'd probably get only the 12" Vollrath and stick with the carbon steel for the other sizes. In fact, I've even ordered a 14" carbon steel pan to handle higher quantity searing and sauteing duty.

Now I have a whole bunch of Calphalon nonstick to unload to make room for the new stuff - any suggestions?
post #11 of 13
give it to a college student starting out for hemselves.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #12 of 13

Hi, I wanted to add AC is made in the States where as Cuisinart is made in China. Also AC offers the Copper Clad. I prefer the AC handle in regards to flipping my pans and spinning them. I love the life time warranty as I know Cuisinart offers. It is all preference and what you can afford of course. 

 

Happy Cookings.

 

Lori.  

post #13 of 13

I have All-Clad Copper Core pans and pots. They cook wonderfully. The only drawbacks I could think of are: 

 

* They are really heavy, compared to some non-stick pans I had before.

 

* They are sometimes a little hard to clean. If I don't add enough oil (or water) to my stir fry, stuff at the bottom might stick to the pan. When that happens, it's hard to get the stuff off with the soft side of the sponge. I gave up after a while, and switched to use the tough side of the sponge.

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