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Need advice on industrial strength pots and pans.....new to forum

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi forum friends,

 

I'm brand new to this forum and this is my first post here.

 

I'm about to invest in some new pots and pans as my kitchen is being renovated and for years I've wanted to buy

semi-professional cookware but had to save up. Whenever I watch cooking shows I always wonder what kinds

of brands those chefs use. Both my husband and I are passionate home cooks and would like to add some

real quality, durable cookware and with a long shelf life. I would like the ones that industrial kitchens use but I am

not familiar with any of those. I have a couple of scanpan stainless steel and titanium ceramic pans and pots and the

rest is real rubbish that I received from well-meaning relatives.

 

The real annoying thing I find with most of the mass produced cookware aimed at your regular home chef is that they make them 'energy efficient'....'only needs low to medium heat'. I don't want that. I use gas in my kitchen and I want something that will handle the highest flame and heat up quickly without chipping, rusting or generally falling apart. Even Scanpan has that warning on its label...low to medium heat only. I think I may have slightly ruined the titanium/ceramic surface by putting the gas up too much. I would also like an industrial strength pan/pot that is black both inside and outside but which isn't teflon-coated or 'non-stick'. All these shiny stainless steel looking things look great but are quick to get burnt marks on them and if you don't clean it straight away it's very hard to do later on.

 

I've heard of a French brand - de Buyer. Does anyone have any reviews or has had experience with these black steel pans?

 

There's so many materials out there...stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron....and some of them react with different types of food in a negative way....so hard to keep track of.

 

If anyone has any advice for my question that would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks a lot

 

Beeswax

post #2 of 18

In the US, De Buyer is more of a supplier of carbon steel pans than stainless.

 

Without question, the very best, truly professional, multi-ply stainless is Vollrath Tribute.  It's actually fairly reasonably priced as those things go -- except for the lids which are pretty pricey.  But they do have some pretty great handles -- worth it?  Can't say.  You can always buy lids made by someone else.

 

I really like Vollrath Tribute.  I don't own any, but if I were replacing my "core" set of non-reactive pots and pans that what I'd buy.  Highest recommendation.

 

We might as well add some context.  While it's better than what you have it's not actually much better, and won't substantially help your cooking.  It's not really superior to any good multi-ply -- say Cuisinart for instance.

 

That said, once you're into quality multi-ply you're really choosing on the basis of appearance, handle comfort, and price.  So, if you like it, that's one.  Vollrath handles are great.  Price is ... not cheap.

 

One thing you don't see much of in commercial cookware is "helper handles."  If large, filled pans are daunting for you, and you prever to move them with two hands -- you might think of going residential cookware for that one.

 

As you complete your set, I suggest getting a few pieces of carbon steel (omelette pan, paellera), cast iron (chicken fryer), and enamel over cast iron (dutch oven, rondeau or oval casserole) as necessary.  Also that you not waste your money on super quality big pots -- buy an inexpensive "spaghetti set" and large stock pot.

 

BDL

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post #3 of 18

Virtually every professional kitchen I've worked in used no major brand of cookware.  Nor was there anything that was ceramicized or teflon-ized or such.

 

Cooking shows (FoodTV) use beautiful home-grade cookware because they've been given it by the manufacturers for "promotional" purposes.  That is, the chef's show it off in their demonstrations and the viewers (home cooks) want to buy it.

 

A commercial kitchen is not a nice place for home-grade, advertised cookware.  The pots and pans are stacked and tossed and clanked and left on high heat and run through a mean industrial dishwasher and more and worse.  They end up charred and spotted and chipped and scratched and bent and dented.  And they are used again and again, with all their dents, spots, etc..

 

Mostly, they are heavy-duty, thick aluminum with steel handles.  No coatings, no anodizing (the "black"), no copper implants.

 

They last a long time but they are cheap enough that if they need to be replaced, the accountant doesn't cry.

 

You can find these pots and pans at almost every commercial restaurant supply warehouse.

 

I am sure there are a great many chefs who will chime in with their favorite cookware that they use at home.  I have a great mix and match set.

 

Joe

post #4 of 18

I'm neither a current nor former chef. Like you, I'm an enthusiastic home chef. Here's my two cents:

 

1. Read this very useful article on eGullet called Understanding Stovetop Cookware.

 

2. Don't pay attention to what you see chef's on tv use, for the reasons gardenguru explained. I once saw Jacques Pepin on a PBS pledge drive. He was taking questions from callers (and he seemed a bit lit up from all of the wine he was drinking). Someone asked why he used stainless steel tongs and spatulas with non-stick cookware; doesn't that scratch up the non-stick coating? He laughed and said that he gets as many pans as he wants free from the sponsors and so it doesn't matter if he scratches them. He said he doesn't do this at home.

 

3. If you pay attention to what restaurants use, realize that they have very different constraints and uses.

 

4. Only go high-end where it matters. You don't need a $300 pot to boil water. You appreciate the difference that a great saute pan can make.

 

boar_d_laze said "That said, once you're into quality multi-ply you're really choosing on the basis of appearance, handle comfort, and price". This is correct. I'd add that one difference between better and worse multi-ply pans is the thickness and type of metal inside the pan. For example, the most common multi-clad pan is probably a layer of aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. For more money, you can get the same pan with copper instead of aluminum. You can get pans with more or less aluminum, etc.

 

To appreciate the difference between these options, you really have to use the pans and that isn't always practical. But you can at least feel them to see which is more comfortable.

 

In my case, when I bought my first "good" pans, the the ones with copper inside were just too expensive for me.

 

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for jotting down your thoughts...greatly appreciated.

 

I will go to various stores and have a look and feel for their cookware. Two things I really need at the moment are a big stock pot/pasta pot and a cast iron casssarole dish. I've spoken to a few people who are also enthusiastic home cooks and one of them has a Demeyere Stock Pot which he's had for the past 15 years and swears by it...so I might try that one as well.

 

Beeswax....

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi Joe,

 

Seeing on your profile that you are a professional chef...can you tell me what kind of cookware you use at home?

 

Thanks,

post #7 of 18

I am NOT a big fan of  aluminum in any residential or commercial cooking appliation.

 

1) It oxidizes (turns black) and this crud will smear off on hands, clothing, shelves, stove ranges, and of course, food--like acidic tomatoes or wine.

2) It will warp, fairly quickly, and heaven help you if it warps convex.

 

What you see in 5 star and better commercial kitchens is s/s pots with "sandwich" bottoms, and carbon steel for sauting.   Pans are another story.

 

Carbon steel pans are cheap, and responds well, but warps almost as badly as aluminum.  I've done millions of a'la minute pan sauces and pasta sauces in carbon steel pans.

 

Performance wise, there isn't a whole lot of difference between a 10" "restaurant grade" commercial pot, and a "high end" residential one.  Cosmetically, the much pricier residential looks classy, and it is--it's highly polished s/s .  The commercial grades don't bother with the mirror finish, as this will dissapear the first time  it sees the dishpit and a scotch-brite scrubbie......

 

I suggest trotting off to a restaurant supply store and check out their wares.  Buy one or two pieces and see how you like it.

 

Buy only what you need and don't get suckered into "sets".  Your choice depends on your cooking style, your stove and it's output, and your budget.

 

The cat's meow is copper ware with a s/s lining, expensive and very heavy, and the copper begs for regular maintainence.  Not for everyone.

 

Cast iron skillets can't be beat for a lot of applications, and are fairly cheap.  Again, though, they are heavy and do require a bit of maintainence.

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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #8 of 18

beeswax:

 

At home, I have, as I said, a "great mix and match" set.

 

I have some stainless, some cast iron, some aluminum (which has never warped nor oxidized for me at home; it's pretty thick stuff), a couple of copper bottomed pots/pans, a couple of hammered-steel woks, three anodized paella pans and one ceramic-coated-iron lasagna pan (weighs a TON). All of it is my "weight/feel".

 

Joe

post #9 of 18

beeswax,

 

de Buyer makes a line of pans they call "mineral".  They are 99% iron (I assume the other 1%  carbon making them high carbon steel).  These are relatively inexpensive pans that are very heavy, durable, and will take high heat.  They are easy to season and easy to clean.  After a few uses they will be black inside and out.  This may be exactly what your looking for.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that hint about the de Buyer deanB! I shall certainly look for the so-called 'mineral' one from de Buyer and see what they feel like.

 

 

Also, has anyone heard of 'La Chamba Organic Cookware'...saw it the other day in one of those Fair Trade shops...never seen anything like it. Made from some black clay somewhere in Colombia...the suppliers allege that this cookware has similar properties to cast iron in cooking...even heat distribution, no localized hot spots etc etc.

 

Does anyone own this at home or have any of you used it somewhere before?

post #11 of 18

I recently did the same thing you are now doing, Beeswax. I was very torn because I saw all the Food Channel personalities using All Clad.  When I went to the store to buy it, I noticed the Viking line of cookware and compared the two. After that, I had to get the Viking. Although it is more expensive than All Clad, I felt they would be the last set of pans I would have to buy.  I believe Viking is made by Demeyer.

 

I still need to add the 8 qt sauce pan for my meat sauce.

 

I think I will take the advice of others on this thread and buy a spaghetti set for boiling and draining pasta

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I investigated where exactly I can buy the 'Mineral' range of iron fry pans from De Buyer in Sydney, Australia.

That's right, I live down-under as you would say. It turns out, there is absolutely no where (unless some chef

has them in their kitchen) physically that I can go and have a look at them. I emailed the head quarters in France

and asked if they have distributors in Australia. Apparently there is one company but after ringing them they told me

they did not have that particular range but that they could sell me something from their Carbone + range.

I then went back to the manufacturer in France again and asked if I could hypothetically order one pan from them

and how much postage I would have to pay....I was told they do not sell individual orders to individuals, only to distributors

in bulk. Well woopty do...that wasn't a nice answer for me. I was devastated. Amazon has these pans but they don't ship

them to Australia. Another obstacle.

 

I did find a hospitality wholesaler in Australia that seems to have them, but I would have to buy 5 at a time in order to get them

and yet again, cannot see them in real lire before buying it. Ridiculous! And I don't know how they can afford to sell them around $35 Australian dollars each when Amazon sells similar size for $79.90 US dollars.

 

The manufacturer then gave me a US website address that they sell to and which apparently ships to Australia.

Checked it out, and yes they do ship here...except the shipping is half the cost of the pan. So by the time it gets to me it

would cost me approximately $200 AUD. A bit pricey.

 

So, there you go...it seems I cannot get these pans here unless I want to buy them in bulk and even then, how do I know it is the real deal or I can order it from USA and pay double. Such a shame as I really really wanted one.

 

My one hope is that a colleague from work is going to the US for holidays in a couple of months and said she could bring back some.

But it doesn't solve my little issue of not being able to see it in real life....ARRRGHHH!!!

 

Sorry for my rather long post...I felt like venting my frustration a bit.....

post #13 of 18

What is your second choice?

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well, I would like something similar to the mineral range of de Buyer....if there are any other industrial strength pans made from iron that would be great. For stock pots etc I would be looking at buying a Demeyere ones.

 

With the pans I would like to find something that can take high flames, that doesn't chip or scratch easily and possibly reacts very little with certain foods. And those with no localized hot spot issues and the ability to not have to be precious with the pans...industrial strength in other words.

 

The only two items from Scanpan that I'm fairly happy with is the small sauce pot (Fusion 5 range) and their fry pan...although it is prone to sticking, so making eggs in that pan is a no-no. My other Scanpan titanium ceramic surface fry pan has blistered and chipped over the last two years, so bits it are ending up in my food and I've thrown it out.

 

 

Apart from All-Clad, what other interesting and long lasting brands are out there that people trust?

 

 

 

post #15 of 18

I've got a big frypan from Calphalon that I really like.  It wasn't really that great until I stripped the coating and put my own season on it though.  (probably not the smartest or safest thing to do).  It's big, it's heavy, it's got a grip opposite the handle, I can put it in the oven, and it's tiding me over until I can get my big nostalgic cast iron pan.

post #16 of 18

I have a 3qt Mauviel splayed saute that I cook almost everything in. I've had it 5 years and it still looks new, although I don't polish the copper. It's lined with stainless steel and washes up easily. I expect to leave it in my will to a lucky recipient!

post #17 of 18

Beeswax,

 

You might try here for the de Buyer pans.  Don't know if they ship to Australia or not.

 

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/25200-De-Buyer-Mineral-Fry-Pan.aspx?sourcecode=AW4PF4070

 

Good Luck!

 

Dean

post #18 of 18

I've got a big cast iron pan.It's big, it's so heavy and got a grip opposite the handle.Though stainless steel things look great but are quick to get burnt marks on them and if you don't clean immediately it's hard to clean later.

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