"Le Gourmet Chef" All Clad look-alikes
I was in Cabazon (outlet center outside of Palm Springs) last week, and found a store called "Le Gourmet Chef," that stocked a line of tri-ply stainless pots and pans that look identical to All-Clad. They have a core of aluminum between two layers of stainless, and even have roughly the same handles, etc. My suspicion is that All-Clad either manufactures this stuff as a second line, or licenses the patent or something, because there are repeated comparisons to All-Clad in the point of sale ads.
Anybody know anything about this stuff? It's markedly cheaper ($60 for a 12 inch frypan or a 6 quart stockpot), and looks to be about the same stuff.
Don't know about Le Gourmet, but have you nosed around in Wal-Mart? Some locations carry tri-ply stainless Tramontina on the cheap, and it's actually quality stuff (even if the rest of the Tramontina line they carry is junk). Scoped it out after reading a very complimentary review in Cook's Illustrated. Picked up a 12" frypan for under $40 and love it.
I don't know anything about LGC, but I know that All-clad makes another line - Emerilware. Big difference in terms of structure.
Emerilware has a sandwiched bottom only, and All-clad's sandwiched material goes from the base all the way to the lip, making heat transfer from the bottom to the side much quicker. Of course, it may or may not matter to you depending on how you use the pan.
Emerilware is made in China, and All-clad is made in US if it matters to you.
I read a comment on another web blog by a lady who works at a Le Gourmet Chef store. She said that All Clad in fact makes the Le Gourmet line for them. Her motive may be to say that b/c she works for Le Gourmet but I don't think she would lie about it. I've compared both pans and they are exactly alike in weight, composition and structure. (Not referring to All Clad's copper core 5 ply but the traditional aluminum core tri ply that is more popular.)
You are right that Le Gourmet Chef is markedly cheaper. If you check out places like Tuesday Morning, you can get awesome deals where such cookware is even cheaper. I just picked up the Le Gourmet 12" fry pan for $36 and the 5 qt saute pan w/ lid for $60. They are great pieces that I enjoy cooking in. Tuesday Morning was also selling the 1qt sauce pan for $36. And they had the Tramonita 3ply clad 12Qt stock pot w/ lid for $99 and the 4qt sauce pan w/ lid for $59. Those are originally a $260 pot and $119 sauce pan at most major kitchen stores. I bought them also. My collection is now complete for $260.
Cleaning tip I don't ever see anyone post but it works fabulous on all stainless steel - after cooking, wash and rinse the pot immediately. If stain or food are still stuck to the bottom of the pan, 1/2 inch of warm water and approx. 1 T of cream of tartar. Wait 20 min. Wipe the pan clean. It looks like brand new. No stains.