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What is "The Pampered Chef"?

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I got invited to yet another "Pampered Chef" party. Guests are invited to buy various kitchen gadgets, and the hostess of the party gets a percentage of the sales. I think it is the same concept as the Tupperware party.

I don't plan to go, because these kinds of events are not my cup of tea, but I am curious to know more.

What is the Pampered Chef all about? What are the demographics of the target buyers? Do serious cooks buy stuff from this company, or is it more for "wannabe" cooks? I tried to do a search on the internet, but all I found were sites that pitch you on becoming a hostess/salesperson for the company--no business plan, no marketing profile.

Anybody know something about it?

  1. "What is the Pampered Chef all about? What are the demographics of the target buyers? Do serious cooks buy stuff from this company, or is it more for "wannabe" cooks?"

    It's definite a Tupperware-type of situation. I think they're selling their products to regular cooks who are aiming for a higher quality of product, but not restaurant quality. They also like the "party" type of sale.

    I have friends who buy some of their products - friends who I know cook very well - and they like what they have purchased. The most favorable thing I've heard about them is their pizza stones. Maybe they have a money-back guarantee, regardless of years of use, similar to Tupperware?

    I don't think you get any huge bargains in the items you buy - they have a set of 3 stainless steel mixing bowls that are "on sale" for $27.50 - regularly priced $69.50. You can get a set of 3 stainless mixing bowls at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $19.99, less those 20% coupons, for a total of $17.99 + tax. (There is a comparably priced set at BB&B of 4 bowls with lids for $59.99 - not sure of the quality on any of these - just using them as examples.)

    I personally just don't like feeling obligated to go. You're usually invited by a friend, who makes something off of it with all the orders that are made through her party...hence, the obligation to "help" your friend by buying something. Plus I'm not particularly wild about the party games usually played, although I do know my friends say there are PC-related recipes made at these demos and you get to eat what is made - but YOU don't get to try things out - the hostess demostrating does all the cooking.

    Link: http://www.pamperedchef.com/our_produ...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Linda W.

      I love their can openers.

      1. re: melly

        How are they different from any other CO's?

        TT

        1. re: TexasToast

          they don't make sharp edges. they cut below the lid, not in the middle of kit.
          so easy to use. i loooove it.

      2. re: Linda W.

        The Pizza Stones are great - my wife bought one at the first party she went to several years ago, it was the only thing she thought we needed at the time. We ended up liking it so much that we recently put in a request for my sister to order a larger one at a party she was invited to.

        1. re: bworp

          Is Pampered Chef's pizza stone somehow different or better than whatever other brands are out there?

          1. re: elists100

            Can't swear that theirs are the best out there, but I have one , about 16" I think, that we've been using for the past 15 years or so. It just stays in the bottom of the oven; it's a good size, and it's smooth enough that food doesn't stick to it. I think we got our money's worth out of it.

            1. re: hlehmann

              I would avoid the pampered Chef pizza stones if you ever plan on using them on the grill.

              http://www.nakedwhiz.com/pizza.htm

      3. My mother has bought me a few things from Pampered Chef over the years. They sell some quality goods and some "Walker's Gadgets" (as we call them in my family). Often they sell some new gadget just before you start to see it everywhere in stores, but for 5 or 10 times the price. Those pump them yourself oil sprayers, for example, or plastic bag clips.

        My mother bought 10 plastic bag clips for $20 at Pampered Chef and 3 months later, I bought 20 of them for $4 at IKEA.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          The set of 10 assorted twixit clips is 5.00 so you would get 40 of them for 20.00.

        2. I had a friend that had a lot of their stuff and I loved cooking in her kitchen. Some really neat gagdets but probably not anything you can't get at William Sonoma or any restaurant supply store although I don't know about their guarantee.

          It is just like Tupperware or Partylite Candles or Mary Kay or Longaberger (sp?) baskets or one adult toy party I went to (now THAT was fun!)....all the same deal - hostess gets stuff the more that is sold, they want you to host a party too, you leave believing that these are the best products ever created, someone, somewhere gets a pink Cadillac out of the deal....

          However, one reason TO go: free stuff. They usually have a small gift, and prizes. I love those kinds of things: free food, free gifts, social time. However, I never feel obligated to buy anything. Maybe tell the person who invited you, "I'm more than happy to come, but I have to be honest that I probaby won't buy anything - if you're ok with that, I'm ok with that" and if they aren't, then don't go.

          2 Replies
          1. re: krissywats
            j
            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            Brava, brava.

            Everyone is on the right track- the products are nice (and some are things you can really use), but very overpriced. Definitely scan through the kitchen gadgets sections of big stores (Target, Ikea, Sur La Table) to get an idea of prices on items before you go, and keep in mind that it isn't magically better because it comes from Pampered Chef.

            I am reminded of one time a friend had invited me and some friends out to dinner to hear a pitch for the ubiquitous (and annoying as hell) Quixtar (aka Amway 2.0). The friend's coworker had said as part of the get-excited warm-up "If you're perfectly happy with your job, you don't need to listen to anymore of what I'm saying." Poor guy didn't know I played and sold board games for a living at the time... I just said "OK", and went right back to enjoying my miso soup amid gales of laughter from all of my friends. If the guy could demonstrate just how much more money he was making by *paying* for our dinner, I might have been more interested in the product...

            Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

            1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

              Very very very over priced for the same goods you can get elsewhere. I think wannabes are more likely to attend than serious cooks. The serious people either have the stuff already or know where to get it when they want it and have a good idea of what they want and don't need a "party" to introduce them to the gadgets.

              Thankfully people have quit inviting me to these things.

          2. LDV, Your local commercial restaurant supply house has much better, more durable products at far lower prices. (They all sell to the public.) Pampered Chef is just Amway revisited upon those that don't really cook.

            1. The Pampered Chef seems overpriced for cheap goods to me, but I never go to this sort of party, and neither does Mrs. Ubergeek.

              We know someone who does a similar thing called "Tastefully Simple" -- it's absolutely dreadful "gourmet" food sold by and to people for whom Bennigan's is the fanciest dinner out ever. Honestly, cheese ball mixes and lemon pepper spice? Give me a BREAK.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Gee, it that a Sandra Lee company?

                1. re: Candy

                  Tastefully Simple? No... it's run by a woman named Jill Blashack. They're a huge success, despite my opinion of their wares: they took in $116 million in revenue last year.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I, was joking. Sorry.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      $116 million?

                      We need to all go into business together and get it right.

                  2. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I had never heard of Tastefully Simple before so I went to their website and checked it out. They must be kidding-those prices are unbelievable.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Somone did give me some bread mixes from "Tastefully Simple" a couple of years ago. You added a bottle of beer, mixed and popped it in the oven. And you know what? It was good! (Not "no knead bread"-good, but hot and fresh and good with my stew).

                      OT: I am not a fan of Pampered Chef, either. I think they hit the same demographic as "Taste of Home" magazine. Read into that what you will.

                    2. With all due respect, I sort of resent Leper's remark about "those who really don't cook," but whatever... I don't buy EVERYTHING from PC but have bought a few quality items...a lovely chef's knife that feels great in my hand and has its own sharpening case, I think it was $15.00 but I use the hell out of it for filleting chicken, trimming off fat from all different meats. Their spatulas/scrapers last for years and don't stain and handle doesn't break...think I bought that for $5.00 years ago...still hasn't ever stained or broken. And I love their garlic press too. They also sell a tiny knife for $1.00 and it's great for finely chopping garlic, onions, and celery; their items with blades stay pretty sharp. Some of their products (the ones the hostesses push the most) are pretty lame, yes, that is true.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Val

                        A tiny knife for finely chopping onions?

                        1. re: mamaciita

                          It is a small paring knife...for chopping whatever...very sharp.

                      2. The one Pampered Chef party I attended emphasized quick cooking over "real" cooking, along with the fact that you need all of their gadgets to make it "quick" cooking. I remember finding the food to be on the yucky side and all of the presented recipes used processed foods in some form, i.e., the fresh veggie "pizza" made with a tube of dough on the PC pizza stone.

                        I did buy the garlic press and I still use it. I also bought a milk-frothing whisk (worthless) and a potholder (would survive World War III; I already accidentially set it on a gas burner) in abstensium when I successfully begged off the next party.

                        It really is in the same category as the Tastefully Simple camp, which is equally as overpriced with equally as yucky recipes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MkeLaurie

                          I've been to one papmpered chef party as an adult. I think my mom had one when I was in high school, but I wasn't paying attention. Here's what I remember from the one I attended:

                          Consultant spent several minutes encouraging us to all become consultants ourselves.

                          Consultant swore that some chicken recipe of the company's was "exactly like something at the Olive Garden."

                          Consultant made this brownie concoction topped with cool whip mixed with folgers coffee crystals (I think crushed oreos were involved somehow as well) and said it was tiramisu (which she couldn't pronounce).

                        2. I had to post after reading some of the comments. I don't work for Pampered Chef however I am a serious cook and I did attend a party and I do use the "gadgets" I bought and I love them and haven't found them in any other stores around my area. I am a very busy mom who cannot get to all the kitchen stores and frankly many around here have closed which stinks for variety. So...I am grateful that I attended, had fun with friends and ate some great stuff. I didn't spend a ton but was able to find some things I use every single day (my tiny bartender type whisk that I love!). Can't we find most of the home party stuff elsewhere??? P.S. I DO sell adult toys and let me tell you, soccer moms spend some serious $$$$.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: 4chowpups

                            I think you're absolutely right - for someone who doesn't have access to a restaurant supply store or time to search around, something like Pampered Chef might be a great option. I don't doubt there are 'serious' cooks that use many of these same items.

                            I myself am as silly a cook as one could get.

                            And woohoo on the toys - I see you in a whole new light!!!

                            1. re: 4chowpups

                              Do you have Tupperware-like parties for your wares? I know they do in the SF Bay Area, though I never seem to get invited;-)

                              1. re: 4chowpups

                                I dunno. In the 3 freaking hours they made me sit and listen to the Pampered Chef crap I could have driven to a bigger town and shopped at a nice kitchen store and not been forced to eat stuff made out of canned croissants. I don't see the time savings.

                                However, I am overwhelmed by ideas for interestingly shaped cheese balls...cough...perhaps served at your parties! ;-)

                                1. re: danna

                                  Canned croissants? Stop it, you're pulling our legs. They don't REALLY have such a thing, do they?

                                  "However, I am overwhelmed by ideas for interestingly shaped cheese balls...cough...perhaps served at your parties!"

                                  ROFL. "It's a fire hydrant, you perv!"

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    They're crescent rolls, not croissants. They do make a nice quick crust for things like vegetable pizza.

                                  2. re: danna

                                    WOW...3 hours is a LOONG time for a show...most I have been to have only been like an hour tops.

                                2. I've been to several of these parties (well hey, I live in a small town) and they were okay. I mean, I have more stuff than I really need in my kitchen but I'll go and hang out with my friends. I have purchased 5 of those $1.00 knives (again, I've been to several parties) that someone mentioned and I swear I use that little knife at least once a day. Yeah, it's cheap but I use it. As for the pizza stones...I know a lot of people that have them and LOVE them. Every year at Christmas someone is always telling me they made sausage balls on their pizza stone and how fabulous they were. I have one. I've never used it. I can't really tell you why though.

                                  1. Pampered Chef is a ridiculously successful group selling thing. What happens is that you are invited to a "Pampered Chef" event. When you are arrive, you are greeted by the demonstrater/seller, and then you are shown the Pampered Chef products with the glee that is usually reserved for a Red Sox fan when the team has beaten the Yankees. This entices all that come to buy the products shown.

                                    All except my wife and I that is.

                                    I have no idea if anything other than the pizza stones are any good. (The one thing I bought was a pizza stone because I was making pizza that night and it looked like a good idea. The product was OK - it does what pizza stones are supposed to do.)

                                    I would disagree with one poster who said the recipe that was made was no good. Maybe we've had good cooks or something, but the food was really quite good.

                                    It's been a while since I've been close to a Pampered Chef party. For a few years we had three connections to Pampered Chef: Two friends and one church. Luckily one of the friends is no longer with Pampered Chef, and I have changed church jobs. The other friend never invites us any more - possibly because we never bought anything but always ate the food.

                                    The stuff is indeed overpriced, but kind of fun. "Pampered" I guess means that even the distributer doesn't think these items are the least bit necessary to cook a decent meal, but for the "Pampered" chef, they are indeed luxurious aids. So remember that when you get your apple corer/peeler, and ignore all the common sense posts you see here.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: bunnyr

                                      I too have the pizza stone....yet I use it more for making biscuits. It is a wonderful addition to the kitchen. I received it as a gift from my grandma and use it with some frequency.

                                      1. re: ashes

                                        You can bake all sorts of things on it...biscuits, breads, rolls...

                                        1. re: ashes

                                          I have a pizza stone also, and I love it. I've never made a pizza on it, but I use it for lots of other things!

                                          1. re: gginnola

                                            I make the best grilled cheese on mine. And it is from Pampered chef. I got it as a present. Also I throw mine on the BBQ in the summer when I make pizza. Gives a great "smoked" quality. V tasty.

                                            1. re: starlady

                                              I like the idea of throwing the stone on the grill - I might have to try a bbq chicken pizza this weekend!

                                      2. I've been to a couple Pampered Chef parties, but none in the past few years. I attended one shortly after I got married 7 years ago, so I bought a few items. Their bamboo spoons are wonderful -- I still use them to this day and they are in like new condition, with no stains at all. I also love their garlic press. I have a couple of the $1 knives which I use often, and I had the pizza stone as well which I loved for all sorts of baking but it broke when we moved and I never bought another one.

                                        Yes, some of the stuff is expensive, but I don't mind paying if the item is of good quality.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                          I have had their ice cream scoop for years, and it's great, but I suppose you could find it at most stores. But, I do have a pie dish,if I'm, not mistaken, made out of the same material as the pizza stone, and I really like it. Have not seen it anyware else. Hey, what's with those $1 knifes???? Do I have to find a Pampered chef friend??? Don't know about cutting onions with a "tiny knife"!! The big chef variety suits me better. When the kids were little, it was a good excuse to get out of the house in the evening and have the hubby babysit.

                                          1. re: somecin

                                            I have small hands...and for some dishes, like potato or tuna salad, I like to very finely chop red or yellow onions and this knife helps me achieve that goal, do you see? I don't like big hunks of celery and onion in my salads so this little tool is great for this purpose. And the knife stays pretty sharp for such a little cheap-o thing, I just love it, not sure how else to explain it. I also have the PC food chopper but for one can of tuna, I only need a little chopped onion and celery and don't need to drag the chopper out, though I have for bigger jobs when I'm making potato salad for a big crowd or whatever, and it's very good but cleaning it is a p.i.t.a.

                                          2. re: boogiebaby

                                            You get what you pay for...Target, Dollar Store, Walmart, etc DO NOT have warranties on ANYTHING...

                                          3. I can't stand these sorts of things, and the products are pretty expensive. But then again, I have access to some good stores, so I don't buy from William-Sonoma either.

                                            I have, however, been invited to Pampered Chef parties by some very nice people who just don't get why I'm not interested in attending parties with merchandise and organized games. When that happens, I always decline to actually go, but I buy the insulated bowl. They sell this lidded bowl that has blue ice inside its thick walls. It's useful for transporting things that need to be kept cold; smaller and less cumbersome than a cooler. I have one; I've given some as gifts. I plan to get the smaller size next time turning someone down for one of these parties makes me feel shamefully grumpy and cynical.

                                            (This sort of bowl may well be sold in lots of places, but I've never seen them.)

                                            Link: http://seasonalcook.blogspot.com/

                                            1. When I first heard of it, I was glad to find out that it had nothing to do with Paul Prudhomme in a diaper. (sorry couldn't resist)

                                              Actually, some Pampered Chef stuff occasionally comes up at the Salvation Army. I guess people get upset at "I paid $$$ for this piece of junk!!!" when they find out they could do better even at Williams-Sonoma. However, we got a nice (sturdy) stoneware-ish Pampered Chef roasting pan for about $6. No complaints about it.

                                              1. If you're curious go and find out for yourself. You may be presently surprised. I went kicking and screaming to my first one years ago because I hate home parties and I think everything is overpriced. But, my friend begged me, so I did, but I said I wasn't going to buy anything. Well, I really enjoyed it and make a few purchases and was very pleased with them and they're still performing great after 10 years.

                                                I've gone to quite a few parties since then and I think their products are very good quality and I use them every day. Some of the parties aren’t so great because sometimes you get a demonstrator who isn’t very good and doesn’t know much and can be boring. The Pampered Chef lady I use is very funny and informative. She did make a point of saying at the last party that I went to that one of the reasons they do a lot of the presentations with the crescent dough roll sandwich ring things is not because they're pushing that dough but because it's just convenient makes it easy to demonstrate how the stone bakes all dough evenly.

                                                Maybe some of you don't get the point, but they're not there to sell the recipe. They're there to show and sell the products they use to make the recipe. They show you the bottom of the cooked dough to show you that their stone enables the dough to cook thoroughly without burning the bottom, so the dough, rolls, biscuits and cookies you choose to bake are able to get nice and flaky and golden brown without burning the bottoms or taking the food out of the oven before it’s thoroughly cooked. I have some stones and I cook and bake everything on them from oven fried potatoes to chicken and fish and everything always cooks great, better than any metal, glass or ceramic I've ever had. They are the best thing for baking cookies on. And they have a three year warrantee. One of mine broke once and I just had to send back a little piece to the Pampered Chef office and they sent me a new one. If I had bought some other kind in a store or on line, I would have had to spend more money to buy another one. So, I think Pampered Chef is a great value. They really stand behind their stuff.

                                                I don't know what you mean by trendy. Everything I've bought from them are basic kitchen tools and I've had some of their products for 10 years (like my big round stone). So, I know they last, so to me that’s a good value. They had these silicone spatualas (scrapers) before I ever saw them in a any store.

                                                There are some very negative reactions on this string. I really don't understand it. You get what you pay for and I've found their products to be very good quality and they've delivered very good customer service to me. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I do think if you’re invited to party, you should find out for yourself.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Bean

                                                  I think we get the point that we're not their for the recipes. But I also think that one of the reasons a certain target demographic blows off Pampered Chef is because we are not the kind of people to make things with tubes of dough.

                                                  The Pampered Chef parties I've attended have pushed the product through the ingredients ("Look how useful this melon baller is for also scooping out the sugar-free hot fudge topping!" and/or "You can use this strainer for thawing your frozen California Blend veggies for the veggie pizza!").

                                                  I also think Pampered Chef, as well as any other home-sale party, also gets a lot of grief because it's a forced-sale environment. You're usually not there because you absolutely, positively need a product from the catalog. You're absolutely, postively there because your sister/mom/mother-in-law/co-worker/neighbor/best friend invited you.

                                                  I have to say, though, I'd rather attend a Pampered Chef party that a Tupperware party. I can usually find something in the PC inventory that has a remote chance of being used in my kitchen.

                                                  1. re: MkeLaurie

                                                    Well, that’s true that you don’t need everything they offer. And they do target a certain market which are people who don’t like to cook, people who don’t have enough time to cook and especially families. They stress how important it is to put a healthy meal on the table to bring families together for dinner. I don’t think that’s bad because too many people feed fast food to their families to often. I like to cook, but don’t have a lot of time, being a single mother and working full-time. Maybe I’ve just bought into the whole thing, but the products that I’ve purchased from them make my meal preparation faster and cooking is more fun when you have the right tools. I’ve never felt that I’ve been ripped off. I know that it falls into that home party thing. I don’t need to go to a party to buy expensive baskets. I don’t have the time or interest to make scrap books, I don’t need to go to a party to buy home decor, but hey, everyone needs to eat.

                                                    The products are good quality and there’s something there for everyone, I’m just saying, people shouldn’t have a preconceived negative attitude and check it out to see if you like anything and see what have to show you. I can’t see it right now, but someone posted that some products were donated to the Salvation Army because they realized they overpaid for something they didn’t use? How do you know why they donated it? Maybe the person it belonged to passed away or something. But, she likes the stone and uses it. Maybe that person didn’t go to a Pampered Chef party, so wasn’t given ideas of different things they cook use it for, they didn’t know what to do with the piece.

                                                    1. re: Bean

                                                      A very interesting discussion we have going here...

                                                      The other thing that bugs me about the way Pampered Chef promotes its product line is that each gadget is presented as so time saving, so quick, such a breakthrough and so absolutely necessary to speed up meal prep. Okay, sure. But do you REALLY need them to be time saving, so quick and so easy? No.

                                                      If you go into a professional kitchen, they have very basic tools. Their most important tools are good, sharp knives. It's not about tools; it's technique, which comes from practice. You learn when you can combine steps, eliminate others, chop onions without chopping up your fingers, eyeball measurements, make recipe changes, etc.

                                                      My sister-in-law swears by her pizza stone and the stoneware thing she makes brownies in, but her cooking is terrible. No pizza stone or other overpriced bakeware/kitchenware is going to turn a bad cook into a good cook. Her brownies are still made from a box and she has no clue how to make a decent pizza dough (I think she buys it in a tube).

                                                      But because she runs to all these parties and spends all this money on Pampered Chef stuff, she is under the impression that she's a good, efficient cook, which is a dubious assertion at best.

                                                      She'd be better off buying a basic cookbook or taking a few lessons than increasing her inventory of barely used kitchen equipment.

                                                      Good or bad, that's the philosophy that makes Pampered Chef so successful and partially fuels the ire that I think we've seen on the board.

                                                      1. re: MkeLaurie
                                                        l
                                                        La Dolce Vita

                                                        Your comment is right on target.

                                                        As you explained, most of the people who frequent this website are not going to be good candidates for Pampered Chef products. The kinds of problems we Chowhounds are trying to solve in the kitchen are not the same problems a typical Pampered Chef customer is concerned with.

                                                        This is not a matter of being snobbish or refusing to give PC a chance. It's simply a question of market demographic, which is what I was so curious about in my original post. Thanks to everybody's input, I now have a better idea of what PC is all about, and I can say with great confidence that I am not a good candidate for a Pampered Chef party.

                                                2. I avoid all 'parties' of this type like the plague and thus far have managed to steer clear of Pampered Chef. But it is difficult because people who ARE the target market for Pampered Chef tend to think that if they're going to host a nightmare network marketing party that involves cooking goods their friends who cook well will be really interested. Oddly they tend to think the same thing about Tastefully Simple which is even nuttier because though their quality is mediocre and their applications are for non-cooks at least PC has cooking products not alarmingly disgusting mixes and such.

                                                  So I find that if some poor misguided person has been roped into hosting one of these beg-a-thons they target me as an ideal customer when I could not possibly be a less appropriate candidate.

                                                  1. My wife was cajoled into going to one of their "parties" a few years ago and spent a fortune on a 12" pan with a glass cover. It warped after three years. I contacted the company directly. Their response: We only warranty it for 2 years". Basically, you're SOL for a product that sells at a premium price with lousy quality.

                                                    Garbage product. Garbage company. Any other questions?

                                                    1. When this company first became popular, they carried a lot of products that weren't available anywhere else, but over time, those products have gotten into mainstream kitchenware stores and are now available anywhere. Most places have them MUCH cheaper than PC. I have many of those items and love using them, but now when I look at their catalogs I am shocked at how much they will charge for a simple tool, set of bowls or some cute gadgety thing that is touted for making your life unbelievably simple.

                                                      That being said, I have never found better rubber spatulas than PC has, their wooden spoons are top quality and I have blown out three of their pump style oil misters. Some things they have are good, most stuff you can get anywhere now. I don't care for their philosophy of using conveniece items to make meals quicker and better (i don't think it makes them 'better' at all!) but the appeal of it is all subjective, as is most cooking. What works for some doesn't even rate for others.

                                                      1. I love their stoneware baking pans. I have the large cookie sheet, the v. small one that I use in my toaster oven, a loaf pan, a square baker and a round pizza stone. I use these items on a daily basis and consider myself a serious, adventurous home cook.
                                                        However, I probably wouldn't buy anything else from them because they are just too darn expensive for the simplest of things (i.e., spatulas).

                                                        1. I think most of us get coerced into going to these parties through a relative which is what happened to me. I didn't go for the stoneware items like the pizza stone or roasters etc that they did a heavy sell on, but did pick up a few gadgets. The bamboo spoons are the best I've ever bought and hold up well. I also bought this really cool lil sandwich maker thingie, you take two pieces of bread, put your filling inside and then press this gadget down on the top and it seals the sandwich into a lil pocket.

                                                          1. My experience has been that their products aren't really great quality. I've struggled on a few occasions when some friends were doing a Pampered Chef event, to find what to buy that might be useful. That being said, the pizza stone is fine, but stay away from the wooden spoons, which are way too light in weight. Other gadgets aren't cheap, and Williams-Sonoma has much better quality.

                                                            1. OK, I'm an admitted appliance and kitchen stuff snob. That being said, I can't stand the Pampered Chef stuff. I think it's way over priced for what it is. I think it's more stuff for the "ok - I gotta cook to eat" set. (No offense to anyone with that remark.) I don't know of anyone that takes their cooking seriously that likes their products.

                                                              Alot of their recipes that they demonstrate and provide with their products are very much "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee" At least that has been my experience. YMMV

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: cbauer

                                                                Well, sometimes it's the "okay, I need to find something I can buy so I don't feel guilty at this stupid party" set!! I would say I'm a "serious cook" and I like their can opener.

                                                                1. re: cbauer

                                                                  Well, I guess I beg to differ at the commment "I don't know of anyone that takes their cooking seriously that likes their products"

                                                                  I am a personal chef, a professional so to speak and cooking to me is serious businees, as well as something I take seriously, and as I said in a previous post about this topic, I believe that most of what they offer is over-priced and certainly no longer unique to the cooking world. But, there are several items from PC that I have that are of better quality than any other version on the market. Their stoneware, although expensive, comes with a lifetime guarantee. You won't get that with the stoneware at any other place and just by sending them a piece of a broken pizza stone, they replace it for free. I had a cheapie version of a pizza stone that absorbed all kinds of cooking odors and flavors and eventually had to be thrown out because it smelled so bad. I have seen and tried many oil misters on the market and keep coming back to PC for theirs. Yes, it's overpriced and their recipes rely way too much on convenience foods which I never use. You have your opinion, which I respect, but try not to be too broad on your generalizations.

                                                                2. Was invited to one of these events, felt pressured into buying a few things I didn't need. Could not bring myself to try the hamburger and Pillsbury croissant casserole and ice cream cake. Nice people, had fun chatting, but not my cup of tea. Plus, never heard again from the hostess that I dropped some big coin for.

                                                                  I can get in and out of a Williams Sonoma, Target or Sur La Table faster and perhaps enjoy a tastier demonstration/samples!

                                                                  PC clearly serves a purpose for a great numnber of people. Rock on!

                                                                  1. I have a good friend who has been to LOTS of Pampered Chef parties.

                                                                    Whenever I cook in her kitchen, she pulls out at LEAST three gadgets that I could easily replace with a chef's knife (and much more easily clean).

                                                                    That said, I love my Batter Bowls and my Deep Dish Baker.

                                                                    1. IMHO, 80% of kitchen gadgets are a waste of space. The most tricked-out kitchens I've seen belong to the people who use kitchens the least-- more as a place to entertain guests and to store, heat, and serve gourmet take-out. It's like the material objects make up for a lack in skill and interest.

                                                                      Scone pans? Pie weights? Cast-iron bacon press? Batter dispensers? Fancy gravy separators? Egg slicers? How many people can justify a $50 creme brulee torch?? A sesame seed toaster? (I kid you not... look at the Williams Sonoma website..)

                                                                      I hate the notion of those commercial "parties"-- peer pressure to buy stuff you really don't need and don't want.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: amandine

                                                                        Actually, I was thinking of buying a sesame seed toaster, as I have gotten into macrobiotic cooking which calls for a lot of toasted sesame seeds. Is it really that useless?

                                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                                          wouldn't a good quality pan that distributes heat evenly do a fine job?

                                                                      2. I shall chime in with my opinion.
                                                                        I got some PC stuff as part of the dowry when I got married. Most of it is junk and I don't use it. I have the pizza stone and I constantly use the spatula as well.
                                                                        I find most of the stuff to be extremely gadgety. Meaning, one use only. We have an 8 cup measuring cup that you can't pour out of because it dribbles since there is no lip on it. Several adjustable measuring spoons/cups which are completely useless. There is also the mirriade of rubber garlic peelers egg peeler type devices. Save your time and money.
                                                                        I didn't realize it until I started watching Alton Brown. Unitaskers in a kitchen are terrible. They take up way too much space.

                                                                        DT

                                                                        1. You might want to tell your friend you can't go that night but that you might be interested in the cookware and then ask if it's possible to get a catalog. Then you can look through and see if there is anything that interests you. I got a pizza stone that way and it's fine. I don't recall that the cookware is so unique, but you might want to check it out.

                                                                          1. I have a few things from PC however, I find them amazingly pricey and I have a personal issue with anything that "should not be submersed in water or use soap on". This includes all of the baking stones/bowls. They recommend some nonsense of scraping them out and damp ragging them. Yeah. NOT A CHANCE. If it can't be scorched in my dishwasher or boiled in my sink with anti-bacterial Dawn and a clorox chaser, Im not interested. I know, I know, some things like ancient cast iron pans shouldnt be washed either, hence, why I don't own anything like that. PC is okay for little gimicky stuff, but I will stick to my Calphalon and my outrageously high hot water tank temp of 120 degrees.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chelleyd01

                                                                              Pampered Chef baking stones are fine to submerse in water. The cheaper brands that are added with fillers (Pampered Chef stoneware is 100% clay) may smoke or oversteam in the oven as a result of soaking in water. SO perhaps you are confusing Pampered Chef with a cheaper, less quality version of stoneware?

                                                                              It is not recommended that you wash your Pampered Chef stoneware with soap because of the bond that takes place with the soap and the seasoning process of the stoneware. As a stoneware piece is used, and the higher the fat content of what you are baking, it will season and develop a non-stick surface. This is great for non-stick baking and thus, low-fat baking because you do not need to prepare the surface. If you continued to wash the seasoned surface with soap, the soap would cling to the seasoning process and thus, create a soapy taste to your food.

                                                                              To clean a baking stone, you simply submerge in warm water, if you'd like, or run water over it and scrape it clean. Dry it off until next use.

                                                                              Once your stoneware reaches 140 degrees (40/140 rule), no bacteria will survive. Using soap to clean anything does not kill bacteria. Soap is just a bonding agent to help wash residue away.

                                                                              Just wanted to clear up any misconceptions on the limitations of stoneware.

                                                                            2. I went to one of these parties a few years ago, and I purchased some spatulas because mine were shot, including one of those "spoonula" things--I had bought them elsewhere before, but I had not seen the silicone ones before. I'm pretty hard on spatulas, so spending a few extra dollars on some that said they were very durable and didn't stain and were heat-resistant seemed like a good idea. And it was. They have lived up to everything they promised, and I use at least one of them almost every day. (I made rice pudding last night and used the spoonula one to stir it right out of the oven.)

                                                                              But at the same party I also got one of those nifty little Mouli-style cheese graters, the one with the cylinder inside and the crank you turn to make perfect shreds of Parmesan for your pasta. It sits in the pantry in its box. Dogbone thing just doesn't work worth a hoot.

                                                                              The parties don't bug me nearly as much as the "Pampered Chef Wedding Shower" someone threw for a woman peripherally connected with my church. You were supposed to go to the shower and see all the gadgets, and then order them for the bride-to-be, according to the wish list she provided. It was ferociously tacky. I went to the thing, but refused to play. I brought the cookbook I made with a bunch of favorite recipes, just like I do for most of the wedding showers I go to.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                Sounds like a lovely gift! She's better off.

                                                                                1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                  here's a tip to grate cheddar cheese in any cheese grateer. Cheddar cheese is super fatty. Take a block of cheddar cheese and place it in your microwave for about 5-8 seconds. This will release the oils in your cheddar cheese, just enough, to make the cheddar cheese fall out like parmesan.

                                                                                  I hope your bride friend didn't know how you felt. I always thought a bridal shower was all about the bride and what she WANTED. It was obvious that she wanted to stock her kitchen with Pampered Chef products or she wouldn't have had a Pampered Chef shower.

                                                                                  1. re: pcheflbc

                                                                                    It's still ferociously tacky, as revsharkie put it (or vulgar, as I put it). Since when does one tell people what to buy for a friggin' SHOWER?

                                                                                    1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                      OMG! Welcome to the 21st century where people register EVERYWHERE to get what they want at a wedding shower. It's not tacky, it keeps one from getting 3 toaster, 5 cookie jars, or a dozen crystal dishes that they don't want or need.

                                                                                      1. re: LoveMyPC

                                                                                        Yep, you should definately show up to the shower with something the bride/groom DID NOT WANT...If "I" had a problem with a PC wedding shower, I just wouldn't go...simple as that. It isn't tacky to get what the couple wants...

                                                                                2. They have some good things and some useless things. I really like the unglazed stoneware. It does amazing things to frozen biscuits. I am a bit bitter that they require a receipt to make good on the warranty - it's a Pampered Chef branded item! I got one as a gift with no receipt and it cracked. It only cost about $20 to replace, but it's annoying that PC would not stand behind their own product just because there was no receipt.

                                                                                  Some other useful gadgets I have from PC - the batter bowl, and 1-cup prep bowls, and a strainer-type device that you hold over a pot...works much better than trying to use the lid :-) The serving pieces are nice, too. Some of the stuff is too expensive, some of it is a good deal. They have a lot of "one trick pony" tools that I would avoid at any price.

                                                                                  1. I love my Pampered Chef items - including garlic press (best ever and I have about 10), stone cook ware, a few pans - and have NO GUILT! Whew, I said it.

                                                                                    I am also a "serious cook" but I certainly don't take myself too seriously! My Mother started sending me PC items then I went to a party - feeling like I had to support a friend - and then ended up having about 5 parties. They were fun - and I'm pretty much happy with all that I've had over the years.

                                                                                    I no longer go to parties or buy anything because I'm "pampered out" but I certainly enjoy what I do have.

                                                                                    1. I hadn't been to a Pampered Chef party in a couple of years, so when I was invited to one this week I thought, "Great! I can see about getting my 3 year old PC $17.50 can opener replaced since it will no longer cut lids. I know their products are guaranteed." ( I am single, so it's not like I use it every week or anything.) Pampered Chef informs me that I must have my original sales receipt or know the Consultant who sold it to me. Turns out after a couple of emails, that my opener is 4 years old and the guarantee is for only 2 years. Tough luck to me. My mother has a Swing-a-way can opener that is 20 years old and still works. Save your money and buy products from Target or Walmart.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dtpib

                                                                                        I didn't know that Target and Walmart took back products that you had used for 3 years without a receipt??

                                                                                        1. re: pcheflbc

                                                                                          Sorry, but maybe you can take this back to the mother ship because it's one of PC's supreme failings.

                                                                                          We're not talking about returns, we're talking about warranty repairs. I had a stoneware bar pan split in half on me. I got it as a gift in the anonymous wishing well at a bridal shower so never had a receipt. This is a Pampered Chef-branded product and at the very least I can prove when I got married. Pampered Chef basically told me to sod off.

                                                                                          They are basically saying that they won't stand behind their own branded product without a piece of paper which proves that I didn't make myself a fake cracked bar pan at the pottery shop just to screw them out of $20.

                                                                                          At the time this happened, my wife was planning a PC party and I told her to call the consultant and tell the consultant to either get PC on the ball or the party is off. Unfortunately the consultant was a friend/coworker so my wife was unwilling to play hardball.

                                                                                          If I were Doris Christopher I'd be rather embarassed. If I put my name or my company's name on something, I stand behind it with or without a receipt.

                                                                                          1. re: pcheflbc

                                                                                            of course some people aren't going to be happy, but I really like pampered chef. I'm not a seller btw.

                                                                                            I like their stoneware as it cooks much nicer than aluminum IMO. I also like that it is a nice alternative to teflon (which I wouldn't dare want to debate here because apparently you can slam pampered chef but not teflon)

                                                                                            I also like my spatulas I've gotten from them and my scoopers (which I could also find at bed bath and beyond) but I don't mind supporting a work at home mom over a big box seller any day!

                                                                                            You do understand that retailers usually double their wholesale cost - it's all part of the retail industry. Manufacturer's also at least double the price vs cost in order to stay in business and make a profit. So of course there is a mark-up in MLM items over the cost to make the item - that is just basic economics at work.

                                                                                            1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                              I had a bad experience along these lines myself. I bought a PC-branded kitchen gadget - some kind of spraying gizmo - from a friend who had been at a PC party at her daughter-in-law's, and showed me the catalogue to help boost the sales results for the party and increase her daughter-in-law's "take."

                                                                                              I ordered the item, and after I used it a couple of times, the thing totally malfunctioned and became useless. I contacted PC, which was not easy; their entire website is geared toward sucking you into the party pyramid structure, and not at all to actual customer service.

                                                                                              Finally I was in touch with an actual person, who would not deal with me; instead, I was referred back to the party host and/or demonstrator, neither of which I had access to.The item wasn't very expensive, so I just gave up. Based on this experience, I wouldn't order anything from them again.

                                                                                              1. re: Pumpkinseed

                                                                                                I guess I would have just called the toll free number that is plastered all over the website and gone from there?

                                                                                          2. re: dtpib

                                                                                            I don't know how your consultant did their paperwork years ago, but things have definitely changed with the internet now. I am a consultant myself and frankly, I would be ashamed of myself for not being the consultant I'm supposed to be. The company doesn't normally deal with simple customer service, that is our job as consultants. If there is a problem with product, then it is our responsibility to fix it. And with the internet, we can have the problem fixed within a week. Now I don't know who your consultant was, but if you placed an outside order, they should have given you a call and you should have also gotten an official sales receipt with your order. At least that is how we are supposed to do it now and that is how I do it all the time. Whenever I have an order I make sure the customer has my name, consultant number and at least 2 ways to contact me in case anything would happen. Honestly, I don't see how some of these other consultants stay in business from what I hear about them. And I'm not trashing my own company, but part of our jobs as a consultant is to pay attention to our customers and give them proper customer service. If you need anything or have any questions, feel free to contact me at sschutt08@hotmail.com.

                                                                                          3. What a bummer about the can opener!

                                                                                            1. I've been to only 3 PC parties, and each time I found the quality of the products to be all over the board. All of it was, imo, overpriced, including the ones that appeared to be well made. I'd much rather spend my money at W-S or SLT.

                                                                                              1. I have never been to a Pampered Chef party, so I can't comment on the event itself. However, I have a garlic press and a two-piece baking dish for poultry, roasts,etc. I thought the garlic press was expensive for its quality. I actually have another from IKEA that is of much better quality. Another individual indicated that they don't like anything that cannot be washed with soap. That's how I feel about that baking dish (I feel it was also overpriced, too). I've been asked to buy things from this company since from my friend/sales representative, and I have said no.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: JenBoes

                                                                                                  I haven't been to a party either, but I was given a stoneware mini loaf pan, where you can make four loaves of whatever at once. I have yet to use it and I have had it for almost 4 years! I was thinking of making 4 different flavored meat loafs in it, to try and find one that my DH will eat, but . . . Someone else bought me one of their ice cream scoops, which was easy to use, but the DH put it in the dishwasher and now it is dead!

                                                                                                  I did buy a PC slicer at a neighborhood outdoor festival. It is a wonderful gadget. It slices potatoes so thin you can see through them. I really don't use it for much else though. It's so sharp it's scary. And the best thing about this purchase was it was 25% off the regular price, which really made it a good value.

                                                                                                2. a mixed bag of stuff good /bad
                                                                                                  i would only order stuff you actually see samples of, where you can touch them
                                                                                                  only because for every good pc they have (yes they have some good stuff) they have an over priced dollar store pc of junk to back it up. and of course you can't tell by looking at the catalog

                                                                                                  1. I must say I was disappointed with a lot of the responses to this. I am a huge Pampered Chef fan and have been to 3 parties so far. I dont' love ALL of the products, but I think most of the products are better quality than anything i've seen at bed , bath and beyond or target and worth their price. I've never felt that I was pressured to buy something at any of the parties and I always had a great time with my friends.

                                                                                                    As for the pizza stones, I make everything on them. Chicken, herb crusted salmon, breaded eggplant, meatballs, brownies, cookies, veggies, potatoes... it just makes everything come out perfect. It gives a crispness to the outside of meat so I don't have to fry anymore. As for the soap issue, you're not supposd to use soap on cast iron pots either but people don't seem to have a problem with that.

                                                                                                    I find that their recipes do what they are supposed to do "get you out of the ktichen quickly". They are not meant to be culinary masterpieces. When I get home from work I want to be in and out of the kitchen in under an hour and they have some great recipes and tools to help me achieve that. The point is that many of us are not technically skilled in the kitchen, however that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be able to enjoy good food . If I were to mince parsley with a knife it would probably take me 20 minutes but if I can use their food chopper and be done in 1 minute, which do you think i'm goinng to pick?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: silentkrash

                                                                                                      Amen and GREAT comment about the cast iron pots...it's so true isn't it?

                                                                                                    2. I have no use for Pampered Chef, or time for their parties.

                                                                                                      My kitchen is outfitted with items(pans,cutiing board, utensils, racks, etc.) from a restaurant supply store. I was a cook for years, and wanted to use the same items in my kitchen that I used on the lines of the places I cooked. I have no use for kitchen gadgets(unless you consider a deep fryer, a juicer, and a food processor gadgets). I also have no use for cheap knives, not the place to skimp in the kitchen. Lastly I love to cook, and spend time in my kitchen, so I am not lookign for "time savers" to get me out of the kitchen quickly. PC offers, and markets the total opposite of what I enjoy, and look for in cooking, and kitchen equiptment.

                                                                                                      1. not a fan of this product line at all. my Ex used to host one of these every year or so and i found that most of the oven ware is not able to stand up to truly high heat or serious cooking. i can't even begin to count all the stuff i've had either shatter or crack in my oven.

                                                                                                        1. not everyone wants to spend as much time in the kitchen as a lot of us, and to the extent that PC makes life easier for some people, more power to them. I tend to view my kitchen time as a pleasure and i actually look forward to prepping veggies and meats with good knives and cooking with good tools. I'd much rather chop an onion with a sharp chef's knife than toss it into a gadget. My experience has been that as my pleasure and enjoyment in cooking has grown, I use few if any gadgets. But if you don't really like to cook and gadgets make your life easier, good for you.

                                                                                                          1. Since this thread is very old, and all the new posts seem to come from Pampered Chef consultants who haven't read our site rules ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367605 ) , we're going to lock it.