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Dec 16, 2006 06:07 PM

Tell me about All-clad....

I am considering purchasing All-clad cookware. Because I heard "it's the best!"
Please provide me with your comments and personal experiences using All-clad.

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  1. I have All Clad LTD. Prior to that I had a few pieces of the old (and IMO vastly superior to their current product) Calphalon Commercial cookware purchased after college. The Calphalon was great, served me for ten years, and still used as backups. In terms of heat responsiveness and even heat distribution, I was amazed at the increase in performance when I first started using the AC LTD. I've never used better cookware, and that inlcudes even more expensive French copper cookaware.

    The All Clad has been noticably superior. All Clad Stainless is dishwasher safe, but the LTD is not. OTOH, the LTD has a thicker interior layer of aluminum, so it's performance is somewhat better. FWIW, I also think the LTD is more attractive if displayed in the open.

    Some people maintain that All Clad is not worth its cost, and that's a valid if very subjective point. It also is not best for every use. You should still have a good and well seasoned cast iron frying pan and an enamaled cast iron French Oven, but for most jobs requiring a saucepan, frypan or saute pan, I truly believe that it is the best in the world--whether it justifies its cost, however, is up to the indvidual.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Harmon

      Is it difficult to clean the outside of the LTD set?

      1. re: eusbmsc

        Not difficult at all. Liquid cleanser and a scrub pad do the trick for day-to-day use. Every so often, you might get some baked on grease or just want to brighten up the pans, then reach for the Barkeep's Friend scouring powder. A quick scrubbing session will have them looking like new in no time. The anodized aluminum exterior is EXTREMELY hard and durable. You can't really do it damage with scrubbing. I have seen a white discoloration of the exterior in some secondhand pieces, but I suspect oven cleaner was used on these pieces.

        1. re: eusbmsc

          Use a powder cleanser called :"Barkeepers Friend". It works like magic

      2. I have All-Clad and would buy it again. We considered the Stainless Steel version but ended up with the Master Chef because it was cheaper. The MC has a brushed exterior and we didn't care about the shiny (though pretty) exterior. We gave my in-laws the stainless steel calphalon before we bought ours and I like the All-Clad better. It feels indestructible, holds heat well. Pricey but lasts. I agree w/ Sam Harmon about having some kind of frying pan that is non-stick. I can't make a decent omelette in our All-Clad w/out using too much oil.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Chowser, I have mostly MC line of All-clad and I would fight anyone that would try to take it away from me. Its not cheap, but given the proper care, it will last a lifetime. I have used it at work, and the abuse it will take and still do the job is incredible.
          Its very heavy and very conductive, but the slope of the fry pans is perfect and I rarely need to use a Teflon coated pan. All-Clad can occasionally be found at restaurant supply house for 10-15% off retail, and you can also but it at restaurant auctions.

          Don't bother buying All-Clad stock pots, as they are too expensive and the stock pot doesn't need to be that heavy to do the job well.

          My favorite pieces are the fry pans, saut├ęs, and the sauciers. The chefs pans are nice, as are the straight-sided sauce pans.
          All-clad baking pans are a waste of money.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            You don't have problems with omelettes/eggs sticking to the frying pan w/out a lot of oil? I finally gave up and bought nonstick--not teflon, though. We got ours a long time ago, can't remember what we paid but it was a special deal for a set and then we picked up the odd piece here and there that we needed. I use the stock pot all the time, though! I love how heavy duty it is and that it goes from stove top to oven. I can't compare it to another, though. I've thought about getting a saucier but it's not multi-functional as the other pieces. Someone gave me a Calphalon one but it's nonstick and you're not supposed to use wire whisks on it. Why would they make a saucier that you can't use a wire whisk on?

            1. re: chowser

              Chowswer, The ability to cook w/o nonstick is seasoning, heat control and a pan with no hot spots. I have 2 Teflon pans, but they are inexpensive commercial Wearever pans, and they are only used for eggs and rarely for that. I have heard good reports about Sitram cybernox non-stick pans, but I haven't used 1 personally. All-Clad is using a Excalibur Teflon coating process that makes them much more abrasion resistant than most pans, but I don't like the health risks associated with Teflon.

              My smallest stock pot is 12 quarts and my largest is 20, and there is no oven in the world that they will fit into anyhow. Personally, I cannot think of a recipe that would require the use of a stock pot to be placed in a oven.

              You mentioned that your Caphalon saucier is nonstick, but its it anodized, or is it Teflon coated? There is no problem with using a metal whisk in a anodized pan, and you can use a metal whisk in Teflon with a light touch on occasion. I have a small Dumeyere copper pan, but I rarely use it as I find it temperamental and somewhat impractical.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                I finally bought an anodized frying pan for eggs. I kept trying to make it work with the all clad but it would either stick or be almost deep fried (not quite but pretty close). The saucier is anodized also. I'm pretty sure the directions said not to use a wire whisk on it. I'll have to look online to see--thanks for the heads up. I've been tempted to get a silicon one just for that. My stock pot isn't that large, just enough for stews for a good sized family. I use it in place of a dutch oven. Brown the meat in it, add vegetables, etc. and then pop in the oven. I did try baking the no knead bread in it. The lid turned a funny color--oh well.

                1. re: chowser

                  Chowser, I found this at the Calphalon website,
                  You may use metal whisks, spoons, spatulas and other non-sharp metal utensils. They will not harm the hard-anodized surface. HOWEVER, do not use sharp instruments or appliances such as electric mixers to cut, chop, or whip foods in any pan. Such use can scratch the pan, especially when it's heated. (All metals become softer when heated.)

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    Good to know! Thanks for checking for me! Saves me a search.

        2. I first bought an All-Clad 'set' - copper exterior. I suggest avoiding the copper coated - high maintenance and not worth the constant polishing required. However I stand by my All-Clad as I purchased several pieces since - all stainless steel for the low maintenance. All pieces perform quite well.

          If you treat the purchase as an investment, think about how many more expensive things you purchase in your lifetime and how long they last. You will probably buy a new car before you would buy new cookware. Hence, the price is worth it.

          To defray the cost, look for a Pottery Barn/William Sonoma outlet store (depending on where you are). I bought nearly all my stainless at their outlet at about 40% off the retail. Some were seconds with little scratches on the exterior surface, but not noticeable and not performancing-affecting.

          I've cooked with a friend's Kitchen Aid cookware. The slope of the handle made it difficult to manage saute pans and lifting sauce pans. All-Clad ergonomics are much better. Check that out before making any investment. How does it feel to lift, carry and handle?

          If I could afford it, I would invest in a few pieces of French copperware. They are incredibly heavy pieces, but are fantastic for cooking (e.g. saucier and saute).

          1. In terms of the different lines within All Clad, I would strongly recommend MC2 (or Master Chef 2) over Stainless or LTD. I have the stainless and the shiny exteriors are impossible to keep clean. MC2 is, i believe, the cheapest of the three and has the thickest aluminum core, which means the best performance, althought hey are slightly heavier.

            1. I have one All-clad saute pan. I love it. It works perfectly! Good saute, allows for good fond. Heats evenly. It's a dream to cook with.