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Copper cookware - Falk vs. Bourgeat

Currently I have a variety of old Calphalon (1990) and Magnalite pieces but would like something newer. The Calphalon pieces I don't use much have all de-anodized and the ones I've used a lot have little nicks and scratches.

When I visited Broadway Panhandler, the Bourgeat 9.5 inch saute pan seemed unbalanced with too much weight in the handle. Has anyone tried the Falk? I prefer no Mauviel. How about the maintenance of the stainless steel and copper? I don't mind the patina as long as it doesn't change the conductivity. Some people seem to prefer the easier maintenance of the brushed finish.

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  1. Traditional French pot makers question the logic behind copper and stainless. They claim stainless is a poor heat conductor. Only tin exploits copper's cooking potential to it's maximum. The copper outer in stainless/copper requires just as much cleaning as stainless/ tin. Most chefs would agree that all copper requires regular cleaning. I've cooked for years with two copper stainless Swiss Spring Line pans, one round one oval. They are quite good but I do prefer the heavier copper of the tin lined models which I also have. In my opinion, balance is something one can get used and adjust to. The heating qualities are much more important in how they balance with your stovetops performance and your own personal cooking style.

    1. Stainless is a poor heat conductor. However, 0.008" of stainless (eight-thousandths of an inch) on top of a tenth-inch of copper should not ruin the thermal transfer from the copper to the food so much that it cancels out the Joy of Retinning.

      The thin stainless on my heavy ss-lined copper frying pan does not seem to cut down on the heat transfer, and we can gouge away with metal utensils to our heart's desire without imperiling a soft tin lining. For an evasee or a saucier, I could see tin being less of a problem (there was an older 6-pound Bridge 9-inch evasee on eBay recently, probably 3.5mm+ tinned copper, which went for only $80!!!) but I am such a clod that I would whisk away the lining within a year's time. And then it's $3-5 per inch diameter to re-tin the pan. D'oh!

      Falk's finish is lower maintenance than Bourgeat, though prices now seem to be comparable if one shops around (eg. the Bourgeat guy in Dallas vs. the Falk wholesaler in Belgium). It seems that Falk's USA distributor only sells their pieces online, although Bridge Kitchenware might be able to lay their hands on a piece for you. Worth a try, at least.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ttriche

        I am hoping to pick up some Falk but the only seller I come across is their sole US distributor which has pretty high pricing. I also tried Googling Mr. van Noortegart whose name pops up regarding Falk in this forum but I can't find anything on him. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

        1. re: Patday12

          Michael Harp has exclusive distribution rights in North America. Copperpans.com is the only place you will find Falk for sale.

          Used pieces sometimes come up for sale on eBay.

      2. I have a Falk piece and a Mauviel piece and the maintenance on the Falk is amazingly low in comparison. I haven't had to polish the Falk yet.

        1. OK, so I've now seen the Bourgeat saute pan at Broadway Panhandler and the Mauviel at Bridge. I like the cleaner handles of the Mauviel, especially how it attaches to the pan. It seems easier to clean than the rim on the Bourgeat. However, the rolled rim is supposed to make the pan stronger and easier to pour. All the 2.5mm pans are supposed to use copper/steel from Falk as they hold the patent though Spring Switzerland invented something similar years ago. Also, supposedly Mauviel makes the pans for Bourgeat now. Cooking-wise, all these pans have the same performance allegedly.

          Are the cast-iron handles the same between Falk and Bourgeat? Angles and thickness and comfort in the hand (the last being relative as they are all about 8 or 10lb beasts).

          It seems ridiculous that all these pans have rivets which are hard to keep sanitary. Are the little ones in Falk strong enough for decades of (home) use?

          Pricewise, the best price for Bourgeat seems Ebay or the guy in Texas, e.g. $220 for the 11 inch. The Belgian guy on Ebay has the Falk for $213 plus shipping and possibly duties which is a lot cheaper than the US distributor.

          3 Replies
          1. re: somuchfoodsolittletime

            HAven't had my Falk for decades so I can't tell you whether the rivets will last forever, but a couple of pieces arrived from Belgium today and they make my non-Falk copper pans feel like lightweight junk. The handles are balanced right on The Beast (11" saucier-cum-sautepan) and are just-balanced-enough on the mousseline pan (I believe the assumption is that you will have at least a little bit of sauce in that pan) that it does not fall over unless provoked. I very much like the shape of the mousseline pan for whisking, it has no dead spots at all.

            The handles on the Bourgeat pieces are a little bit thicker than the Falk handles and attach much lower on the cooking vessel. I prefer the Falk attachment point. I measured prior to ordering (actually, the eBay guy measured for me -- Michael Harp seems like a nice guy, but Mr. van Noortegart actually got the job done) to be sure that the Beast would fit into my oven -- no sense having a 9 pound pan that can't be tossed into the oven. He was prompt and precise and he vastly underestimates shipping time from Belgium -- my pans made it in 3 days from Brussels.

            It is frightening when a 6.5" reduction pan weighs as much as a 10" Lagostina frypan. But, that's Falk for you. The stainless layer is almost so thin as to be invisible yet they warranty it for life -- I am very impressed so far.

            1. re: ttriche

              I wish I knew of Mr. van Noortegart before I bought my pans. Amongst the dozen or so pieces I purchased, 2 of them have defective SS linings which have pitted over the years. Despite the fact that these pieces are used sparingly and never have salt added to them, they have pitted badly. Unfortunately for me, the above-mentioned U.S. distributor arbitrarily decided that I must be at fault for using salt crystals in the pieces. There was not so much as an offer to have the pans shipped back for a professional evaluation.(It should be noted that, according to the American distributor, I was his first on-line customer) In addition, the home office did not reply to my queries.

              So, CAVEAT EMPTOR with regards to the alleged "life time" warranty. In fairness, it should be noted that all my other pieces are as sound and free of pitting as the day I first used them...

            2. re: somuchfoodsolittletime

              Careful with the Mauviel handles. If you choose brass, they get hot. Stick to the iron Mauviel handles, which are standard on Falk.

            3. FYI: I was told by Falk Culinair personnel in Wespelaar, Belgium -just outside Leuven- they produce the base material (Cu+SS) for Mauviel cookware since they are the sole producers of high pressure Cooper and SS bimetal.
              I suspect they also supply other European brands too.