Alternatives to All-Clad?
I need to get a replace a few pieces of cookware, and am looking for some possible alternatives to All-Clad. It seems a lot of people love All-Clad, and I must admit that I've never cooked with it. However, I find that the handles aren't very ergonomic, and they actually hurt my hands when I pick up a pan. It's not the weight of the pan (I use large Le Creuset pots all the time) but the shape. So I'm wondering if there are some other "high performance" cookware lines that I should consider. Does anyone have the Viking line and is it any good? I also heard the CIA has introduced a line of cookware. I also hear about French, Belgium, and Spanish manufacturers, but I know very little about them except that they are expensive and some are really beautiful.
I'm probably looking for a large skillet (12-14"), a medium to large saute, and a small and medium saucepans. Probably have a preference for stainless steel exterior for easier cleanup, but not a requirement. Don't want copper though.
The "keepers" I already have are a Le Creuset 6.75 oval dutch oven, 9.5 round oven, and paella pan, a Lodge cast iron skillet, and my trusty old steel wok. I'm replacing an old set of cookware, but realize I don't need a full set, just a few good pieces to fill in some holes.
In the past year I have unloaded some of the old original Calphalon and Mag Pro cookware. The anodization was wearing off and one of my Calphalon saute pans was warped. I do not use metal spoons etc. when cooking. I have been picking up replacement pans at TJ Maxx and buying Cuisinart. They are nice pans and cook evenly. Bar Keeper's
Friend keeps them looking nice. Another thing I like about going back to a stainless pan is that you can see any residue in it that had remained after washing. In the anodized pans it was not noticeable. I like to be able to see that my pans are clean.
You want something with tubular steel handles, especially on the bigger pans. Sitram, Paderno Grand Gourmet, Demeyere, Bourgeat, Mauviel all make very nice stainless cookware that has big, comfortable handles. Demeyere tends to be more expensive and the highest end lines don't have comfortable handles, if you go with them I'd stick to the Apollo line. Check out these vendors: