Just Married, Purchasing New Cookware - Le Creuset & All-Clad
My wife and I recently married this past June and we are slowly moving into our new house. I love to cook and enjoy being in the kitchen. I currently own a small Le Creuset set that includes: (9 inch skillet, small 2Q oven, small sauce 1.5Q sauce pot, and a 6Q stock pot).
With this we have some old pieces of teflon coated stuff that just isn't fit to use. The Teflon is pealing off and it needs to find its way to the junkyard soon.
We were thinking about adding the following:
All-Clad (Stainless) - Non stock Skillet 8 or 10 inch (for eggs/omelets)
All-Clad (Stainless) - Saute Pan w/ Lid 6Q
All-Clad (Stainless) - Saucier 5.5Q w/ lid
All-Clad (Stainless) - Saucier 3Q w/ lid (or a second 5.5Q)
Le Creuset 11.75 Round or oval Skillet
Le Creuset 7.25Q Round Oven
Does this seem like a decent path? Would you make any changes? We want to buy stuff that will last and that we enjoy to use. I should note that where we live, we use a glasstop electric stove. We have no access to natural gas, at least right now.
I would get a inexpensive non-stick aluminum skillet that states that it was coated with the CeramiGuard or Excalibur process. Buy these at a restaurant supply house.
I would get a 10- and a 12" All-Clad skillet if your finances permit. I love my AC sauciers and sauté, so I agree with those decisions.
Black steel pans are a favorite of mine, but they are a acquired taste. If you decide to try them, invest in the pans with the cast handles instead of those with stamped handles. They cost a few dollars more but they are stiffer and stay cooler.
congrats to you and your bride
consider some cast iron frying pans (not enameled) to replace your teflon and season it. Think of it as a bonding experience. Are you sure you need a 6-quart saute? 4 qt should be plenty. If you plan to make much stock, invest in an aluminum stock pot; 16 quart should do it.
Looks like deluxe stuff. You might want to reconsider stainless for fry and saute pans though. They get little, tough, grown spots on the inner sides that take sandpaper to get off. Clad saucepans are fine, though.
Unless you just like the exterior looks, no reason at all to get a non-stick All-Clad. The interior is lined, so aluminum will give equal (or IMO better) results.
Just a few thoughts that may be counter to the other comments:
First, here is strong position against aluminium
"If you have aluminium cookware, please discard it, and never use foil. Dr Arthur Furman" from a blog at http://www.arabidopsis2007.com/2008/0...
Stainless steel selections usually fit my taste but I would say look at the alternatives. All Clad is aluminium clad. There are good products that use copper clad and even some 5 ply pieces that use both copper and aluminum. Many of these options are available from online retailers at prices quite a bit below those of major retailers.
I agree with the selection of having at least one good cast iron frying pan. There some applications where they can not be beat. However, for many situations that enamel coated stainless works just as well but is much easier to clean and requires a lot less maintenance.
Evaluate the trade off of a stock pot versus a larger sauce pan. While eventually you may need both, pick the one to get now based upon the cooking you anticipate doing.
While a may be biased against All Clad and Le Crueset as an expensive alternative (I do not carry them in my store), these are great products. As for the aluminium, remember that nearly all commercial chefs use aluminium pot and pans (stainless and copper options are much too expensive for the volume they need to deal with). So get the best you can afford now -- add when you can and need to. As a last idea, get at least one good copper saucier for sauces and candies. The heat control of copper can not be beat.
Your Smart Kitchen
Many famous chefs love Bourgeat, but they are also the most expensive. $300+ for a single pan in beyond my means, so I bought a single Mauviel saucier at a restaurant auction a few years back for $40.00.
It is very nice pan, but proper heat management will produce the same results with All-Clad or Sitram.
All Clad is not aluminum clad. It is stainless inside and out with an aluminum core to help with heat conductivity. I would not put the money in to All Clad non-stick. It will wear out and have to be pitched eventually. For non-stick get Swiss Diamond. Lifetime warranty and you can use metal in it.
"It is stainless inside and out with an aluminum core to help with heat conductivity"
That's only true for the All Clad Stainless line. MC2 and LTD have a thick aluminum outer layer, with a stainless interior. That's an important difference to anyone who wants to wash their pots in the dishwasher or who have an magnetic induction stovetop. Those folks should only buy the Stainless products.
For the OP, I chose to sink money into All Clad's non-nonstick pans. If I wanted nonstick, I'd do like Kelli2006 said and go to my restaurant supply house and buy a good commercial brand like Vollrath, which is much less expensive. As they scratch, just replace and you won't throw a fit when you have to.
I'd just suggest that you look into Sitram as an All-Clad alternative. I don't know how the prices compare, but I've been very happy w/ Sitram for more than 15 years now (the line w/ the copper core at the bottom). I do like LC, and for non stick would suggest you look into Swiss Diamond, for heavy duty, long lasting "non stick".
Newlyweds tend to have gift certificates from the most popular stores, and from the looks of it, you are probably shopping at William Sonoma. Go for it. If you have little experience with great cookware, these are the standard bearers in the U.S.
I would suggest the following changes:
1- You probably don't need to spring for an All Clad non-stick. Non-stick pans only least a few years, and the price of the All Clad seems a bit much considering that. Consider Circulon or T-fal for your non-stick pans. I find Calphalon pans hit-and-miss in terms of flat bottoms that lie perfectly on my smoothtop, so I would avoid those for skillets.
2- I don't know if I would purchase an oval skillet. You might be better off adding the square LC grill pan to the mix instead.
3 -- Consider a plain cast iron fry pan in 12 inches. You will never regret it and it will work great on your cooktop.
While I am a fan of Demeyere, Sitram, and Paderno, (and I like them better than my All Clad pieces for some uses), you can't go wrong with your selections. I also own quite a few LC pieces, and use them all the time. Enjoy them.
I have a 6 QT All Clad saute pan and you should be aware that it is a massive pan. Unless you have a large range with a lot of extra space between the burners, you'll have a hard time fitting other pans on the range while you're using the 6 QT. The 4 QT is big enough for most uses. I rarely use the 6 QT.
All non-stick eventually settles into the condition that your current non-stick is in. So I'd reconsider the All-Clad choice and go for something cheaper that will make you less sad to replace when the inevitable inevits.
I'm jumping with joy every time I use my 10" Cuisinart non-stick pan. It has the advantage of being the cheapest I could find with a clearly oven-safe handle. At roughly $25 at BB&B before the standard 20% off coupon I can run through five or six of them for the same price as a single All-Clad.
A better choice, and a VERY useful pan is their 4 qt. braiser. About 13" in diameter, this is a little larger than the 12" skillet, and a bit deeper. Great of course for braising, but also sauteing, frying, roasting, and baking. It's easier to put in the oven and store without the long handle, and it makes a beautiful serving piece on the table.
It's a more manageable size and does about everything the 6 qt. saute does. Also look at their French Braiser, exclusive to Williams Sonoma. It's 6 qts too, with 2 loop handles, and 12" in diameter with higher sides than the 6 qt. saute. Comes with a round rack on the bottom for roasting. Also very useful.
Both of these also have domed lids, which give you the option to cook taller foods, which the 6 qt. saute doesn't give you.