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May 1, 2009 12:23 PM

CIA saute pan: yea or nay?

I just bought a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) 10" saute/frying pan for $50. It's 7-ply copper clad stainless steel. It was the only one left and unfortunately it has scratches all over which may be why it was $50 when it normally goes for $100. I'm fairly OCD so the scratches do bother me, but I still feel like I scored a rare bargain.

I'm debating whether or not I should keep it. I can't find many reviews online so I don't know how good this pan really is, and I am probably going to pick up the Kirkland stainless steel cookware set. The set includes a 10.25" frying pan, making the CIA redundant (is having two of these really such a bad thing?).

So do I keep this scratched up treasure, or does it go back?

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  1. Is it non-stick? The few that I've seen online are all non-stick. If so, I'd say it's not worth it. I just don't see the point in fancy expensive non-stick pans.

    Aside from that 7-ply sounds like they are gunning for a "wow" factor rather than a real work horse. It may be great, I don't know, but why have 7 sheets of metal when 3 do perfectly fine in other stainless steel pans (see: All Clad)? Oh and you do know that only one of those 7 layers is copper, right? In other words, there's more aluminum and stainless steel in that pan than there is copper, so why call it 7-ply copper? Oh, right, they are looking for attention, not focusing on quality. Again, I've never used it but I'd be willing to bet some serious $$$ that there are better pans out there.

    Send it back.

    5 Replies
    1. re: SQHD

      The only CIA pans I have seen were NOT non-stick. They have a good weight and seem to cook quite evenly. Having 2 10" skillets is not over kill or a bad thing. It can be handy. My only issue with the CIA pans is the rivets on the inside of the pan to hold the handle on and the handle design itself. I have the same issues with All-Clad handles too. The design is very uncomfortable for me to hold.

      1. re: Candy

        I don't think I mind the handle design, but what issue do you have with the rivets? With the way the handle is attached to the pan, I can see it being a pain to clean.

        1. re: CKN

          It is cleaning around the rivets. Crud builds up around them.

      2. re: SQHD

        It's not a non-stick. Despite being 7-ply, it does seem a bit thin when compared it to those thick copper-bottom pans (like the one from Kirkland). Still, it feels very solid and high quality.

        I'm sure that there are plenty of better pans out there, but for $50 I'm wondering if it will best the Kirkland pan.

        1. re: CKN

          Based on price and construction, I doubt there's really much copper in those Kirkland pans. The bottom is probably comprised mainly of aluminum. But stainless-steel pans with thick aluminum bottoms can be very good performers. I'm not familiar with the CIA pans, but I agree with SQHD that the 7-ply business sounds gimmicky. Again, these pans are probably mostly aluminum, with stainless on the inside and outside, so the important issue for me would be the overall thickness of the inner layer(s).

      3. seems like a good deal to me. I've seen them in Draegers and they look a lot like all clad.