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Le Creuset - Quelle Horreur!!!

Went into Williams Sonoma today and they have gone and changed our beloved LC. How dare they! It's been an icon for 50+ years. They made the handles larger, and changed the design of the rings on top -they are now flatter and wider. They also changed the knob and made the stem wider and the knob now has a wider, more rounded edge. Is it more functional? Yes! But it's not Le Creuset any more to me even though it's stamped as such on the lid. The handles and knob look like the Lodge Color line now. It looks cheap to me.

As if that's not bad enough the Kiwi is being discontinued and it was replaced at Williams Sonoma with yet another dreary color. Sur La Table is also getting another green called Fennel which might be the same green with their own name. It's a medium, grayed down tealish green called Ocean. Almost like an army green that shades to a blackened green. Someone should get LC's marketing head some antidepressants. First that pinky taupe called Truffle, and then Cassis which is a deep, drab, muddy purple and now this muddy green.

They also discontinued that gorgeous Azure blue and replaced it with Cobalt there. I think the Azure is livlier and prettier but to each their own. They also had some new pieces such as a smaller, round doufou (sp.?) oven, and some new pieces I think in their heritage line.

LC has always been known for their iconic design and their bright, happy colors and they seem to have gotten away from both. A moment of silence for our old, beloved LC.

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  1. That may explain why I've seen LC at Tues. Morning the 2 times I've been in over an approx. 6 month period. Maybe they've received ALL the "old" merchandise because they've been well stocked in 2 sizes - a large at about $50 (orig price 125) and a smaller one at maybe $30(?)... don't remember it's orig price.

    1 Reply
    1. re: blynk

      Thanks to the OP and for this thought, (re: Tuesday Morning).

      I'll be checking on getting some good deals on the good stuff!

      Gracias!

    2. I feel your pain, blondelle.

      Welcome to cookware Adulthood--stuff you know and like gets "obsoleted". After adulthood comes being called Anachronistic and scrounging to find the good old stuff. After that, they say, is Curmudgeonhood, where what you MUST use works best to remind you what used to please.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        the good news is that your old treasured pieces will last a lifetime of cooking.

        1. re: redgirl

          Yes, but one reason I bought them was because of their warranty, and if anything happens THIS is what it will be replaced with. Someone needs to tell someone high up at LC all about Coke Classic. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! LC is the top cast iron enameled line in the world. Why mess with perfection! What were they thinking?

      2. I also went into WS and was shocked to see the change. Also, honestly, I don't care for the new "ocean" color. The only nod to nautical feel with regard to the color could be the fact that it reminds one of becoming seasick :)

        Is LC changing all of their lines to match this new line? I thought that this new line was created just for WS and was perhaps simply a point of differentiation? Let's hope that's the case...

        34 Replies
        1. re: CookingwithMochi

          I just got off the phone with LC and was told that line was their Signature line and is confined to WS for the time being. I also found out that besides design changes there are other changes. The new knob can be used up to temperatures of 480 degrees. What bothers me though is being told the new interior enamel, which looks just like the sand color enamel in the original line, was made to be more abrasion and stain resistant. This means that they have developed a superior enamel but aren't using it in their regular collection. Basically they are saying that their standard collection which everyone has is sub par. Boo to you...LC!!!

          1. re: blondelle

            If true, that's pretty lowdown. But consistent with post-modern globalized biznesss, helmed by CEOs who are interested only in bonuses. I know nothing of LC and its management, but the lamentable histories of other iconic brands such as Eddie Bauer (sold to and ruined by Spiegel), Abercrombie & Fitch (originally fine sporting goods, believe it or not), and Cuisinart would indicate ever-lessening quality. This goes by the euphemism "brand maturation".

            So don't be surprised when you see your (grand)kids wearing Cambodian-made t-shirts with the LC logo on them, never to know that LC used to make cookware.

            1. re: blondelle

              It appears you are taking this a bit hard. It's marketing, it's what companies do when they have market saturation. Changing colors, changing shapes slightly, it gives you something "new" to buy. If you think you have the best there is, then why would you buy a new one? This way they can promote a product that is new and improved, whether it is or not, who will ever know if the interior enamel is really more abrasion and stain resistant? If they told you the new finish was available in their older "standard" collection, woudl you replace your old LC oven? Why? With all the made in China CRAP on the market for a fraction of the cost and even a lesser fraction of the quality, I'm sure the folks at LC had to come up with something to boost sales. Now you can buy a new shape in a new color with a new and improved enamel coating, it's somethig for them to sell.

              I'd be interested to know if the "new" knob is still plastic, if so, don't put it in the oven at 480°F and expect it's going to continue looking good for very long.

              1. re: mikie

                LOL, yes, I despair the trend toward hucksterism just for newness' sake. It's not bait-and-switch exactly, more like switch-and-leave-hanging.

                "NEW! IMPROVED! NOW WITH SUPERMAXOSHIELD!!!" is fine for fungibles/disposables like gasolene, clothes and laundry detergent, but it's the EXTENSION of such practices to venerable lines of durable, even heirloom goods that grates with me.

                What LC might be missing here (only time will tell) is that many folks will simply STOP BUYING LC if the new pieces don't fit into their existing collection/aesthetic/use. I know I have a few holes in my LC battery that I would still like to fill. If I can't do it in a compatible design/quality/finish, I might as well change to another brand altogether. LC must've thought of this, and have intentionally prioritized new-set sales over repeat business. For existing LC customers (more accurately, INVESTORS), that choice is shocking.

                My thoughts on the new enamel are: If it is better, LC should be using it in all their lines and simply say: "Here. We now have a new way to improve the state of the art, so we're going with it on all our products." People would at least respect that.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  As of this Christmas, I have both old and new, and to me they are not incompatible in any way. The brand new is very shiny, I think my old LC may be a bit embarrassed ;)

                  The knob appears to me to be some type of black plastic, and the interior enamel does appear to be superior so far.

                  W-S is the biggest retailer of LC, so I don't blame LC for being nice to them.

                  1. re: foiegras

                    What makes you feel that the new enamel is superior? I would be interested if you can also comment after you have used the new ones for a while as to how they compare in terms of cleaning and staining to their older line.

                    1. re: blondelle

                      The first thing I made was short ribs braised in Dublin Dr Pepper and molasses, which makes a big mess, and I was just amazed at how it released from the pan. I could also tell the difference as soon as I started browning the meat. Overall a huge difference from my old Le Creuset. We'll see how it goes, but my old LC isn't that old, I remember how it was at the beginning.

                      I still need to clean the lid--hopefully it has the same interior enamel as the base.

                      And btw, the bit about the tighter fit is true. I also prefer the new handles from a usability standpoint, esp. since my new DO is my largest to date.

                      Another thing to consider is that W-S could have specifically challenged them to improve these 4 points in an exclusive line ... the impetus to do it may not have been LC's.

                      My impression is that the Signature line is lighter weight, but I haven't seen any degradation in performance. The only performance difference comes from the tighter fit, which is an improvement--leads to less evaporation.

                      Or have the proportions always changed as size increases? My impression is based on comparison to what I already have, not on comparing the same item in different lines.

                      1. re: foiegras

                        Thanks for the review. That's interesting about the browning and release as they don't claim that as an improvement in their Signature line. They just claim improved resistance to staining and abrasion. I will have to check out the weights of these. Lighter is better for me.

                        1. re: blondelle

                          Well, to me it's all kind of wrapped up together ;) If the food releases better and the pan is easier to clean, that's part of the resistance to staining feature. The abrasion part is good because that means the finish I'm liking will last better.

                          Has anyone tried the official LC cleaner?

                    2. re: foiegras

                      Hi, foiegras:

                      It's a year+ later, but are your old and "new" LC the same color? This would probably be a deal-killer for me.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        I have each piece in a different color, so I don't know, I'm sorry. I would certainly expect the color consistency to be the same as always ...

                        1. re: foiegras

                          Hi, foiegras:

                          Hey, "rainbow" works. I can see now why color discontinuation/incompatibility wouldn't be a problem for you. Do you find you gravitate to preparing certain dishes or types in certain colors? Do you subscribe to the "looks good with ______" theory?

                          Best,
                          Kaleo

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Not really ;) I mentioned on another thread my extensive collection of vintage kitchenalia. That means that I'm a minimalist when it comes to new stuff. I really needed this addition because my previous pieces were too small to do everything I wanted to do. I have more sets of dinnerware than I have pots and pans, and I definitely think about how the food looks with what it will be served on.

                  2. re: mikie

                    The new and improved mentality doesn't apply to something they are touting is supposed to last for generations. They can't have it both ways! They can't say invest in LC as it lasts a lifetime, and then bring out new and improved cookware, thus obsoleting the original. The new LC has LC stamped on the lid but it's some bastardization of LC and it looks cheap. They copied Lodge and Staub's handles and the new knob, while nice in the hand is ugly. I was just as upset when I saw the new all-Clad d5. People don't like their icons messed with!

                    Someone should remind them what happened when Coke tried to change. People don't like their icons and classics messed with.

                    Even though this might be better, I agree it doesn't mix with pieces you already have and I don't care for the look of it. They should quietly change the new production of their original line to the new enamel.

                    1. re: blondelle

                      Since you've been in touch with LC, have you asked, and have they answered, where the new line is being made? I doubt our friends at W-S would tell you, even if they know.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        If the product is imported, the retailer is by law required to identify the country of origin(based on current labeling laws which can complicate actual country of origin). So 1) it should be on the product itself and 2) the retailer shouldn't have an issue informing you if queried

                        That said, while i haven't seen this new line myself, I can't imagine these are made anywhere but France unless the price has also substantially dropped. Forget about shape and color, if LC moved their production out of France that would truly be shooting themselves in the foot. That is really their big differentiator - hand cast in France - compared to most other enameled cast iron on the market.

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          It's made in France. That fact is in embossed letters now on the inside lid.

                          1. re: blondelle

                            Is it the Heritage line you're talking about, Blondelle?

                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                            1. re: Jay F

                              It's not the heritage line. It's actually another line of redesigned LC pieces and a new color called "ocean." It's not on the WS website yet....

                            2. re: blondelle

                              blondelle & ziggylu:

                              Pardon my cynicism, but given the laws of France and USA, would it not be possible to legally label, disclose, etc. "Made in France" if the KNOB were made there and the rest in the PRC or Cambodia? Certainly there is no punishment for founders in Asia putting "Made in France" in their castings. Or are we to believe everything we read?

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Well, there are rules for made in the USA at least and from what I"ve looked at recently, I'm a big time made in China detractor, things seem to be labeled correctly. Kitchen Aid now states on the box assembeled in Ohio, USA. To be made in the USA and labeled as such, 70% of the cost of manufacture must take place in the USA, assembeled in the USA requires more than screwdriver assembly, the final transformation of the product has to happen in the US. I honestly don't know about France, but in general the EU is way more protectionest than the US is.

                                As far as changing iconic products is concerned, be darn glad they didn't move production to China, leave the price the same, and provide no customer service. That's what has happened to American power tools among other things. I honestly would have a lot of reservations cooking in an enameled DO that was made in China.

                                With regard to the changes LC made, If it's a metal knob it's an improvement in my book, I could never understand the plastic knob for something that's supposed to go in the oven. I don't know why they wouldn't put the new finish on the old design pots, unless it wouldn't match previous stock, or they want to give the impression they have an upscale line. The other design differences I'm sure are just marketing, just like Ford or Chevy offering more than one model. It sounds like you can still buy items like you already have, just not at WS.

                                And BTW Williams Samoma is one of the few companies that provide the place of manufacture on their web site, just click on the second tab in the product description. You'll find out Cuisenart is made in China, no cover up.

                                1. re: mikie

                                  "I honestly would have a lot of reservations cooking in an enameled DO that was made in China."

                                  Me too.

                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                    A little lead or mercury isn't too bad for us seniors is it?

                                    China isn't the only place to be wary of.

                                    Enameled and glazed cookware, cups, and plates from Mexico and Central America have been pulled off the shelves a lot. Some Spanish dishes apparently weren't fired correctly and got pulled where I lived a few years ago.

                                  2. re: mikie

                                    Does any CH in France know if everything on these is actually made in France?

                                    I'm with mikie--I'm not buying Chinese-made ANYTHING until the trading field is levelled.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      Based on labeling laws there is no gurantee every single component used to produce a LC dutch oven is made in France. If you call the company they might tell you but even customer service may not have information on every input used for the enamel, etc. The only thing i would suspect might be sourced as a finished product from an alternative vendor is the knob. Having been involved in development of private label cookware for the companies i mentioned above I would not be surprised if the knob is from Asia. Because it adds so little value to the item as a raw material, the labeling is legal as Made in France.

                                      Keep in mind when something is labeled made in USA there is no guarantee that means it is 100% US made. All-Clad may make thier pots and pans(Not lids) in the US. They may even source their steel here in the us...but the raw materials for that steel? Likely mined elsewhere. Where are you going to draw the line?

                                      As for Chinese enameled cast iron, I'd recommend avoiding it so don't disagree there. Terrible quality when it comes to chipping.

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        It's not just about trade imbalances. Product safety is a real issue.

                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                      Unless that's a REALLY expensive knob it's not likely. As Mike notes Country of Origin labeling is based on value of components(including labor). What IS probable is that the knob is made in China and the DO cast in France.

                                      Having worked as a buyer for two very large retailers who do a lot of international sourcing (IKEA and Costco) I would trust both W-S and LC to be honest in their labeling and marketing.

                                2. re: blondelle

                                  Well there's Classic Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free, Caffeine-Free Diet, Cherry Coke, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke Zero, Coca Cola with Lime, Coca Cola with Raspberry, Coca Cola C2, Coca Cola Black Cherry Vanilla, Vanilla Coke, Coca Cola Light, Coca Cola Blak....etc.

                                3. re: mikie

                                  I agree with this. When your market niche becomes saturated with other companies rushing in to put out their version of your iconic product, you have to start making new lines and updates. Especially when what you make lasts a long time.

                                  It was every car other company making multiple car lines of their own SUV designs during the SUV craze, that finally killed off the classic boxy Jeep Cherokee.

                                  Enamel coated cast iron is popular now, and everyone from Rachel Ray to Wal-mart has cheaper product lines competing with LC & Lodge now.

                                  Improving the quality of their materials is a good way for LC to stay competitive.

                                4. re: blondelle

                                  "This means that they have developed a superior enamel but aren't using it in their regular collection. Basically they are saying that their standard collection which everyone has is sub par. Boo to you...LC!!!"

                                  ^^^This was my exact first thought when I read your reply! So they're admitting that their old line was sub par in terms of the enamel if the new version if stain resistant and finish. I hated the way my old Le Creuset stained with use (not abuse) and became less and less no stick over time. This is why I switched to Staub, they use a different kind of enamel that is porous and made to get better with use, also Staub has a tighter fitting lid and staining is not an issue since it's a dark interior. This is also my experience after 2 years of owning many different pieces with lots of use. No wonder Williams Sonoma started pushing Staub this Fall. It's a great product that doesn't need an upgrade unlike Le Creuset.

                                  I agree BOO to you Le Creuset!!!!!

                                  1. re: beauxgoris

                                    They are going to start using the new enamel in their standard line they said. The Staub enamel has been upgraded too. It's now advertised as containing quartz which it didn't before. Not sure when they made that change. I have a Staub coq au vin sitting in my kitchen that is to be a gift, but I just can't get into the weight and dark interior for myself. It's gorgeous, but so ornate and formal I feel I need a crystal chandelier in my kitchen and a butler to go with it. Can't see making pork and beans in it...LOL! Looks more like a showpiece than a cooking tool.

                                    1. re: blondelle

                                      You should give it a shot - really! It's too great a piece of cookware not to be used. My Staub's are for soups, stews, gumbo and pot roasts or roast chickens. They sear beautifully and they cook gently with a super tight seal plus the spikes that allow for basting. Simply amazing. Don't let that gorgeous cookware go to waste, put it though it's paces! ; )

                                      1. re: beauxgoris

                                        Hi, beauxgoris:

                                        You roast in enameled cast iron? Do you do integral sauces?

                                        Kaleo

                                      2. re: blondelle

                                        I have 6 pieces of Staub and never thought if them
                                        As formal appearing. I live the glaze and like to
                                        Just look atvit. I had friends who were
                                        Potters back in college and while all tried to pull
                                        Off that glaze-- not many did. It is do day to day
                                        Practical with such ease in cleaning I use it several times a
                                        Week. Yes I still do use my LC but. I think
                                        Of the cleanup as I am cooking and watch the heat
                                        Like a fiend so I am not into cleanup 4hrs
                                        I use both I saw the WS line and while I like
                                        The Ocean as green us my fav color I do not care
                                        For the new style and these new colors will go
                                        Away and in 10 yrs. Be unavailable so I am
                                        Moving to a classic color as I buy now(red)
                                        I do feel your pain though
                                        Gulfcoastgal

                                5. blondelle, I haven't seen the new LC yet in person, but I found this picture from Japan's Yahoo Auction. Did the ones you saw look like this?

                                   
                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: akehost

                                    Yuck - that thing looks like Yoda.

                                    1. re: akehost

                                      "Hey, someone get Big Ears out of the cabinet and stick him on the stovetop."

                                      1. re: akehost

                                        No, it doesn't look like that thankfully. The handles are similar to Staub but without a logo on them. The lids are the same except the small raised, rounded rings are now flat and about 1/4" wide. The handle looks more like Lodge colors plastic knob. It's more functional and easier to hold, but it looks cheap to me and it's ugly. Looks more like the Lodge colors handle. It's still black plastic but can go up to 480 degrees in the oven.

                                        People buying LC want the classic that has endured all these years! People want their LC to LOOK like LC!!! I think they just should have left it alone and cast the old knobs in this new plastic, and quietly upgraded the enamel. Collectors might not buy this as it won't match their other pieces, and new buyers might not buy it thinking it's a temporary design and might get discontinued. Bad move for LC, as well as their FOURTH new dreary color, counting their Slate color. The blue WS replaced their gorgeous Azure with is Cobalt, but it doesn't seem to have the shading of the other Cobalt everyone sells.

                                        1. re: blondelle

                                          'Looks more like the Lodge colors handle. It's still black plastic but can go up to 480 degrees in the oven. '

                                          I've worked as an engineer in the plastics industry for over 35 years with plastic material manufacturers, always in the area of high temperature plastics. The companies I have worked for have sold to the appliance industry, automotive industry, and others and there is no reasonably priced plastic material (under about $10 a lb.) that will withstand 480 degrees without suffering ill effects. This price point makes a metal knob a much better economic deal. Don't be fooled by this marketing ploy, you'll be disappointed.

                                      2. So I can still buy Original Recipe Le Creuset at retailers other than Williams-Sonoma? Thanks for that at least - I'll keep looking. I too, was shocked and disappointed to see the new Signature line when I went into W-S yesterday to buy a birthday present for a friend. I wanted to get her a 6 3/4 quart oval in azure, like the one I have that I know she wants. Imagine my surprise. Aaaarrrgghh!

                                        "As far as changing iconic products is concerned, be darn glad they didn't move production to China, leave the price the same, and provide no customer service."
                                        Amen. That's what happened to Dr. Martens, and I may never get over it. I wore their boots happily for thirty years, and now I not only can't wear their overpriced ill-fitting substandard Chinese-made boots, but I've never found a really satisfactory replacement boot. Sigh.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                          They discontinued the Azure blue which is gorgeous. You should be able to get a deal deal on it now in the outlets as someone said it was there already.

                                        2. This all sounds like a lot of whining to me, to be perfectly honest :)

                                          Seriously, kidding aside -- there HAVE been changes to LC over the years, and I have a hunch that you might not be old enough to remember them. I absolutely have styles and pieces by LC that are no longer made or made in the same way. Some of these posters are accusing them of suddenly changing something "iconic" for the first time, and well -- that is just not true. I have small sauce pans in flame with handles that you never see anymore. I don't even see these saucepans anymore. I have skillets with wood on their handles. I even have some small odd pieces in different colors meant for gratins or similar pieces that my mom had, and I have never seen these handles or pieces in a store in many years. Flame seems to be the only color that they have produced consistently over the years, but I have read that red will also be produced. I have many colors, and cook in them -- nearly all of my 20 or so pieces are in regular use. Not every meal, but many meals. I bought a few Staub pieces because of the superior knobs on their lids, and I do also have some cheaper "made in China" stuff that works nearly as well -- IF it is made well enough to sit flat on my glass cooktop. This is a known problem with the QVC stuff my mother purchased in her older age.

                                          Nope, I think if you can see the line and how it has changed over 40 years, it may surprise you that what you know to be classic LC is not the first generation of the stuff.

                                          As for the new colors, I agree that some of them are absolutely putrid, and I wouldn't like to display them. Howeveer, for everyone who hates gray and loves flame, someone feels the opposite way because taste is very personal. I have noticed that WS changes their signature colors quite often. Remember that Carribean blue color? Gone as quickly as it came.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: RGC1982

                                            Yes, LC has changed over the years, but the only dramatic changes I remember in their ovens is from what they are now calling their vintage line. I had some of the wood handled saucepans and frypans but the ovens were basically the same then as they are now. There were subtle changes over the years but none as drastic as this to their core, classic line. Forgetting their beginning designs, the line they are selling now has been that way for a good number of years. Long enough to be called their iconic design. There were some offshoots such as the Raymond Loewy line for LC, but I'm not counting that as it was a separate line.

                                            Yes, taste in color is subjective, but LC has been known all these years for their bright, happy colors, and the new ones are all grayed, down dreary colors. The Azure and Kiwi are being discontinued but I was told that the Caribbean is not, as it's very popular. Where did you hear that color was being discontinued?

                                            In a few months Sur La Table will be getting a new green exclusive to them that is brighter, and sort of a shaded grass green. It won't be the old Jade which was pretty, but the stoneware pieces in the Jade were an even a prettier green.

                                            1. re: blondelle

                                              My local cookware store sold all of its Caribbean Blue a couple of months ago. I don't remember if I asked or simply assumed it, but I've since thought of it as a discontinued color (though I see it everywhere online).

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                Thanks Jay. I just realized the Citron is also gone from WS. It was exclusive to them so that's discontinued too unless they bring it back if the Signature line doesn't sell. It was so pretty. Since the Azure and Citron were exclusive to WS they are probably in the WS outlet stores. Now is a great time to get those pretty colors at a great price!

                                          2. [quote]The handles and knob look like the Lodge Color line now. It looks cheap to me.[/quote]

                                            It is an enameled cast iron pot - there is nothing expensive about the materials, which is why lodge has been able to essentially replicate the Le Creuset (among others) for lesser cost. Cast iron and porcelain are about as cheap as it gets really. French labor, however, good quality control and good warranties are NOT cheap. Many aren't quite as good, but the lodge is about 95-97% as good. IMO enameled cast iron will always look cheap, just as a french peasant knife should look cheap - the best examples will still fetch a price though.

                                            I agree about the colors though :O scour TJX stores and sales/clearances everywhere for the older style pieces

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: DukeOfSuffolk

                                              Certinly cast iron is cheep in China, where Lodge and "others" have their enameled cast iron made. Lodge is not as bad as the others, but the quality of the enamel is really not compariable to LC or Staub, not just my opinion, but the opinion of someone that sells more than one brand of enameled cast iron. All the China stuff, according to the store owner, chips easily, Lodge is better than the others, but not as good as the French brands. And she wasn't just trying to sell me something, we were talking about where all sorts of items were made and the quality of those items. If you can't make it cheep in China, then you just don't have a prayer. None of the made in China stuff I've looked at is as well built as either of the two French ovens.

                                              1. re: mikie

                                                Yes, quality control is certainly in the favor of the LC/Staub elites, as are warranty coverage most likely, with chipping. I'd certainly take care to use bamboo/wooden instruments and the like. That said many of the elites do chip - not sure if lodge color chips more often or not, would be interesting to look into.

                                                Iron prices are probably fairly steady worldwide, not about to check NYMEX but I'd think so?

                                                As for lead content, this amazon usr left a note about that, apparently Lodge emailed him or her tests for lead content that they subjected their pots to:

                                                http://www.amazon.com/review/R12093BB...

                                                good to know, especially if it might chip!!

                                                1. re: DukeOfSuffolk

                                                  Am I to understand that the LC casserole I want to get from Chef's catalogue (or elsewhere) is different from the model that gave LC its culinary reputation? Please tell me this is not the case.

                                                  1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                                    It's not the case. The new line I mentioned is their Signature line and for now it's exclusive to Williams Sonoma. Any LC you get elsewhere will be as it was.

                                                    1. re: blondelle

                                                      Here it is. Blondelle, you described the new Ocean color perfectly.

                                                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/c...

                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                        They just put up a photo of the Ocean on home page. Food looks disgusting in it. All they have now is this color, their own Cobalt with no shading, the Red, and the Flame. All the pretty colors like Citron, Lemongrass and Azure are gone!

                                                        Now they are saying the lid also fits better, but no mention of the upgraded enamel. In the store a display mentions the new enamel. All they are doing is pointing out what was wrong with the original line, but what do they care as they aren't selling it any more. What do you guys think of this wonderful color?

                                                        http://www.williams-sonoma.com/

                                                        The older LC line isn't in the WS outlet. Maybe they are holding it in their basement in case this stuff doesn't sell...LOL!

                                                      2. re: blondelle

                                                        That's a relief to hear. Thanks.

                                                        1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                                          Le Creuset's signature line is not replacing their long standing traditional cookware. that is a HUGE misconception. Another poster hit the nail on the head when they spoke of the needs for EVERY company in ANY industry to always bring new and improved products to the table. A company like Le Creuset that has been making their cookware since 1925 need to bring something new to the table IN ADDITION to the already great product that has been on the market already. another huge misconception is the thought that if you file a warranty claim the cookware you will get back as a replacement will be the signature line and not the piece you currently own and purchased in years past. and YES the new signature line is made in France. where are you folks getting your informaton from?

                                                          1. re: OrganizedNoise

                                                            The problem with what LC is doing is that they are pointing out all the problems with their main line. That's a risky strategy. They can't expect someone to sell their pieces that are supposed to last a lifetime to buy this, and it creates resentment in people that already have their original line. They are basically admitting our enamel wasn't as good as it could be, our lids didn't fit well, our handles weren't that functional, and our knobs melted too easily.

                                                            That doesn't exactly make me want to buy any more of their 'old' line and their new line won't match my existing pieces, and I don't like the colors except Red, and I'm basically pissed off!

                                                            Yes, I know all about progress, but if the line was good enough for generations before me and it's good enough for me. At least it was, until LC pointed out exactly what is wrong with it!

                                                            1. re: blondelle

                                                              If LC has improved enamel, why aren't they using it in the traditional models and leave the original design intact?

                                                              I really do not like the look of the handles on the new models. At least with the looped handles, you can feel that you have a hold on the handles when you are using mitts or a dishcloth to lift up a hot, heavy casserole.

                                                              1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                                                I don't like the look of the handles either. They just look thin and flimsy to me - I had a cast iron bottle opener that looked like those handles that broke after a year of use. I realize this is sort of irrational, but I would be nervous trusting those thin little handles to hold up a hot, heavy pot.

                                                              2. re: blondelle

                                                                All-Clad introduced a new line of SS sold exclusively through W-S called d5 which has 5 layers of stainless steel and aluminum sandwich (SS-Al-SS-Al-SS). It's suppose to be new and improved over their regular 3 layer (SS-Al-SS). Does this make you upset? Does this make the older line obsolete? At least W-S is still selling their traditional LC under the "Classic" banner. You can't buy older All-Clad from W-S anymore, not that I would in the 1st place considering their outrageous pricing.

                                                                1. re: pabboy

                                                                  Yes, that did upset me as I thought the original line was being discontinued and I didn't like the look of the d5. It looks unbalanced and the design was ruined by the larger handles. I'm a designer and it's not as good of a design as the original. It chooses function over form. My WS has none of the original LC and they seem to have recently taken it off the site.

                                                                  Companies should learn to leave their iconic designs alone, and just upgrade the materials as new ones improve.

                                                                  1. re: blondelle

                                                                    The WS I was in last Tuesday had a lot of the older LC, but it was on sale, today there were two pieces left. I'd say the fans of the standard LC are snatching it off the shelves as quickly as possible. I didn't think the sale was that good, but it's almost all gone. I have to agree with you, the new blue color looks institutional and clashes with the orange jump suits.

                                                                    1. re: blondelle

                                                                      But no one is forcing you to buy from W-S. Everyone but W-S is selling the classic iconic LC enameled cast iron pots.

                                                                      1. re: pabboy

                                                                        those in search of the classic Le Creuset style as opposed to the new signature line should definatley shop the LC outlets.

                                                                        1. re: OrganizedNoise

                                                                          Shortly before moving out from the US, I snatched 6.75 qt Wide Round for $139 at LC outlet last month when they had (and still have) a sale on Sonoma Green and Navy blue!! I know I was not supposed to buy anything as I had enough cookware to ship, including other 4 LC DOs, but I couldn't resist and I had a full container to ship things anyway, so one more LC didn't hurt :)

                                                                          I have recently not seen such a good deal on this particular shape, 6.75 Wide Round, for 1st quality. Even for 2nd quality, the best price I could find was at least around $170!

                                                                          They dropped the price for the 1st quality just because the colors were discontinued. Crazy! Needless to say, I love sonoma green so much better than whatever they call it ocean!

                                                                          I am so happy and I personally welcome their experiments for colors and new models/products as far as it provides deals to buy authentic/traditional/1st quality for such a good price!! I love those deals but I would say I have enough LC now. the wide round was the only piece missing to me, so now i am really done with my LC collection:) No signature lines!

                                                                          As Mikie mentioned about LC sale at WS outlets, my friend also checked WS outlet past two weeks and she found the sale almost nothing... compared to the navy blue 7.25qt round 1st quality which she got at LC outlet. She said they also had 1st quality enamel black on sale ( a bit higher price than sonoma green and navy though.), too.

                                                                  2. re: blondelle

                                                                    I don't read those claims about the virtues of the Signature line as implying defects in the classic one. Basically, it's the same "new and improved!!" marketing technique that virtually all manufacturers use to get consumers to pay attention and, perhaps, buy stuff they might not otherwise believe they need, and we should always take it with a grain of salt (to use a culinary metaphor). The old stuff is just as good as it ever was--which is to say, quite good enough for me. With due respect for Le Creuset's ... er ... integrity, it's a business like any other, and isn't immune to the temptation of trying to make a buck. As others have pointed out, LC has offered many design variants over the years, some of them very beautiful (e.g., the Raymond Loewy pieces of the 1950's). My guess is that this is a trial balloon: if the new design sells well at W-S, it may be more widely distributed; if not, we'll be seeing the Signature Line alongside the "seconde choix" pieces at TJ Maxx.

                                                                    By the way, I agree that the appearance of the new line is altogether unappealing. Especially those big handles, which are just plain goofy-looking.

                                                    2. Direct from the W-S catalog I received in the mail today:

                                                      "Engineered for slower cooking methods such as simmering, stewing and braising, the pieces in our new Le Creuset Signature collection feature a reformulated smooth sand-colored enamel interior that offers 40% more resistance to thermal shock as well as significantly increase resistance to corrosion and staining. The light sand color makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks for perfect browning without overcooking, and the hard, durable enamel is much easier to clean. The lids' redesigned ergonomic composite knobs withstand oven temperatures up to 480°F, and 45% larger handles make Signature cookware easy to transfer from the kitchen to the dining table. These covered ovens, saucepans, and sauté pans provide a more secure fit between the pot and lid that locks in moisture, ensuring tender, succulent results. Dishwasher safe. Please specify Ocean, Red, Cobalt Blue or Flame."

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: pabboy

                                                        I called W-S today to see whether they had any Lemongrass left (they did not), because I didn't really like the gradient Kiwi ovens I saw at the outlet store today. So while we were talking, she started telling me about the new Signature Line. She said the Ocean color looks better in person than online, but that she really likes the new handles. Like me, she didn't have a problem with lids fitting, or the enameling, but those new handles, well, she was really talking those up.

                                                        I'm going to go in and see them sometime this week.

                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                          Jay, the Ocean looks exactly the same as on their new catalog cover. I think it will be great for someone on a diet as food looks dreadful in it. There have been colors I've loved over the years, as well as those I thought were OK, but this one I'm sorry to say I really detest! I don't know how they could replace two pretty greens such as the Lemongrass and Sonoma green with THIS!!! I hope the Fennel coming out at Sur La Table in a few months is prettier. Should be, as it's a brighter green. The new Staub Pesto though is such a bright, aggressive, lime-y grass green. Pretty in a smaller size, or on a grill or skillet where it's in a small area, but overwhelming I feel in a larger piece.

                                                          1. re: blondelle

                                                            "I think it will be great for someone on a diet as food looks dreadful in it."

                                                            All I've been able to think about since that catalog arrived is the food inside that pot. Not that I think the color is attractive, but as it's cooling off outside, that pot full of meat and veggies looks really good. I agree, it doesn't look any better in person than on the catalog. I have to wonder what Ocean they were looking at when they picked that name. More appropriate might have been "North Sea". Hopefully they will come out with some new colors you like soon.