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Apr 11, 2011 04:47 PM

Starting Copper Collection - Falk vs. Bourgeat

So, my cheapy copper pan has really whetted my appetite for more copper - I think this might be a common occurrence from reading through past threads on the subject. I'm thinking about being a little insane and selling my All Clad collection (not that big!) and moving to copper.

I'm considering Falk and Bourgeat because they both offer rolled rims. Aesthetically I think I prefer the shiny exterior but I could look past it if Falk seems better overall.

I'm considering:

1) An 11 in saute in Falk or an 11 in braiser in Bourgeat. Thoughts on which is preferable? It's either two short handles or one long and one short.

2) Saucier(s). First off, is a Bourgeat Flared Sauce Pan the same construction as the Falk Saucier?

I'd like a saucier or two but I'm not positive which size would be best. I've got a 3 qt saucier from All Clad that I really like but I feel like a larger one could be helpful as well as a smaller. I'd like something for sauces/reductions.

3) Saucepan (?) I'd like a smaller sauce pan but I'm not sure whether or not it'd be worthwhile or just better to get a saucier instead. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

I'm contemplating this set from Bourgeat with a braiser, flared saute, sauce and casserole -

The other option would be a saute and possibly two sauciers and/or a saute from Falk.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Falk. Period. Just kidding. They are all great cookware! It seems to me some of the Bourgeat handles seem to be higher than I want but that is because many times I am putting the cookware into my oven. Just my observation. I have Falk and Mauviel (sp?) and they both cook well. Get the one you like and get to cooking!

    3 Replies
    1. re: SpringRam

      I'm actually having a hard time telling about sizes and shapes of the pieces (including handles and their placement). It's annoying that Bourgeat and Falk both seem to have stock photos online. When I'm looking at the Falk site and they've got the same photo for all of their sauciers then it seems something is wrong! That's really not too informative!

      Anywho. How do you feel about Falk vs. Mauviel? Which pieces in your collection are your favorites?

      1. re: olympia

        I suppose if you want to display your cookware then the Faulk is less upkeep. I do not attempt to keep them polished. I also do not clean the bottom of the tires on my car. They are tools to get where I want to be. Both Mauviel and Falk are super. Falk makes the basic copper/ SS for Mauveil. I think we all get too bogged down in the brands. As long as you are getting the 2.5 mm copper stuff with cast iron handles, you are cooking with the best new stuff there is. I do not want to hear from you tin guys. The difference is almost zero.

        1. re: SpringRam

          To me, the differences between Mauviel and Falk are the rolled rims and the polished vs. brushed exteriors. I guess I feel that the rolled rims would be worth going with Falk or Bourgeat for me.

          I'm definitely not going to be displaying or polishing them. I'm more into them as tools. I am annoyed that there are not accurate images of all of them to be found online. If I'm spending $$$$ (to me anyway) then I want to see exactly what it is that I'm buying - including the lids, thank you very much!

    2. Hi, olympia:

      I'm glad your foray convinced you.

      With respect, if you do not buy yourself a set of 4 of Peter's 3mm saucepans (with lids, $340), you will be missing out on a deal that will never come again. Did I mention that these pans look virtually identical to an old Bourgeat 3mm pan I picked up in France (also with no mark)? Who knows if they are/aren't Bourgeat? If they're not, and they're functionally identical, who cares?

      You should also check out Mazzetti, although brass handles come with their silver linings.

      Personally, I think rolled rims are not a huge (and certainly not a deciding) advantage. Remember that, from a maker's standpoint, they do that mostly to impart a greater rigidity to the pan. In some circles, it telegraphs insecurity about how a pan will hold up to history.


      7 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        What if we only had the original parameters to work within - SS lined with doubt telegraphing rolled rims?

        I feel like I can't sign on to deal with tin forever or at least my little slice of history.

        1. re: olympia

          I have owned and cooked with SS lined Bourgeat, and they performed great. I bought a set mostly out of curiosity to see how the SS lined stuff performs. I would say it is virtually identical to tin lined, about 95% as responsive. I would liken the difference to that of a Porsche and a Ferrari, the former being a bit more practical and reliable between to relatively impractical high-performing pieces of art. But the latter is undeniably a bit prettier and more stylish. Both scream down the highway.

          I can't comment on Falk as I have never cooked with one. But the construction and styling seems nearly identical. I do recall the Bourgeat pans had handles raised significantly high, which could make it challenging to put one in the oven if it had a long handle. If Falk's long handles have a lower profile, that might make them a better choice.

          I agree with Kaleo though, and not just because he is my friend. Borrow a tin lined 3-3.5mm thick pan from a friend you might reconsider SS based on performance alone.

          For me, a lot of copper is in the beauty of the construction. I realize this is not the case for you, and the utility is the main (perhaps the entire) issue. In this case, another consideration (and I know you probably won't take it seriously, and some may even scoff) might be heavy (4-5mm) aluminum for a lot less money.

          1. re: alarash

            Believe me, I completely respect Kaleo. I really value his opinion.

            I'm not sure I'm reading you completely clearly. At first you write "I would say it [SS] is virtually identical to tin lined" and then "Borrow a tin lined 3-3.5mm thick pan from a friend you might reconsider SS based on performance alone" - I'm a little unsure where you stand on the issue. And, boy, do I wish I had a friend with a 3.5mm copper pan!

            Aesthetics do play a role for me. I love clean lines. The hammered surfaces really don't appeal to me. I also don't really care for the look of CI handles. I prefer the look of the rolled rims and sleeker profiles. I actually really like the look of the All Clad D5 which is what I mostly have now. So looks do play a major role, I just think we have different preferences in looks.

            Anyone have any idea where to see more pics of the Bourgeat and Falk?

            1. re: olympia

              Hi Olympia,

              Attached are a few pics of the Bourgeat set I had. I ended up selling them a month or two ago because I wasn't using them much.

              The SS lined cookware is 95% as responsive to me, but that extra 5% is noticeable in my opinion. I the hands of a really skilled cook (am just an amateur home cook), that 5% might be more like 15 or 20%, I can't say.

              I agree with you that we both seem to appreciate the appearance of the cookware, but have differing tastes. I could see myself really warming up to the newer generation copper at some point. They are sleek.

              1. re: alarash

                Ask and you shall receive! Thanks!! Wish I knew you a couple of months ago :)

                It seems like the handles attach pretty low on the pieces which seems a little strange. Did that bother you?

                Thanks again!

                1. re: olympia

                  I did notice that about the handles attaching a bit lower. I didn't find that annoying. I actually kind of like it. The handle on the frying pan (top left photo) seemed to come up pretty high, which I think made it maybe? easier to work with on the stove, but harder to put it in the oven. Then again, I mainly used the Sauteuse for starting on the stove and finishing in the oven. That sauteuse was a great pan. Very very versatile. Responsive. Durable. It was large enough to cook for 2-4 people, which for my wife and I is perfect, as we like to have couples over for dinner.

                  The Bourgeat pans were extremely durable, even more than Mauviel. I have a lot of brand new SS mauviel laying around that I am getting ready to unload, and although they are really heavy and well made, the Bourgeat pans felt a bit better. The lids were more fitted, the rolled lip at the edge is a nice touch (though not necessarily useful to me, as I almost never poured from the side of any of these monsters).

                  Mauviel is gorgeous, but If I had to go with a SS lined set for daily use, I think I would choose Bourgeat (because I've handled them personally) with Falk at a close #2 presuming they are essentially identical, and Mauviel #3 only because they seem slightly less ergonomic/modern than the Bourgeat design in general. That being said, Mauviel are more traditional French design with the SS interior being a subtly noticeable difference. In a way you get the old school look with the new school advantages.

                  I have heard numerous times that Falk has some sort of copyright on the manufacture of SS bonded copper, and that Bourgeat and Mauviel and other companies get their SS-copper bonded from Falk and make their own designs. That being said, I have to tell you that from the end-user standpoint, the SS on the bourgeat seemes a lot different that the SS on the Mauviel.

                  The SS on the Bourgeat was thicker and more shiny/polished. That on the Mauviel is thinner (seems almost infinitesimally thin!) and has a brushed SS appearance. Don't know what that means, but I can attest it is true in the examples that I own.

                  1. re: alarash

                    I know I am resurrecting an old thread, but would you mind letting us know if the Bourgeat cast iron handles on these 2.5mm copper pans have a protective coating similar to Mauviel's cast iron handle coating? Thank you!

      2. Does anyone know if Falk's lids are matte like the body?

        2 Replies
        1. re: olympia

          Yes; Falk lids match the exterior of their cookware.

          Before investing in our Falk items, we purchased both a Bougeat saucepan and a Falk one of slightly different sizes. We used both for almost a year and found each to be a substantial improvement from our old ss Cuisinart set (which had a copper core in the base) sandwiched between ss but nearly paper thin sides. In the end, we liked the rounded profile and the easy to care for finishes of the Falk and have since been purchasing one or two pieces per year. Thankfully, the Falk 'line' appears to be timeless and they have not fallen into the "let's invent a need for a new type of cooking piece each year" mentality that preys upon consumers. We have been nothing short of thrilled with the Falk performance at the highest sears on our 22k Bluestar Range or at the lowest simmers held on the 130degree burner. Admittedly, we still have and use the Bourgeat saucepan purchased a dozen years ago. Still great condition and excellent pan.

          1. re: ThanksVille

            Thanks - I had read somewhere that the lids were shiny! That would be a bummer for me for sure!

            One question, when you say "rounded profile" about the Falk could you explain a little more? It's hard to see the differences sometimes when you can't pick them up! What do you think about the matte vs. shiny interiors? Do you have any favorite pieces?

            Thanks again!

        2. I just wanted to update that I went with the Bourgeat. I got the 8 piece set and the medium flared saute. I ordered from Don Shipman in TX ( He had the best prices and has provided great customer service.

          A couple of caveats for those considering Bourgeat. Their claim is that they are for professional kitchens rather than home kitchens and as such seem to let quite a few pieces through with cosmetic blemishes. Although they consider them to be commercially acceptable I didn't really esp. since this is a once in a lifetime purchase for me. At Don's recommendation I sheepishly showed up at their warehouse, which happens to be local for me, and asked to exchange some pieces. They were very surprised to see me but overwhelmingly accommodating. They went through their stock and made some swaps for me and I think I left with the best that they had on hand. In the end, of the ten pieces I purchased I would say two of them seem closer to seconds. Don is working on a way to make this right but I will say I was a little surprised at the quality of the details. I will fully disclose though that I'm particular.

          So far, cooking has been pretty dreamy. I've made pork tenderloin and a pan reduction in the saute pan, sauteed mushrooms in the sauce pan and I look forward to trying them all out very soon. I think they look beautiful and find the handles very comfortable although they do get hot. The rolled rims and perfect for me as I love to pour from the pans. One thing that did surprise me is the hallmark on the bottom of the pan, on a couple of pieces it is very pronounced.

          Thanks to all who provided great advice. If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them if I can!

          6 Replies
          1. re: olympia

            Congrats! Aren't they great? I really miss the bourgeat sauteuse I sold.

            Since my last post, I managed to pick up a few Falk pieces, but they are still en route to me. I can't wait to compare them with my meory of the Bourgeat pans. I think they will be nearly identical.

            by the way, where is their warehouse?

            1. re: alarash

              Ha, you're too funny! I thought you didn't use your Bourgeat much! Did you have the 13 piece set? I still wish I'd know about you off loading them :)

              What are you expecting from Falk? I think I might prefer the handle placement on the Falk (just from the pictures) but I definitely love the shiny exterior of the Bourgeat. Do let us know how they are once you get them!

              The Matfer Bourgeat warehose is in Van Nuys, CA - a drive for me but worth it not to have dinged up lids.

              1. re: olympia

                Hi olympia,

                I didn't have th 13 piece set. I had an opportunity to buy a 7 piece set (frying pan, sauce pan w/lid, sauteuse w/lid, dutch oven w/lid) affordably after shipping. They were well used with lots of stains on the outside from burned grease. It took a lot of work to scrub them clean, and they never became totally clean in the end. Still, I used them a bit. The large sauteuse (about 12 inches across and 3.5" deep) was a great pan. It was extremely useful for so many dinners. Their pans are really burly, well made.

                I sold them though less than a year after buying them just because they weren't getting much use, and I decided to go with tin-lined copper.

                I am trying to scrounge together a nice set for the rest of my life. I'm in my mid 30's (my how time flies!) and have a job that does not pay well, so I am putting together a collection one piece at a time on ebay, craigslist, and estate sales. I am constantly buying a new-to-me pan here and there, and unloading other pans that I now realize don't suit my fancy. I've never bought a pan from a store, and could never afford to do that. Scrounging however is a very impractical way to go about it because at any one time I have more copper on hand than 3 families could use, let alone 2 adults, and this makes my wife go crazy.

                Your strategy to think carefully, then buy a set of a lifetime, especially at a point in life when you can afford it, is much more sensible. But I am enjoying the process of piece-mealing my set together. So far I've found a couple of gems, and overall am roughly breaking even on this addiction.

                I expect Falk to perform identically to the Bourgeat. I only bought this set because it was at a good price from a person who didn't use them much. It was a 10-piece set (frying pan, saute pan, dutch oven w/lid, saucier w/lid, small sauce pan w/lid, large sauce pan w/lid) for an affordable price, and only two of the pieces had been used. It was hard to pass up the chance to try them, as I have been curious and have never even held a Falk before. Meanwhile I have owned and tested Mauviel and Bourgeat stainless lined copper.

                But in the long run I think I'll stick with the french old skool hammered tin-lined beasts of days gone by, and hopefully my boy and any of his future siblings will enjoy them enough to keep and use them, instead of selling them cheaply next to sweaters that smell like moth balls on my front yard lawn to strangers when I'm dead and gone.


                1. re: alarash

                  Ha! It is quite an addiction and I prefer your method to mine - there's something great about finding a piece here and there. I'll admit to suffering from sale goggles a bit though while bargain shopping. I funded this purchase by selling some remnants of my previous, non-cookware based addiction. Getting more than one piece at a time kind of waters down the experience though. I love picking up one piece to treasure and then extending the enjoyment of the addiction with another piece down the road.

                  Wow, how the heck do you find these pieces at such bargains. I'd love to have stumbled upon sets of Bourgeat and Falk! If you're still thinking of dumping more pieces in the future let me know - I could be interested!

                  Be sure to tell the boy to at least ebay them if he doesn't want them. *I kid, I kid.* ;)

                  1. re: olympia

                    I find bargains the same way everyone else does, by keeping my eyes open and searching. The difference I suspect is the amount of time spent diligently searching. It's simply embarrassing how much time I spend searching web sites and thrift stores. It's become my main hobby, at the expense of my waistline.

                    1. re: alarash

                      I hear you on all counts. I eat, sleep and breathe whatever I'm into and it's definitely been cookware lately. I'll also say that I'm convex in places that I used to be concave :)
                      I wish I had more places to go thrifting but even the local thrift stores are pretty expensive. I was thrilled when I saw a set of Bourgeat being sold on craigslist - at least until I saw that they wanted more than retail for it! Good for you though, I'll try to live vicariously. Please do let us know about the Falk. It may have been a better choice for me in that I'm scared to death of scratching up the Bourgeat. I'm practicing polishing on my cheapy copper pan. I practiced tonight and did pretty well on the body of the pan. I did manage to scratch the body while steadying it against the edge of the sink though. I'm pretty sure I need a new method that involves some form of padding. The pan fared better than the lid which somehow I managed to really scratch up - with a paper towel! Oh well, that's why I'm practicing!
                      Do keep me/us updated on the finds!