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Celebrity Cookware Lines: Rate 'Em!

Everyone on the Food Network and beyond seems to have their own line of pots, pans, gadgets, casseroles, strainers, utensils, colanders, knives, dishes, etc etc etc. I'd love it if we could have a thread where we rate any and all of these items as we CHers use them.

I know Giada DeLaurentiis has a Target line, Paula Dean has wares at JC Penney, Martha Stewart sells an extensive line of cookware and dinnerware at Macy's, Emeril Lagasse has some cutlery and has done cookware with All-Clad, Rachael Ray has some anodized cookware and very brightly colored casseroles, Mario Batali has items at Crate and Barrel, Jamie Oliver sells stuff on HSN... it goes on and on.

So sound off here with your reviews, please!

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  1. I was recently in the market for a new cookware set and performed a tremendous amount of research. What astounded me was that Royal Doulton's Gordon Ramsay cookware set was NOT "all that". I had read that for best cooking results multiply should extend up from the cookware bottom, into the sides of the cookware (i.e. as in the Lagostina). The Gordon Ramsay was ONLY multiply in the bottom and was very heavy as well.

    So I would have to give Royal Doulton's Gordon Ramsay cookware a bit of a thumb's down.

    I'm always leary about celebrity endorsed items, but I'm happy to be proven wrong when they turn out to be a good thing!

    20 Replies
    1. re: M_Xandria

      I avoid all celeb endorsed cookware like most in this thread. You can find much better pieces no matter what your budget. I do own ONE piece of celebrity endorsed cookware, and thats the emerilware deep fryer, and I got it because every site I looked at it was the highest rated deep fryer that fit my budget at the time. Ill be honest, it works great!

      1. re: twyst

        Le Creuset and All Clad ARE "celebrities" now too! I'm sure I am paying for their "names" -- just like Emeril or whoever. I'm happy with the few Martha Stewart things I've got -- looks and quality.

        1. re: blue room

          Huge difference between a company's reputation and paying for a brand, than paying for a celiberty name tag for recognition. Le Creuset and All Clad have built a reputation for quality products over a good number of years. Martha, just gets paid to let someone make something of what ever quality it may happen to come out and put her name on it. The same for all the other celebrity stuff. It's no different than buying a Willie Mays baseball glove, it has nothing to do with Willie Mays or the glove he played with, it's to get young kids to think they will be using the same type of ball glove Willie uses, but it's not. It's just marketing. What are you more likely to buy, a pot wth Martha Stewart's name on it that's made in China, or one that simply has made in China on it? More people will go with Martha, why, because they can make an association to the celebirty. It's marketing and it works, but it's not the same a brand reputation.

          1. re: mikie

            Yes, I know what you mean. But I'm willing to believe that some celebrities care -- if not about humanity haha, about their reputations.
            "Made in China" is impossible to rate as good or bad, it's way too complex/huge. I don't want to condemn everyone/every enterprise in the country!
            There are like 16 colors of Le Creuset now, and new ones regularly, hot pink next? If LC came in *one* color I can't help but think it would be cheaper. The extra colors and the little mini cutie cocottes etc. must add to my price for the basics. Very much like a celebrity name. My point is that some people hear "Le Crueset" and "All-Clad" and react in the same way as other people who hear "Gordon Ramsay" or "Paula Deen".

            1. re: blue room

              I understand and to a certain extent agree with what you are saying about Le Creuset and All-Clad. The difference, however, is that these brands tend to have years and years of results backing them up. However, the name creates a premium, which drives the price up. There is greater demand for quality, and as a result prices will go up (I mean, it'll never be as cheap as before with rising freight costs and inflation).

              One thing I will say is that SO FAR, Alton Brown has had a lot of integrity regarding branding himself. The only thing I saw with his name were the Shun knives, Alton's Angles, and those were literally just the Shun classics with a different angle for the handles. Those came out literally because AB was using a sheep's foot parer, and couldn't chop due to his knuckles hitting the board, and he asked them for a custom knife. He liked it enough that they ended up making a line (which didn't work out in the end...you can't find those anywhere anymore!).

          2. re: blue room

            Mr. Rat gave me a cute little red 3.5 qt. Martha Stewart enameled dutch oven for Christmas a year and a half ago - and while it is still cute the enamel on the inside of the lid started blistering and coming off by the following summer. That's what happened to a lot of people and that's why Macy's recalled her whole line of enameled cast iron. My Le Creuset pieces cost more even on sale to begin with, but years of cooking later and they're still holding up great.
            Not to bash Martha - but I think she's got entirely too many irons in the fire, so to speak, to really be able to do any kind of serious quality control on the stuff manufactured under her name.

            1. re: ratgirlagogo

              I have purchased two Martha Stewart enameled cookware and experienced almost no problems. I have a small chip in my larger piece which is not the end of the world, otherwise they work fine. Sadly a 3.5 qt and a 5 qt cookware togetherwhich is cheaper by far than one Le Creuset piece. I understand that quality matter to a certain extent, but sometimes I think it gets taken a little too far.

              1. re: atg106

                To be fair, there were a LOT of bad reviews leading to that recall. I've never seen worse reviews for enameled cast iron.

                1. re: atg106

                  Yikes! I never heard about the recall and I've been using my dutch oven with no problems. How do I return this? I don't have the box or anything else. Just the pot.

                  1. re: soypower

                    First of all, if you haven't been having any problems, maybe it's not urgent that you immediately return the pot. Second, I believe this line was exclusive to Macy's? They might accept it even without the receipt. Worth a try if you're concerned.

                2. re: ratgirlagogo

                  Ms Rat, I don't think the problem with the MS enamel ware has much to do with her directly or indirectly, beyond the stuff being produced for sale under her name. There is a step in metal enameling (bonding porcelain with ANY metal you can get it to stick to) in which "flux" is applied to the metal by dipping, coating, powdering (several techniques that all accomplish the same end result) to promote the bonding of the metal surface with the ceramic (enamel) coating before firing at very high temperatures in a kiln. It's not difficult to get a faulty bond (I've done it more times than I like to remember), but it's sommetimes very hard to detect. The flaw in the Martha Steward enameled cookware was simply a quality control problem with the firing process and the performance of the flux. When every piece manufactured is assigned a "lot number" when made, it's much easier to apply quality control when you find one or more pieces in a specific lot number have flaws. No lot number, BIG recall problem! I have no idea whether there were lot numbers or other inventory marking methods in use or not, but it's not something ANY manufacturer welcomes! I would not consider it a caveat against Martha Sterwart products.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I don't have any personal experience with any Martha Stewart products other than this one pot and therefore have no opinion about whether they're good or bad. I don't think anything I said implied that I did.

                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                      Sorry. I didn't intend to imply that you did. My bad. I just wanted to clarify that the problem with the product was something that could happen to ANY manufacturer, including Le Creuset and Staub, though I feel pretty confident both of those companies probably have more sophisticated and expensive inspection and test methods at their disposal. Sorry for not being more clear.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        From the complaints, this had to have been manufacturing specs... so many of her products get reviewed as shoddy. I don't think inspections had anything to do with it, but if it was that, it's a sign that quality control was not a MS priority. Her bedding line is kind of shoddily made, too, I noticed in the store, though not dirt cheap.

                        I've never heard of slabs of enameled coating flying off of any LC or Staub.

                3. re: blue room

                  blue room, just for the record, I bought my first Le Creuset cookware waaaaaaaay back in 1957. I just checked the prices I paid then (MUCH cheaper than today if you are just looking at the price tag) with what they cost today with the price adjusted with an "inflation calculator." Their prices have not changed through the years when you take inflation into account. Sealing quality cast iron in quality ceramics ain't cheap... Just for the record. '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    "Sealing quality cast iron in quality ceramics ain't cheap..."

                    I thought enamel used to coat cast iron is glass based not ceramic.

                    1. re: unprofessional_chef

                      You are correct. An in fact it is all pretty cheap if you do it in China. They certainly have several thousand years experience with these techniques.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I always crack up when I read stuff like this. "They certainly have several thousand years experience with these techniques." The people and plants that make the new stuff aren't the same artisans that made these things thousands of years ago. The only connection is they are in and from the same country. It only takes a generation or two for that artisanship to dissapear. Think of the skilled craftsmen that made furnature in the early days of this country, you'll be hard pressed to find that level of craftsmanship in the furnature you buy now. Same for China, they have made some marvelous things in the past but the situation there has changed a lot in the past couple of thousand years. Present day China is all about making the products as inexpensively as possible for overseas companies, most of whom are only interested in the lowest cost, not quality.

                      2. re: unprofessional_chef

                        Ceramic and glass are both silica compounds and both are vitreous (non-porous). What that means is that they're "basically" the same thing. Both are formed at very high temperatures, sometimes the surface temperature of the sun. Your tiolet is made of "porcelain" or"vitreous china." Exactly the same thing most fine table china is made of. Off hand, I can't think of any porcelain or vitreous china that is transparent. Translucent when thin enough, but not transparent. Glass, on the other hand, is most commonly transparent or at least tansluscent. It's why we can see out our windows. So "enameled" cast iron is cast iron that has been sealed inside a coating of vitreous china, aka "enamel." It's what makes it fire proof and gives it a smooth cooking surface. In this case, the term "enamel" PROBABLY (I'm guessing) comes from the very old art form of "metal enameling." If you've ever seen cloissone, it is one technique of metal enameling, and related to the process of coating cast iron with ceramic to create cookware.

                    2. re: blue room

                      I'm pretty sure the OP means cookware associated with a well-known individual, not merely a well-known brand. My All-Clad doesn't have anyone's name on it.

                4. That implies that one actually buys celebrity cookware lines.

                  1 Reply
                  1. No way in this world would I spend the money to buy cookware with a celebrity name on it. The celebrity has sold the licensing rights to that particular manufacturer and that kicks the price up a notch (sorry Emeril). The hype is what sells the product not the quality. Buy cookware for it's own merits and leave the fancy names to the Food Network.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: The Drama Queen

                      DQ, I don't actually own any celebrity cookware, but recently I was looking on line for casseroles. I wanted to send my daughter a large casserole of my own sweet potato souffle for Christmas that she loves so much and never gets any more because we live 600 miles apart. I was really surprised at how attractive Rachel Ray's casseroles are, and how VERY competitive price wise. I didn't buy one. I'm not particularly a RR cooking fan, but you can't cut her short on her presence in the market place and in the media! So I DO like the design of the casseroles. Now, if they just made them in simple white, I'd be there! Based on this I have to assume there are no "rules of thumb" when it comes to price for celebrity cookware.

                    2. I do not buy any cookware with celebrity names attached. To be fair though, I can't think of a celebrity that would want cookware with my name on it either.

                      1. Wolfgang Puck has a line too. I've read something favorable about the stuff, but can't remember where. I see some pieces at Home Goods.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I try to avoid celebrity-branded cookware (and indeed, celebrity-branded anything) whenever possible, but a few years ago I ended up buying several Wolfgang Puck pieces for my weekend house because they seemed like the most reasonable choice at the local HomeGoods. They've performed just fine on the basic electric-coil stove that we have there, and they're fairly easy to clean. In fact, except for the glass lids (which I hate), I really have no complaints. I also like the fact that you actually have to turn the pans over and scrutinize the bottoms in order to see the celebrity name, which becomes less and less visible as as the pans get more and more use.

                          1. re: Miss Priss

                            I got some Wolfgang Puke santoku knives at Walmart - cheap and I have no complaints about them

                        2. I got two Paula Dean silicone spatulas with wooden handles for $8 at a discount store, i really like them! That being said, I've been looking at a lot of cookware lately and none of the celebrity stuff comes any where near things like All Clad, Staub, Lodge, Le Creuset, etc. etc.

                          1. Some poor soul gifted me a set of Paula Deen knives. Dreck, and they rusted with the first hand-wash.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: pine time

                              Totally disagree. Got these two sets and they are superb:

                              http://www.walmart.com/ip/Paula-Deen-...

                              http://www.walmart.com/ip/Paula-Deen-...

                              Made in China, but hold a beautiful edge and are as nice as my old school Wusthof's at 5X the price.

                              1. re: pine time

                                Okay, time for a confession. The Paula Dean Santoku's are fine and hold an edge. The regular three piece set below is junk I agree after all. Dull even after a good sharpening, super dull after a day or two of use. Junk.

                              2. The only celeb piece I have is a Mario Batali dutch oven (the larger version). It was on a great deal from Amazon, reviews seemed to be good, so I got it, and I like it quite a bit

                                I wouldn't get into buying a whole celeb cookware set, though.

                                1. Re: All the people clutching their pearls and gasping over the idea of buying celebrity brand cookware.

                                  The post isn't asking "Would you purchase something for your kitchen if Person XYZ sold it," the post is asking what you think of the celebrity cookware lines you've TRIED. If you don't approve of such items, then that's your opinion, but you're not really adding anything of substance to this query.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Glam Foodie

                                    Glam Foodie: I think this thread add a lot to the original post. Those who have tried celebrity cookware are weighing in with their opinion as asked, but it's interesting to me to see how many people DON'T buy celebrity cookware and for what reasons.

                                  2. The only thing I own from a celebrity line is a plastic spatula from Mario. I needed one, I was at the market, it looked like it would be decent, I bought it. I don't like it though. It curls easily when it gets hot. I still have it and no longer use while cooking, just for removing things like brownies from a pan.

                                    1. I don't have any celebrity endorsed cookware, but I've handled some of Wolfgang Puck's pans as found at Home Goods, and I think they are pretty good. They seem to be balanced, nicely weighted and I like the glass lids. I see that they are carried by HSN and Kohl's. Obviously they aren't All Clad, but for what they are they seem to be fine.

                                      I've also looked at Rachael Ray's cookware, and I don't see anything wrong with them either.

                                      RR and Deen's pots and pans are carried by QVC. They also carry Cook's Essentials, Circulon and Farberware.

                                      1. The Emeril line is made by All Clad, Batali by Copco, etc ... its often a good way to find a well-made product at a good price.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kariface

                                          Emeril isn't really made by All Clad, it's made in China. However, I believe this is the smarter way to go from a business stand point as All Clad has now been able to introduce a made in China low cost product into the market place, without diluting the All Clad brand. Everyone knows Emeril isn't real All Clad, it was designed and the manufacturing is perhaps in some way overseen by All Clad, but it'sn not made in the USA "real" All Clad. A much smarter way in my opinion to get a low cost product into the market than some of their competitors have done. There's a certian amount of association with All Clad, without it being labeled All Clad. I think it was smart on their part. I'm not buying any, because it's made in China, but I think it was a smart way to go for All Clad.

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            Yes, very good adept marketing by All-Clad to get a great pan made in China at a good price with good quality.

                                            The AC Emerilware pans have a base that is a little smaller then I would like and the sides and lip of the pan is thinner then I would really like. However, I really like the lower price and the way they cook. I won't be buying a full-set but, their "try-me" pieces are a real steal for weekend places and car camping cook sets.

                                        2. I have 2 Emerilware pans (low end AllClad) that they were practically giving away at the WS outlet store. One was like $12.

                                          They are both perfectly fine.

                                          1. I have had Le Creuset cookware for many years. Every so often, especially when I see it on sale, I'll pick up a new piece. Truly it is the BEST stuff out there without any celebrity name on it. I will say it is very heavy, and it's a bit challenging to lift up a big pot full of food sometimes, but it cooks everything perfectly. I'll stick with this stuff till I'm too old to cook anymore.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Userfriend

                                              Try plain unenameled cast iron some time... I prefer it to my Le Creuset.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                I like both. There is a time and place for both. I wouldn't cook acidic foods or sauces in my unenameled cast iron.

                                              2. re: Userfriend

                                                I have and frequently use both Le Creuset and Staub. I much prefer the Staub.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Well, apparently Le Creuset is very aware of people like you! '-)

                                                  They've introduced a "new design" that looks too damned much like Staub for me to be comfortable with. I HATE knock-offs...!!!

                                              3. I'll chime in...
                                                The Wolfgang Puck frypan I used a few times at a friend's place wasn't bad especially for the price. You can find them at places like Ross, Marshalls, Home goods, etc. It has a restaurant-grade style hollow handle that I'm partial to and a decently thick disk bottom. The sides of the pan are a little thinner than I'd like, but should hold up ok in the average kitchen.

                                                Giada lasagnia pan is an enameled ceramic pan. no better or worse than any of the other pans of this type, can sometimes find them real cheap at discount stores.

                                                Rick Bayless Cazuela is not bad either, and different in shape. the enamel holds up pretty well and also can be had on the cheap if you hunt around for it.

                                                Mario Baitali Prep-Bowls - I have a set of these and actually use them quite often. the measurement lines are there but rarely use them. These are handy for mise en place, and are constructed of robust plastic. Not really cookware but thought it was relevant, also inexpensive. I know you can use other bowls and things you have around for the same purpose, but I don't have many spare bowls handy these days due to a 2 year old ;)

                                                The Emiril stuff is also OK for the price, i've only used it a hand-full of times over at friend's places but they weren't bad. I'm not partial to the handles, but that's a personal preference.

                                                That's all the stuff I have personal experience with and would recommend to someone looking for a bargain if they hunt around.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: cannibal

                                                  Agree about the hollow handles of the Puck pans. I haven't handled a Puck frypan, but I think the saucepans are acceptable, and I like the glass lids. I've found them at Home Goods.

                                                2. We have a small saucepan with Emeril's name on it and it does just fine.

                                                  I am thinking about buying a couple of pieces of Rachel Ray's stuff just because I like the way it looks, not because of the way it cooks.

                                                  Hmmm, come to think of it, I feel the same way about Rachel Ray...

                                                  1. They're not all garbage. I have this Jamie Oliver pot, and it's great:

                                                    http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...

                                                    And this Raymond Blanc (does he feature in the US?) stuff is terrific. I've been walked through his kitchens and, yes, they do use it:

                                                    http://www.raymondblanc.com/RAYMOND-B...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Robin Joy

                                                      Raymond Blanc has had a couple of shows "I want to open a restaurant wiz you" on BBC America. That means hardly anyone except me has seen it. He has a lot of integrity.

                                                    2. The Jamie Oliver Clipso pressure cooker is the regular SEB/Tefal Clipso pressure cooker, which is a well-know, proven piece of kitcheware in France. SEB started grew out of making pressure cookers. The Tefal Jamie Oliver cookware looks good quality, but the funny thing is, we don't get them in France.
                                                      The reason is, the SEB group is an international group which owns a lot of brands, among which Tefal, All Clad, Lagostina, Krups, Rowenta, Moulinex... but all these brands aren't distributed everywhere.
                                                      http://www.tefal.com/About/Groupe-SEB...

                                                      For instance, we get Lagostina, but we unfortunately don't get All Clad in France (but some french brands like de Buyer make up for this), probably because the two brands would fight in the same group. In the same fashion, we never get the good quality stainless steel items that Tefal sells in the US.
                                                      In France, Tefal only sells aluminum+PTFE crap (Tefal is a contraction of Teflon and Aluminum).
                                                      OTOH, SEB/Tefal sells very few pressure cookers in the US, although they have some inovative products in this domain.
                                                      I suspect the Tefal Jamie Oliver cookware is built by Lagostina or another brand in the SEB group. Lagostina is high quality stuff.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: KissesFromParis

                                                        I don't reckon they are all useless. I have this Chef Inox pot, and it's great:

                                                        http://www.iconhomeware.com.au/pots/c...

                                                      2. On this board Bourgeat, Mauviel, and DeBuyer are celebrities and are my top three.

                                                        1. I generally avoid celebrity brands, but when I was looking for the perfect lasagne pan a few years ago, nothing could match the Mario Batali pan. It was a deep, enameled cast iron pan in exactly the right size for what I needed, and it cost less than $100, which, compared to LeCreuset or Staub, seemed like a bargain. Probably made in some country other than France, but I didn't find anything else that suited my needs this well. A great pan, highly recommended.

                                                          1. The only celebrity item I have is Giada's (red) enameled cast iron dutch oven. Purchased it on a whim at Target as I loved the bright red color and didn't have a dutch oven at the time. I have to say that I was worried after I got it home (buyer's remorse?) that maybe buying that type of item from Target wasn't the best idea but after cooking with it I love it. I am sure that Le Creuset and others may have better dutch ovens/enameld cast iron items but this one works well and I've had no problems out of it.

                                                            1. I have the Ingrid Hoffman 7.4 qt. pressure cooker. http://www.amazon.com/Delicioso-YS2H4...

                                                              It has heavy-duty stainless steel construction with thick disk bottom. It cooks as well as my Fagor. Compared to my Fagor, I have a few nits to pick. Though it is dual pressure, it is 7/12 psi vs. 8/15 for the Fagor. In the real world this is not a big difference. There are couple other things to note: the lid is not self locking and the pressure indicator is not only the same color as the rest of the plastic bits, but even with pressure in the pot the indicator does not extend above the surrounding plastic. The relief valve also takes some fiddling to get in and out.

                                                              Those seem like minor things, but for a pot that sells for about $75 at Amazon, it doesn't seem all that well-made for the price.

                                                              Even though it is made by T-Fal, they don't list any pressure cookers on their US website and I was unable to find anybody who sells parts like gaskets or relief the valves. Overall, IMO, this is not a good value compared to noncelebrity endorsed pressure cookers.