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Help! Chipped enamel on LeCreuset

v
verak Aug 13, 2011 05:30 PM

I have inherited a LeCreuset Dutch oven that has several chips pitting the cooking surface. Is it safe to use this pan? Can it be repaired? Replaced?

  1. woodleyparkhound Aug 14, 2011 06:06 AM

    I have a friend who sent a 30 year old LC dutch oven back to the factory. They sent her a new one, which she didn't like as well as the handles were different.

    1. Chemicalkinetics Aug 13, 2011 08:57 PM

      Contact Le Cresuset and see if it can be replaced for free or for a low fee. A chipping on enameled cast iron cookware is NOT dangerous, but it loses the "benefits" for using one. Unlike a fully enameled cast iron Dutch Oven, a chipped one will react with foods. It will impart metal taste to foods, as well as discolor food. Unlike a bare cast iron Dutch Oven, you cannot seasoned a chipped enameled cookware. You cannot treat it roughly like heating it to very high temperature or scarp it with metal utensils. So, you are stuck with what I would call "the worst of the two worlds".

      In short, it is safe to use. It cannot be repaired, and it can be replaced.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        n
        Nyleve Aug 14, 2011 08:25 AM

        Honestly? An inherited Le Creuset of unspecified age? You'd really try to get it replaced by the company? I bought a Le Creuset from a thrift shop - chipped in several spots but otherwise totally fine. I consider the chips to be culinary laugh lines - signs that the pot was used and has a history. Do the chips have any effect on the cooking quality of the pot? No. Does a small exposed spot of bare metal discolour or impart a metallic taste to the things I cook? If it does, I don't think there's a soul on the planet who could possibly detect such a miniscule effect. I have heated it to high temperatures, washed and dried it without any rust, and wouldn't trade it for a new pot even if that were possible. Enamelled cookware is meant to be used for a long time and in the process it will inevitably suffer some bruising. Let's not be so precious about this stuff.

        1. re: Nyleve
          Chemicalkinetics Aug 14, 2011 10:08 AM

          "Honestly? An inherited Le Creuset of unspecified age? You'd really try to get it replaced by the company?"

          That is really a personal choice here. If there is any sentimental reasons, then it is up to the original poster to decide.

          "I bought a Le Creuset from a thrift shop - chipped in several spots but otherwise totally fine. I consider the chips to be culinary laugh lines - signs that the pot was used and has a history."

          You can look at it that way, or you can see it is no longer 100% functional. If it is, then a chipped Le Cresuet would have been sold at the same price as a unchipped one. It does not. People don't pay a chipped one for the same price because it is not valued as such.

          "Do the chips have any effect on the cooking quality of the pot? No. "
          Yes, the chips do affect. I certainly cannot go to my neighbor and put some chips in his pot and tell him that it does not affect the cooking performance.

          "Does a small exposed spot of bare metal discolour or impart a metallic taste to the things I cook? If it does, I don't think there's a soul on the planet who could possibly detect such a miniscule effect. I have heated it to high temperatures, washed and dried it without any rust, and wouldn't trade it for a new pot even if that were possible. Enamelled cookware is meant to be used for a long time and in the process it will inevitably suffer some bruising. Let's not be so precious about this stuff."

          People need to be consistent here (not speaking of you specifically, but in general). An important argument for a Le Cresuet is that it does not readily chip as the cheaper alternatives (Lodge Color and Tramontina enameled cookware..etc), and if a Le Cresuet does chip, the company will replace it. These have always been the argument for purchasingLe Cresuet. It is rather inconsistent if we now claim chipped enameled cookware as artistic and historically-rich.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            n
            Nyleve Aug 14, 2011 11:23 AM

            With apologies to you, Chemicalkinetics, I'm reacting to a series of themes I've seen come up again and again on the cookware forum. People who buy cookware and kitchenware and are then horrified when it begins to show signs of use. I fully appreciate the desire to purchase good quality products that will stand the test of time. But nothing will remain new-looking forever and we all need to accept the nicks and dings that happen in life without feeling the item needs to be replaced. An enamelled pot that has been well-used will show signs of wear over time - and by that I mean decades - and shouldn't be discarded because of that. I wonder what Le Creuset does with the returned pots. I'm sure they're not re-sold - even at a substantial discount. I'm betting they end up in a landfill somewhere, which is a crying shame, never mind the chipped enamel. Certainly no sane person would gladly exchange a chipped pot for a pristine one, but you can never convince me that the existence of a chip in my Dutch oven will have any noticeable affect whatsoever on my beef bourguignon.

            You'll also note that the OP has inherited the pot. Could be 6 months old, could be 35 years old. If I were to buy a brand new Le Creuset pot I would expect it to be fully intact with perfect enamel and no defects, or I would certainly ask for a replacement. This is not the case here and I'd personally never have the nerve to return it and request a new one. Who knows how the pot was handled by its previous owners? Maybe it was badly misused and so I just don't see why LC would have any responsibility to replace it.

            I'm sorry - I really don't mean to take this out on you. From reading your posts, Ck, I know you know your stuff. It's just I get very upset when I see how we have become so unaccepting of imperfection, even in our belongings. I'm not sure where I want to lay the blame - our consumer culture that encourages rampant consumption and diposability? The media that portrays unattainable perfection as the norm? It doesn't matter where this attitude comes from, I just have to rail against it.

      2. mcel215 Aug 13, 2011 06:17 PM

        I have a friend who knew which store she bought hers that chipped and they gave her a new DO. They said that LC is guaranteed for life. But, if you don't know the store, you should be able to ship it back to the factory for a new one.
        I'm sure you could check it out online and ask a question.
        Good luck.

        1. s
          ShawnPA Aug 13, 2011 05:53 PM

          It is safe to use, it is just bare cast iron exposed, which is safe to cook in. I don't know about repairing.

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