Restaurant Supply for pots and pans?
I have a mish mash of pots and pans, some of which are Revereware handed down to me by my mother… (copper bottom pots, I think they’re older than I am)
Some of them are *ahem, cheapo pieces my husband bought before he met me and I enlightened him on the finer points of cookware. (I’ve tossed most of them, old non-stick surfaces, scratched and probably flaking off into his food)
So anyway, while I won’t ever toss the 40+ year old ones (that actually are in good working order) I am looking to overhaul my mish-mash and have a nice collection of pots and pans.
My step-son suggests that we go to a restaurant supply, because they’re relatively inexpensive and durable.
Do any of my fellow ch’ers have an opinion/suggestion? He’s a good kid and all, but I know that either way, this is going to be an investment and I don’t want to have to throw away any more pots/pans every few years, (plastic handles pfeh)
I can only speak for myself, although I've been in quite a few restaurant kitchens. I have some good frying/saute pans, to be sure, but many restaurant kitchens use relatively light steel saute pans - I've seen stacks of 20 piled up either freshly washed or waiting to be. They have metal handles - very few plastic handles on what I've seen in supply houses; too many pans need to go under the grill - and the one I bought sees plenty of uses for fast sautes. Yes, oil or some fat; this isn't a nonstick surface, but they work well, and they're easy to scrub and are dishwasher safe. Go take a look. And be sure to buy a couple of those long pincher-tongs; they're like an extension of your arms for all sorts of uses. (Like getting salad bowls down from a top shelf. No, not a glass one.) From oven to stovetop to cabinets, they're great.
lemons, I would be lost without my tongs in the kitchen.
I am looking to get rid of the non-stick pots and pans, save maybe one for crepes/eggs and whatever else a non-stick surface would be beneficial.
I have found, that a non-stick pan doesn't allow the fond to develop properly on the bottom of the pan when cooking meats.
There is a vast array of pots and pans available nowadays, so you have quite a bit to choose from. There are many online outlets. Chefscatalog.com and chefsresource.com, to name just two, carry a wide selection. Despite their names, however, these sites are targeted at the consumer, not the professional, so do not carry much in the way of professional cookware. If you really want utilitarian professional cookware, you can find it here:
I think you step-son has a good idea. If you go in with the assurances that, on average, most restaurants turn out equal if not better food than do home cooks, and that what you see is all NSF rated, you'll probably be elated at what you find. If, however, you are swayed by cosmetic and aesthetic touches, you may leave disappointed. If the latter, that's perfectly OK, and despite what you may *now* think, you probably won't know which until you go.
One other thing to remember is that there is some crossover between pro and home cookware, at least at the high end of price/performance, and many resto supply houses either don't carry the $$$ lines or they just special-order them. IME a lot of high-end restos and their chefs buy their best pieces non-locally from national distributors, e.g., Falk and Bourgeat.
If you go, look for Sitram and Vollrath lines. And be prepared to become a conjoined twin with a chef's towel/potholder.
National Sanitation Foundation.
The NSF mark is on products tested to various standards to ensure minimal possibility of contamination. No gaps for food to stick in and such.
For example a wood handled knife will not have it. There are some resin impregnated woods, Dexter Connoisseur for one, that can get it but they are more a man made product than natural one at that point.
Restaurant supply stores do offer a very reasonable selection of cookware. I visit one on a weekly basis. However, restaurant cookware are usually very "unpolished" like rough or sharp handles and rim. You will know when you visit one.
Many restaurant supply cookware are made of pure aluminum which may be difficult for some people to deal with. It can easily get discolored , oxidized, pitted, dented, ....etc.
They are very effective cookware with reasonable price tags. You should take a look first, and then decide if they fit your style of cooking.
Thanks all for the replies...
I am not interested in the cosmetics of pots and pans. I'm a really good home cook... (patting myself on the back) and I feel that the cookware that I have just isn't "doing it" for me.
I think I may buy one or two pieces to give it a shot, and then see from there.
Definitely check out the restaurant supply; even if you don't like the pans there, they have great stuff to pick up. I'm a big fan of heavy half sheets, fine mesh strainers, board scrapers, and stainless prep bowls in all sizes. I haven't been wowed by the pans. They're definitely inexpensive, but some of them don't have heavy enough bottoms (= hot spots, especially since my range isn't spitting out the BTUs that a restaurant oven range does). Stockpots and saucepans are good (unless you're making super delicate sauces, in which case I prefer a better saucepan), but I'd spend money on a saute or fry pan elsewhere.
It may be worth it to look at Marshalls for pans as well. They carry Le Creuset and All Clad, at a pretty steep discount.
If you're looking for plastic handles, may I recommend getting metal handles with silicone handle covers instead? That way you still have the option to put them in the oven if you want to.
Not sure of your location, but in my area Ace Mart is my go-to for cookware. A nice line of SS Vollrath products. Reasonable pricing. They also have a website. Vollrath makes good aluminum cookware, but their SS pots and pans are great! Encapsulated aluminum disks on the bottom, nicely polished on the outside so you won't be ashamed to show them off. The larger stock pots are very nice