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Mar 12, 2012 11:47 AM

For Your Groans and Amazement

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  1. Yikes that's crazy. I understand that a historic piece of cookware like that can easily fetch a substantial price, but if I ever pay that much for a pot it better come with a cook.

    Makes me wish I had that kind of money to throw around :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: cannibal

      Me, too, cannibal, me, too. Considering its size, it's probably not going to get much if any use. Consider also that it has no helper handle, weighs 16 pounds, and would be beyond the abilities of all but strength athletes to move around full.

    2. I wonder if the person that bought the pan is actually going to use it or if it is just going to be part of a collection. I'm hoping they will actually cook with it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John E.

        No way anyone pays $900 for a pan to cook with. Definitely going into a collection.

      2. So kaleokahu..what do you think of this particular piece? Your love for old and beautiful cookware is well documented around these parts..

        1 Reply
        1. re: petek

          Hi, Pete:

          It's beautiful and rare. As I told the OP, I'm not sure how much use it's going to get--unless Vassily Alexiev comes out of retirement to lift it for the new owner. I'm a former strength athlete, and my 12-inch saucepan is such a handful that I had a helper handle added. This one was 13" and 3.5mm I think!

          I might have paid $300 for it, but it'll be >$1K by the time it leaves France. $1,000 would pretty much fill out my batterie--with stuff I can *use*.

          On the other hand, it's less than half the cost of a real Kramer, so who'm I to judge?


          Perhaps it was Moby Dick for the buyer.

        2. This reminds me of DBGB - a Daniel Boulud restaurant downtown NYC. I remember there were HUGE copper pans on display in open shelves. Some of them were so big that the handles needed to be cut shorter so that they wouldn't jut out into people walking near the shelves.

          6 Replies
          1. re: sherrib

            I'm astounded at the number of pans with no helper handle that weigh seven pounds or more _empty_ -- particularly saute pans, that often need to be transferred to the oven full of meat and liquid.

            A solo cook would find it almost impossible to get all the soup, sauce, or custard out of a saucepan weighing more than seven pounds, as there's no way you can hold it over another container with one hand. I guess that's not a problem in a professional kitchen, where there's always another cook to provide that third hand to spatula out the contents...

            Wrt cutting handles: Last month I won an online auction for an 11-inch copper saute pan with a helper handle and a long handle of brass ending in a loop for hanging. I thought it would be a tight squeeze in my small (24") oven, and it was. It was also hard to move it to the back burner without the long handle bumping into the utensil crock. Since I'm storing the pan on a shelf rather than hanging it, I wanted to shorten the long handle by lopping off the loop and smoothing off the end. A local metal shop did it while I waited, for ten bucks (blessings of a small town), and I was pleased to see how much more easily it maneuvers on the stovetop and in the oven with just that inch and a half removed.

            1. re: ellabee

              Hi, Ellabee:

              It has never made a lot of sense to me why a two-and-short-handled rondeau is not superior to a traditional saute when the weight gets up there. At least with the former, you have a chance of tossing in an 10-12 pound pan. Side towels or potholders, I guess.

              I'm toying with the idea of an even more drastic modification than yours... I am not finding a marmite/Dutch Oven to my liking, so I am thinking of buying a 10" saucepan whose handle is mounted high enough, and them having a metal shop cut off the pan just below the rivet holes and again just above. This would leave me with a pan I would put two helper handles on, *and* the fall from the cuts would make a fine and stout baking round.

              What was the maker of your big saute?


              1. re: kaleokahu

                It's a Mauviel, 2mm and stainless-lined, made for Williams-Sonoma but now discontinued. One of the reasons I was able to get it at a great price is that the seller listed it (on the basis of the store sticker, still attached) as significantly smaller than it is -- 4 qt rather than the almost 6 quarts it actually holds.

                In an ideal world, I'd have preferred a two-handled rondeau, primarily because of my tiny oven. And of course a perfect one appeared about two days after I got the saute; it went for just a bit more than I paid.

                How much did it cost to get a helper handle put on to a pot (you mentioned that in a post above)? It really would make several of the best sautes I see on the market more of a possibility for non-weightlifting cooks.

                The surgery you describe sounds pretty extreme -- is it really so much easier to find 10-inch saucepans with the right handle location than it is to find the right copper Dutch oven? On the other hand, I know all about having a vision of exactly what you want and not finding it...

                1. re: ellabee

                  Hi, ellabee:

                  I was told it was $50 to cast a one-off handle, and $25/hr. shop time to attach it. It is difficult to tell *exactly* what it cost, because the pan's bottom was flattened and it was retinned at the same time. Retinning alone would have been $100, and the total was $275, so all the repair work plus making and attaching the handle was $175. Call Mac Kohler at Hammersmith and ask for a quote.

                  Actually, yes, there are a lot more 3mm and up large saucepans around than there are marmites, and with the crazy exception that started this thread (!!!) they go for a lot less. I have in transit from France a 3mm 10" saucepan that went for $60 (total $160 with shipping). Marmites/DOs of that thickness fetch a lot more. AND I could use a heavy ring for quiche.


            2. re: sherrib

              Hi, Sherri:

              Interesting you should mention DBGB.

              I'm torn about this display. On the one hand, it's great that all this beautiful and excellent stuff is on prominent display and not locked away in a collection--it gives quality copperware exposure and a de facto museum. On the other hand, it is also a mausoleum--all DBGB's copper pieces are name-dropping wallhangers "donated" by celeb chefs ( with the inescapable implication that they're anachronisms).

              It would be nice to think these grand pieces get used once in awhile.


              1. re: kaleokahu


                My feeling is that any exposure is better than no exposure. I fear, sometimes, that high-end cookware will disappear into the abyss and will be replaced forevermore by lower-end lines endorsed by Food-Network chefs. I'm feeling that there's an increase in Le Creuset consumers becoming collectors rather than actual users - they're snatching up a particular pot in a specific color before it becomes discontinued. Who even knows whether or not they're actually using each piece they own? Le Creuset seems to be taking full advantage of this fad and though I don't agree with it, I appreciate that it's keeping their brand alive and well. They do, in fact, make great pots.
                As far as the copper pots in DBGB, I didn't know anything about where they came from or what their purpose was. I just thought it was cool to walk into a place and see those enormous copper pots. Maybe there SHOULD be a copper cookware museum somewhere. I would definitely go visit!!
                Incidentally, my husband and I were recently sitting at the bar at Jean Georges (you can order wine by the half glass, eat the free snacks and spend your entire night tasting a variety of wines without it breaking the bank.) From the bar, you can see the kitchen where they use a lot of copper cookware. Now THAT was a cool sight!

            3. Just decided to pass on a WS Mauvier turbot pan, tin lined, new with liftout and top. Went for $400. Have a 13" saucepan , French quite old that does not have a helper handle. Can easily hold a toddler and difficult to lift one-handed, but love it and use it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Hi, Delucachesemonger:

                I confess I have no turbotiere, and I further confess I'm never likely to own one. Whole flounder/skate really aren't on my radar. And I don't see many other purposes for one (perhaps a water reservoir for pudding molds?). I think I'd rather have a pommes vapeur or a chocolate pot if I were going for a specialty piece anytime soon.

                My good friend Alarash, on the other hand, has a 30" turbotier that we're looking for an oven and a halibut to fit. The vessel, rack and lid alone weigh 40 pounds!