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thoughts on the pampered chef

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My sister lovvvves this stuff
mmmmm...im not sure.any thoughts?

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  1. The fact that they can't tell a saute from a skillet is an indication... As is the (illegal) lack of disclosure of country of origin.

    This is on the Tupperware or Amway model, right?

    Their stuff I've seen at fairground displays looks nice from a distance, but felt light and under-engineered, and was no value.

    1. heavy on gadgets and unitaskers.

      High priced, but decent quality on everything else.

      Their silicon spatulas are really, really good.

      1. I had no idea they were even still in business.
        Considering I have Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy's, Sur la Table and 3 chef/restaurant supply places within a short drive, I've never really seen the need for their products.

        8 Replies
        1. re: iluvcookies

          <I've never really seen the need for their products.>

          Maybe we are not "pampered"

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            LOL! No, perhaps we are missing out.
            If they come out with a pan that can also give me a pedicure, then I'll give them a closer look. Until then, I will stick with the Calphalon.

            1. re: iluvcookies

              You mean a panny-pedi?

              1. re: kaleokahu

                HA! Yes, that would work :)

              2. re: iluvcookies

                Cookies,

                Calphalon makes great stuffs. I think the idea of a "pampered chef" is funny enough. Think about it. Do I really want to join a dojo which read "Pampered Karate". It just sounds like a bad idea. A music class? "Pampered Piano lessons"?

                P.S.: What would Coco do? Would he want to be pampered? For Team Coco!

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I agree, the name is quite strange.

                  I think Coco would let Andy handle this one... perhaps come out on stage wearing a diaper and a chef's hat.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Not Triumph the dog?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      There is another "bear" character that may be more well suited for the "pamper" part, but that's a topic for another forum!

          2. A few CHOWHOUND posters like the pampered chef cookware, but most do not. I would about a 3:7 ratio or 2:8 ratio between those who like pampered chef to those who dislike. I cannot comment on their general cookware, but I think its kitchen knives are very overly priced. Since your sister presumably has many of its products, maybe you can try them to see.

            1. The only people I know who buy pampered chef products are my housewife friends who seem to all have some sort of party-marketed product that they sell and, therefore, seem to be attending a different product party every week. Most of the time, they buy something because they feel obligated. They seem to be about 50/50 between loving what they've purchased and regretting that they bought something they is easily found for less money and of better quality.

              14 Replies
              1. re: bluex

                <Most of the time, they buy something because they feel obligated.>

                I totally believe this part.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  It reminds me of Cutco marketing and quality. Guilt friends and family members into buying something they don't understand of inferior quality at a very high end premium price. I have seen a few Pampered Chef products which were respectable though unlike Cutco.

                  1. re: Sid Post

                    For what they are Cutco are ok products, just priced at about four times what they are worth. I have a Cutco spreading knife with a serrated edge on one side of the rounded tip and a serrated knife that is basically an oversized steak knife. I rarely use them, but they are not that bad. They cut as well as most serrated knives, which is horrible compared with my old French carbon steel knives but pretty good compared with the junk in most people 's (NOT people on this board!) kitchens.

                2. re: bluex

                  I call these Fleece Your Friends parties--if you go, it should be with the expectation that you're supporting a friend, not buying something you truly need/want or high end quality. I usually buy the cheapest 1-2 items, if I choose to go at all.

                  1. re: pine time

                    This is why I don't attend. I am invited all the time and usually by folks who do not invite me to socialize otherwise.

                    1. re: pine time

                      This is why I have no friends, to avoid these parties.

                      Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway.

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        It's my understanding that if one wants friends, showering occasionally helps some, hahahahaha. Your post was very funny.

                        1. re: mikie

                          I'll try that, mikie, thanks. ;)

                        2. re: DuffyH

                          Hey friend, I think we need to re-think this. Maybe we don't need to be invited to these parties, maybe we need to invent the right KIND of parties! :)

                          1. re: breadchick

                            BC,

                            You're like Butch Cassidy, good at thinking things up. Will there be food? Of course there'll be food. What am I thinking?

                            What else?

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Well, from what I hear, the Chow synchronized swimmers have been feeling neglected lately. Perhaps this is their moment. Well, considering the Olympics and all that.

                              1. re: breadchick

                                Yes, synchronized swimming would be lovely, such pretty costumes, AND they shave their legs, too. But it's so hard to hold your breath under the ice.

                                Perhaps water polo? The horses might fare better in the cold. They've still got hairy legs.

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Now really. Putin has a special heated lake. This is the most expensive event ever!!

                                  1. re: breadchick

                                    Well, ok, then. That's wonderful. I'm sure he'll let us use it.

                                    As the great Miss Lonnie Anderson once said "There are two kinds of people. Beach people and pool people." I'm a pool person, and could watch synchronized swimming all damn day. Bring on the ChowHounds in the ruffled swim caps!

                                    We'll have to hide the Chobani, of course. Assuming we can sneak it past customs. Or just bring Yoplait. I'm really not a fan of Greek Yogurt anyway. Don't much like their Gyros, either. Baklava doesn't suck. Best keep it away from the swimmers, they don't need the calories.

                                    PC has really good baking stuff, they must have something perfect for the baklava. Maybe a travel thing, too, for the plane ride.

                    2. I sat through a party and didn't buy anything though I was interested in the chop and mixer (or something like that). My sister bought me the mix and masher thinking that's what I wanted and gave me the corn butterer and the corn cob holders she received for free as part of her hostess thing.

                      Hate the mix and masher (not strong enough to mash white potatoes) and the cob holders are still in the bag they came in. LOVE the butter holder to use on corn, though, and I'd buy it if mine somehow broke or disappeared.

                      1. I think they're aimed at people who are very new to All Things Kitchen.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: EWSflash

                          This. The first party I attended, the demonstrator gives the spiel explaining that PC was started to get fine kitchen products to people who like to cook. I thought, 'Oh so PC started in what, 1935?'. I was shocked to find out it's a relatively new company!! WTF? I mean, kitchen supplies are EVERYWHERE.

                        2. Not sure about the connection between sauté, skillet, Tupperware or Amway but regarding Pampered Chef, my wife has picked up a few useful items at parties her friends have held. Nothing much, but items she wanted or needed. Probably the most used item is the can opener that does not cut the lid. It resembles the old Swing-A-Way in appearance. Very nice. Very solid. And Made in China. Certainly better than the hockey puck from Kuhn Rikon that also does not cut the lid; a most awkward design at a premium price. We also have a couple of lettuce knives (plastic so the lettuce does not go brown), and a few other pieces. Nothing of note.

                          They seem to have some pretty good items. You just have to know what you want.

                          1. I agree with most of what has been said already.

                            To sum it up, you can find better products at a lower price elsewhere.

                            1. There are a couple things we have that I like but I can't think off the top of my head.

                              1. My wife and daughters have been invitged to the obligatory party and bought a few things. As an engineer, my evaluation of their pruchases is that it's junk.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: mikie

                                  Hi, mikie:

                                  In a way, I hope you *don't* have an experience-based answer to this, but is it possible that the explanation for PC's popularity is that it's better-looking, or looks-better-engineered than other "party pressure" scheme-y stuff?

                                  My reaction to it at my state fair last year was something like: "If someone was going to take such trouble to make this *look* like quality cookware, why wouldn't they just *make* quality cookware?"

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Hi Kaleo,

                                    The only thing that actually got used that I recall, was the garlic press. It looks good, but you can't get the thing clean to save yourself and it was cast aluminum with a coat of silver paint. You guessed it, the paint started pealing off in rather short order. I couldn't wait to replace it.

                                    1. re: mikie

                                      that takes cheesy to a whole new level - gross!

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        mikie,

                                        That's funny about the garlic press. We got one of those exact garlic presses for our wedding 12 years ago, and it is still going strong. In fact, it is probably the only kitchen gadget (out of dozens) that is still going from 2000. A little of the paint (enamel, whatever) flaked away around the presser holes early on, but none since. And I just open it up, and allow water to run over the presser face before I drop it into the sink, and the little mashed plug of remaining garlic falls right out.

                                        We received several PC items as wedding presents (all of the kitchen gadget variety), and I felt that they were of average quality. They held up about as well (no better or worse) than any comparable item off the big wall of gadgets at bed bath and beyond or williams sonoma. I have not tried any of their more expensive items or cookware however.

                                        1. re: mikie

                                          I have the PC garlic press and its held up for almost 15 years (bought it at a friend's PC party right after we got married). No peeling paint, and I just run it through the dishwasher to clean it with no problems. I also had a friend give me a PC apple slicer which is nice, but not something I would have ever bought myself. It's a nice heavy metal slicer, and isn't thin or flimsy like some of the other slicers I've seen.

                                    2. My wife really likes her PC Santoku but personally I really dislike it. It's too heavy and not well balanced, but worst of all it will not hold an edge longer than 1-2 days cooking.
                                      Cooking in a restaurant give one a real appreciation for good cutlery.

                                      I did the obligatory buy from a friends party, a synthetic cutting board for the specific purpose of working with raw meats because it said it was dishwasher safe. It warped on its first ride. They exchanged it, but it sure made me wary.

                                      We also got a pizza stone and stone half sheet that work as advertised.

                                      Overall their stuff is over priced and you take your chances with quality.

                                      Get thy sister to a Chef's Supply for lasting value. I don't like to buy something more than once.

                                      If one cooks a lot one soon spots weaknesses in cooking tools.

                                      For the occasional, or obligated cook it's probably fine; what the heck, if it makes her happy and she enjoys the social life of it, who am I to judge? But overall I would not recommend Pampered Chef.

                                      1. I have A LOT of friends who have invited me to these things over the years. I really like my whisks and a large metal spatula thing (it has kind of sharp edges and a black handle). I also have a couple knives I bought when we were just starting to think about nice knives. We got a chef's knife, a paring knife and a filet knife. While I don't love them, I am glad I bought them. I think of them as my "starter" knives - I think I bought all three for not much more than the one Shun knife I own, and that's just a paring knife! I also like the plasic scraper thing and those things that hold bags shut. Probably overpriced, but I don't think about it too much and just look at it as the cost of socializing sometimes. I won't buy the unitaskers, though.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: SAHCook

                                          That spatula is awesome. I got mine at a thrift shop, and it was even overpriced there...but worth it, it's a tank.

                                        2. I remember when PC first came around back in the 80's. The world was a much bigger place then and they did have some things that were unique or otherwise unavailable to the home cook at the time, think pre-internet, pre-FoodNetwork, and when restaurant supply stores didn't carry much in the smallwares category nevermind anything innovative or unique. Theirs was the first silicone spatula and bamboo utensils I was ever aware of. I am still using both, plus what I think was one of the original Zyliss import products, the bash and chop thing, all bought circa 1989 from PC. They have always been overpriced, but now that everything they sell is available at the restaurant supply or via internet for less money, the whole home party element is even more annoying and pointless.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                            I still have that spring-loaded chopper, too -- and there is truly nothing better when you've got a bunch of onions and garlic to chop, or you're knee-deep in the holiday baking and need MORE chopped nuts.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              I like that little chopper too. I have tried other brands but they don't work as well. I have a little fine mesh skimmer I like too. Oh and the little brown scrapers. I do think it is way over priced.
                                              I always thought Tupperware to be overpriced but 35 years later, it is still here and I have a certain attachment to it, especially the old pastels.

                                              1. re: wekick

                                                oh, yes -- I forgot about the little brown scrapers -- I keep one right by the sink and use it constantly. You can get them anywhere, but the PC ones are particularly durable.

                                          2. I have 3 things that I like from PC, and no interest in the rest:

                                            Their can opener, which replaced my frankly dangerous cheapo piece of garbage. The stoneware barpan, and the one unitasker in my kitchen other than the fire extinguisher: the pineapple slicer. I love the stupid thing!

                                            I buy pineapples all the time, but procrastinate cutting them up until they go bad. Not anymore! The cutter is just fun to use. :)

                                            1. i have a friend who sells this and another who sells products by DeMarle. I like the spatulas from PC -- excellent quality workhorses -- and the stoneware bar pans.

                                              1. I avoid "parties" like the plague.

                                                My sister does this sort of sales (different company) and often partners with Pampered Chef people at events, so I have seen some of her PC stuff.

                                                She has a lot of non-stick cookware and has a PC product which protects the sookware from scratches during storage. It is made from a flexible material and when flat looks like a squared flower. It is placed between the pots/pans and conforms to their shape. Seems to work well!

                                                She gave me some green plastic screw style corn-on-the-cob holders. They are not at all attractive, but they work really well. I really like that I can attach them prior to cooking! I was very pleasantly surprised how well these worked.

                                                I have no idea what the price range is on the PC products!

                                                1. the biggest thing is that you can find just about everything for less somewhere else.

                                                  I haven't been to a PC party in over a decade, but I went, bought some small thing out of fealty to the hostess, and made mental notes to shop for the other stuff somewhere else. I do like the silicon spatulas, though -- mine are 15 years old and still aren't stained or melted (despite my best efforts -- they see heavy use in my kitchen, and they've taken it all in stride) No regrets there.

                                                  1. My step-mom has a friend that sells it, so I have been given quite a bit as gifts. Most of the stuff I've gotten is nice, meaning I use it, it functions as intended, and has held up well. My stepmom cooks a lot, so she knows that most unitaskers aren't welcome in our kitchens, which means I haven't gotten many of the "gadgety" type things they sell.

                                                    I own and use a ton of their silicone spatulas, many of their bamboo utensils, an offset spatula, various disher/spring-loaded scoops, a little double-sided rolling pin type device... One of the items I have that I use often is their measuring cup that has a plunger on one side of it, which is great for things like peanut butter - you shove the plunger cup in and easily scrape the stuff right into the bowl. The other side can be used for liquids, but the cup isn't clear, so it's not perfect. (See photo.) But I get a TON of use out of it. She actually bought it for me because I'm a huge fan of Alton Brown and he used a similar cup on Good Eats.

                                                    So, my take on it: they have some good items, and they have some crap. If you know what you're doing in the kitchen, you can weed out what will and won't be useful. I can't speak to the price, as I haven't bought anything from them myself, but from other posters' suggestions it sounds like the prices aren't reasonable.

                                                    1. Sorry, I forgot to add the photo of the measuring device I mentioned:

                                                       
                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Ditdah

                                                        Ditdah, I have one of those measuring items too and I use it to dispense bath salts and bubble liquid for the tubs at my BnB. I have never used it in the kitchen. I can't recall who gifted me the gadget in the first place but it always reminded me of a hospital item.

                                                        1. re: Ditdah

                                                          Good gawd, Ditdah, that's the same thing I bought from a colleague's wife as an obligatory purchase. But I actually do use it a lot! In general, I find the stuff adequate, but overpriced.

                                                          Also bought the two-sided magnet with the conversion charts. It does attach go the fridge :)

                                                          1. re: Ditdah

                                                            Oh yea! I have that measuring cup, too. It comes in handy for goopy things.

                                                          2. I went to one Pampered Chef party. The hostess passed one of those silicon spatulas around, and it looked great. BUT--after *everyone* had handled it, she said, "Oh, I need that" and proceeded to use it to mix up the chicken salad she was making.

                                                            I suddenly developed a major headache and had to leave.

                                                            1. SIL used to do PC demos & niece has had a few "shows". They pretty much know I'm NOT gonna buy anything... nothing ever WOWs me... for their prices. Did buy a pizza stone... split right down middle... MY fault, no complaints about product. When SIL stopped dooing the demos, had a closet FULL of gadgets that she accumulated. She gave me one of those apple peeler/corers... can totally zest a whole lemon... but mainly gadget sits on a shelf. She SWEARS by the chopper thing, gave me one... I end up just grabbing a sharp knife. She said their pots/pans were pretty good... but like all non-stick, eventually got a bit tired. I see PC stuff at yard sales... often looks like NEVER even used!?!

                                                              1. I love the stackable cooling racks I purchased from them years ago - they still sell them. They were expensive but worth the price.

                                                                1. My mother gave me a heavy set of PC stoneware that includes a bundt pan, pizza stone, large round baking dish and large bowl. All of them are meant to go in the oven. I have no idea what she paid but as things I received free of charge they are all great ;) the bundt pan makes amazing pound cake, I use it the most often out of everything. The bowl and pizza stone I use for multiple things, and not necessarily baking. PC strikes me as very gimmicky and I would not be interested in hosting a party but I wouldn't consider their products totally useless either.

                                                                  1. My PC wide microplane is used regularly. It stands up which makes grating even easier. And those little brown scraper thingers are great!

                                                                    1. In general, PC makes nice stuff. But, you'll pay for it. They are about 2 or 3 times more expensive than "off the shelf" equivalents.

                                                                      1. I think most of it is overpriced, but I do have three items and I love them all:
                                                                        1. Pizza cutter. It's super sharp and the wheel is big. I actually found it competitively priced.
                                                                        2. Pizza stone. I bought it before they were available everywhere. I have others, but I prefer the PC one still.
                                                                        3. This really skinny scraper spatula that is so useful. It fits into narrow-mouthed bottles that nothing else fits.

                                                                        1. Main benefit to me of the PC line is the warranty. If anything breaks, I just call up the rep, and my item is replaced. I have had a bamboo platter, a scoop and the lid of a prep bowl replaced in 10 yrs. Favorite items are the can opener, stacking cooling racks (I have 6!), stoneware bar pans, various scoops, the brown pan-scraper thingy, and bamboo cooking spoons. Oh, and the glass prep bowls with lids, and the measurements marked on the sides - use every day! Purchased thoughtfully, these items are not any more expensive than multiple purchases of a lesser-quality line.
                                                                          I have that plunger-style measuring cup, too, but rarely use. As for the spring-loaded chopper? I have used twice in 5 years.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KarenDW

                                                                            Hmmm, didn't know about that warranty. The rep from whom I bought a now broken (but amazingly good) garlic press is long gone...think I can just track down customer service from the company?

                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                              Yep :)

                                                                          2. It's the Tupperware party all over again. I have a couple things I bought when a friend was sponsoring a party as a fundraiser, and a couple my MIL gave me (that I'm sure she bought only because she got sucked into attending someones party, and figured she may as well get her Christmas shopping done...)

                                                                            Quality and warranty are pretty good, and I actually like and use all the PC things I have. But still on the expensive side for what you get, and I remember thinking shipping also seemed pricey (seemed to me if you ordered something at a party they should either have it, or ship it to you or at least the party host for free if they don't.) So it's fine, but unless there was something specific I really wanted I wouldn't seek the stuff out over going to a good kitchen store.

                                                                            1. I live in one of those neighborhoods where I'm invited to one party or the other every other week. Before I just started telling people not to invite me anymore (I am sure they still talk about me for that), I attended a couple a year. Definitely aimed at the less than serious cook. Lots of gadgets, but many are clever and good quality. I have the the 8 cup pyrex-like measuring cup, silicon spatulas, the stacking bakers racks, the baking stone (has outlasted all others I've had) and the old bread knife was awesome. Too bad they replaced it with an expensive one - the old one was about $18 and I am still using it. The new one was like $75. I wouldn't pay that for PC stuff. But all the stuff I bought has lasted a long time.

                                                                              I just hate attending those parties. Ugh.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                I was totally comfortable with attending 2-3 parties/year without purchasing anything. Sometimes the host(ess) just needs to have enough bodies so that the Consultant/sales rep can do the presentation. But then I started working evenings, myself, so ended up declining more invitations than not.
                                                                                It's important, I think, not to feel obligated to purchase anything at these events.

                                                                              2. *Bump*

                                                                                My sister sells this stuff. She has a kitchen full of her own because of sales. Decent stuff. Very very solid, in my opinion... But I've never touched a piece of All-Clad brand cookware to compare either, so my ignorance should be accounted for. I'd get some Pampered Chef of my own if at a lower price than they are first sold at. The mystery origin or made-in-China is a turn off though. Again though, they seem pretty bomb-proof.

                                                                                No complaints from my sister. And she's a fellow cast iron freak like me too, meaning that us cast iron nuts need something that's built like a tank in other cookware.

                                                                                Some top notch products are sold solely by "sales people." FilterQueen and Tupperware and Avon come to mind. All very excellent products, no matter what country they are made in. I only assume that Pampered Chef belongs in these high quality ranks also. But maybe my ignorance is bliss :)

                                                                                1. I recently got the round covered baker, and am loving it for quick microwave meals. Also got the medium bar pan and small mix n scraper, which I've been loving, too! I think there are several overpriced PC gadgets but they design it that way, so we are motivated to become a host or consultant (I've done neither). I have no interest in the cookware sets b/c I already have a good collection of Demeyere, Viking, Cuisinart, LeCreuset, and Lodge. I think there is definitely better quality and better priced cookware out there. But the Pampered Chef stoneware is awesome and I have my eyes on the deep covered baker!