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Questions about Lagostina Pots, Henckels Frying Pans, Shun Knives, Ingenia mixing bowls

We recently got married and had some gift cards/cash to burn. We are in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Some of the following we did find online for cheaper, but aren't sure if that would hold with shipping. We can return most of this if we want though. Here are the details on the home cookware we got, and the related questions:

http://www.lagostina.ca/html/productD...
We got a 14 piece set from lagostina from Home Outfitters for $180(plus tax
)-Is this a good quality set?
-Is this a good price for the set?
-I hear lagostina is a good brand, but this is Lagostina EuroChef. Is Eurochef a crappy end of lagostina (like international Henckels knives)? Or is it just a naming convention for the specific set of pots?
-One thing I noticed is that water gets trapped in between the panes of glass in the lids. Is this normal/okay?

http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Zw...
http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Zw...
We got 2 Zwilling sol thermolon granite non-stick ceramic coating pans from Home Outfitters. An 8" for $115(plus tax) and a 11" for $170(plus tax). They say they are PTFE-free, PFOA-free and 60% less CO2 when manufactured than most non-sticks. Says it is SIGMA Clad 3-ply. Has stainless steel, aluminum core, and magnetic stainless steel layers. Also has symbols that say it can be used with gas, induction, halogen, electro, ceran, and oven 300 degrees fahrenheit. I couldn't find much about thermolon granite ceramic (not sure how they are granite AND ceramic).
-What is thermolon granite ceramic coating?
-Is it safer than teflon?
-Is it good quality?
-Will the non stick last?
-I've read that ceramic thermolon usually doesn't last as long as teflon pans. In what way(the non-stickiness, or the pan)?
-Do you think that the fact that these are Henckels Zwilling pans add to their longevity?
-We found these online for a much cheaper amount (not sure how much shipping would be though). Was this a good deal?

http://www.houzz.com/photos/950376/Sh...
We got a Shun Classic 7pc Essential block set at House of Knives for $450(plus tax) . We also got a good deal on a particle board as a result(a $49.00 La Cucina Pezzo Board 3/8" 12 x 16 for $24.00, plus tax). Shun is a big name brand, but I'm wondering if we got a fair deal for this set.
-Was this a good deal?
-Are these knives good quality, or are they kind of crappy Shun knives (like Henckels international)?
-We noticed a faint line from the rubbing of some waxy material on the bamboo block. We tried to cover it up using some mineral oil Has anyone else experienced this with Shun blocks being mailing with knives?

(couldn't find a link, sorry
)We got a INGENIA® 4 PC STAINLESS STEEL MIXING BOWL SET from Home Outfitters for $30. Dimensions are: 11" x 6.5", 10" x 5.5", 8.5" x 4.5", 7" x 4"
-We figured we could cheap out on mixing bowls since you aren't cooking anything in them, is this true?
-Was this a good deal?

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  1. First congratulation to the marriage. Second, Vancouver is pretty cool. I was there just a few months ago for a conference.

    I will start with your questions about the Shun since I know much more about Shun than the other items. As you have said, Shun is a big name, and the knives are of high quality. Your question is: Is this a good deal? There are two parts to this question. First, I prefer to spend money toward a good main knife (which can be a Chef's knife or a Santoku or a Gyuto...etc) because the main knife is used the most. You don't really need to spend too much on other knives. Second, given that you do like the 7-pieces strategy, then this is a reasonable deal for $600. This is pretty much the current price range. Although 'Overstock' was selling it for less than $400:

    http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/...

    The knives in your link is the Shun 'Classic' knives. They are the standard of Shun knives, much like Henckels Four Star. No, your knives are not equivalent to Henckels International -- that would probably be Shun Daido:

    http://www.kershawknives.com/searchre...

    About your 'Lagostina' cookware, it looks like to be disc-bottom cladding. Some people like disc bottom, while others like full cladded. So I am bounding the question back to you. Do you know what you like? As for the water trap thing, yes, this is common for some of the designs, but the newer lid designs minimize this.

    As far as Nonstick ceramic pans go, they usually have a short lifespan than the standard Teflon nonstick pans. By that, we mean its ability to maintain the nonstick characteristic. I am not going to get specific into the safety issue because you have people who would argue Teflon is very safe to very unsafe. If you think Teflon is very unsafe, then obviously this is safer. If you think Teflon is very safe, then this is potentially less safe, right? I think this is an entire different topic, if you want to open it up. I definitely do not think the brand 'Henckels' adds longevity.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Thank you for the reply and the congrats! Yes, we love Vancouver. We moved here when we got engaged, about a year ago =) What conference were you at?

      Okay, I'm pretty happy about the shun knives as we got them for $450 from house of knives, not $600. Any experience with the rubbing on the block?

      We did not know of either disc bottom cladding or full cladding before. I'll look into that. Assuming we didn't care, would this be a good price? Is the set a decent quality? What are your thoughts on the Eurochef aspect of the brand?

      I'm not big on teflon due to bad experiences (my wife had a roommate who scratched hers up with a metal utensil and she used it for ~3 years not knowing about the health risks). Do you think we paid a bad price for these pans? Do you think the ceramic pans usually go because people cook with them on the highest heat setting? Does the fact that it has "granite" change anything? I guess time will tell for us. If we have issues, we'll probably try an iron clad later on, though I'm not crazy about having to season it. I wish there was an industry for providing that service. I've heard you have to season it according to what you are cooking as well?

      What are your thoughts on the mixing bowls?

      1. re: johnnybravo

        I went to a scientific conference sometime late May in the downtown conference area. In fact, I seek restaurant suggestion on Chowhound in an earlier post:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8499...

        <Any experience with the rubbing on the block?>

        No, sorry. In fact, just to clarify, you are talking a waxy film, right? Not a crack.

        I don't know of the Eurochef cookware, so I cannot weight much opinion on it. It is pretty inexpensive since you got the whole set for $180. Again, I cannot say much about its quality.

        For the ceramic pan, I think $50 and $80 are on the high side for these pans. I don't think the granite part really means much because it is just a marketing label. Kind of like these "platinum" pans you see around.

        As for your cast iron cookware comment, you can go for cast iron or carbon steel as you can season both types of cookware. As for the seasoning service you talk about, most cast iron cookware actually came with a preseasoned surface. Unfortunately, they are usually poorly done.

        I agree with you about the mixing bowl. As long as they are reasonably thick -- not so thin that you think they will bend or dent, then they serve their purpose.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Yes, it is a waxy film. The knives and block came in a box. The knives were in their own seperate box, and I suspect that the waxy film is from the tape on the knives box rubbing against the block, but I can't be sure.

          I actually paid $115(plus tax) and $170(plus tax) for an 8" and 11" pan. So maybe I should return these and get them online. I'm not sure if the $150 in savings (minus shipping and border tax) is worth the effort/wait.

          How hard is it to season cast iron? How often do you have to repeat it? What's the main difference between cast iron and carbon steele in your opinion?

          1. re: johnnybravo

            If it is from the tape, then it is fairly easy to remove. My suspension is that the waxy film you see is the glue. The glue which is used to assemble the bamboo knife block.

            <I actually paid $115(plus tax) and $170(plus tax) for an 8" and 11" pan>

            These are a lot. I usually do not encourage people return the cookware until they are defected, but in this case, I think you can get equivalent pans without spending nearly this much.

            <How hard is it to season cast iron? How often do you have to repeat it? What's the main difference between cast iron and carbon steele in your opinion?>

            It can be difficult the first time, but once you know the in and out, then it is very easy. As for reseasoning, it depends on the circumstance. For a fry pan, you may not ever have to reseason it again. For a Dutch Oven, you are bound to reseason it due to excessive liquid. Cast iron is more brittle and harder than carbon steel. As such, cast iron cookware are thicker than carbon steel cookware -- thus cast iron cookware are also heavier.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Are there any advantages cast iron have over carbon steel? (I feel like the heaviness of cast iron is a con)

              1. re: johnnybravo

                That is an excellent point. Carbon steel can be made thinner, and therefore lighter (it is just as dense). Carbon steel also is less brittle. I suppose, in general, carbon steel is bit more expensive. Let's take Lodge for examples:

                Its 12 inch cast iron pan is about $19,
                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L10SK3-12...

                while its 12 inch carbon steel pan is about $40:
                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-CRS12-Sea...

                Finally, the cast iron pan surface is almost always rougher than carbon steel pan. Some see this as a con, while others see this as a pro

      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I have the fully clad version of Lagostina. I got a set from Williams Sonoma. I love it. It is not the same as the one in your link. If you run into some that is fully clad, I would scoop it up! Lagostina was purchased by the same company that now owns All-Clad so you started seeing it in Williams Sonoma. I believe they recently sent a bunch to the WS outlet store because I picked up a set for a great price. I really like it.

        1. re: AmyEsq

          Why do you prefer fully clad over disc bottom cladding?

          1. re: johnnybravo

            I do prefer fully clad but it really depends on the pan. Some pans you really don't need it...like a stock pot. One of the major reasons that I like it is there isn't a risk of the disk separating from the bottom. I know it is rare but it does happen...especially if you talk to all those people that bought the cheap Ultrex from HSN. They told everyone that they would have a lifetime warranty and when the pans started exploding... they changed their name and fell off the face of the earth and HSN told them too bad. Luckily I don't buy from them.

            I have both disk bottom and fully clad...In fact, I have a whole room full of cookware of almost every brand that there is...but I do have my favorites. I guess it is a matter of preference. Some pans heat way too fast and you cannot control them at a simmer...especially if you have a powerful gas stove. On the other hand, for non-powerful stoves, you need a thinner pan. I have a gas stove in my RV that cannot for the life of it drive some of my heavier pans. I went out and purchased a cheap old set of Tools of the Trade pans at Macy's because it works the best. It is not an ideal situation and I have to be careful with them...but my fully clad pans don't heat on that stove. On the other side of the coin, I have a Camp Chef outdoor stove that packs a punch...I think it has BTUs out your ears...and it drive any pan that you put on it. One downside is that for some pans it is way too much. If I am making chili and I have a disk bottom pot, I cannot keep it at a simmer. Even at the lowest flame that I can get on it, it boils. I need a very high quality fully clad pot to get a low simmer on that stove.

      3. Hi. Congrats on getting hitched.
        I'm not familiar with the Henckel pans, but generally haven't been impressed with "better" non sticks pans.  To me, they don't perform any better and the extra lifespan of the non stick surface was not enough to justify the additional cost.  I  view non stick pans as disposable and will just get something decent & replace them when the coating wears away.  

        Like chem, I'm not into knife sets as most contain knives that I don't want.  Plus, I prefer to spend more money on the ones that I use most / less on the others.   If I'm not mistaken, the Henckel international is a budget tier, German steeled knife...the Shun Classic is a mid-tier, Japanese steeled knife.  Different price and performance class.

        15 Replies
        1. re: JavaBean

          <the Shun Classic is a mid-tier, Japanese steeled knife.>

          Excellent point. :)

          However, to many people Shun Classic is a top tier -- since everyone has a different budget and different perspective. I would call the Shun knives a mid tier now, but I think most people would consider spending more than $100 on a Chef's knife is too much.

          I think it is like cars. Is a BMW a mid tier car or a top tier car?

          I find it amusing how much I have changed on my perspective on knife price. If you ask me just a few years ago, then I would say spending $30-40 on a knife (like Victorinox or Dexter Russell) is a lot of money. Now, $300 seems reasonable.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Hahaha, I totally would consider Shun top tier in terms of cost :P as I would with BMW, but I grew up in a family who drove lemons. On the other hand, my family would build/buy expensive homes instead (dad was a carpenter), so I probably have a higher expectation for house values. I'm a software engineer, so the same probably goes for computers (about to dump +$2500 into a new computer....until I add/upgrade various components. Most people can get a computer that suits their needs for ~$200). I guess the more you learn about a trade, the better tools you want. Maybe oblivion really is bliss?

            1. re: johnnybravo

              <about to dump +$2500 into a new computer>

              I think I spend a bit more than I need on computers. Usually around $1500-2000 for a laptop. It is not that powerful consider it is a laptop. Conversely, $2000 desktop would get me something very nice -- maybe I should consider going back to desktop.

              As for knives, we have people who think $50 is the most they can spend on a knife, while others won't think twice for a $500 knife. Similar to your computer analogue.
              .

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                What do you do with your computers? If you are just checking emails/surfing the web/using office, then I would recommend getting a netbook. I love mine :) The new google tablets might be pretty good/cheap as well.

                If you are developing, audio editing, video editing, high-end gaming etc. then I would suggest a desktop.

                1. re: johnnybravo

                  <If you are developing, audio editing, video editing, high-end gaming etc. then I would suggest a desktop.>

                  None of these.... except maybe gaming. :P

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Okay. What kind of games? If you are playing facebook games or solitaire, it isn't going to matter. If you're playing BF3 or Star Wars on the highest setting, then you might care. If you're wanting to play the best games on highest quality settings, the main things to look at would be: 1) A dual-core (quad-core at most) CPU 2) A high end graphics card 3)4-8GB ram

                    1. re: johnnybravo

                      :) Moderate games.... like civilization IV and Warcraft III. Actually, I don't really need a good computer for these, and I really do not have a good computer -- again considering that I have a laptop.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Hmmm...Civ4 didn't go so well on my netbook. I feel that unless you have a good justification for wanting a laptop as a gaming device, there's no reason why you would get a laptop over a pc. I would recommend getting a gaming pc, and if you want something mobile for travelling and checking mail and whatnot, then get a netbook as well. a netbook+pc > laptop in terms of price and speed

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Hi chem.  Yeah, performance class is very subjective and highly dependent upon what the users' baseline is.  I labeled the Shun classic as a mid tier j knife bc its' VG-10 blade is generally considered to be better than the  Molybdenum, VG-1, etc.steels of budget tier knives, and not as good as Shuns own SG2 or other "knife nerd" class knives. 

              I've always appreciated a good, sharp knife, but my whole perspective of what a good, sharp knife is changed dramatically when i transitioned from German to Japanese steeled knives and even more when i got a single bevel one.  I still remember rummaging through the fridge for anything to cut.  

              1. re: JavaBean

                <I've always appreciated a good, sharp knife, but my whole perspective of what a good, sharp knife is changed dramatically when i transitioned from German to Japanese steeled knives and even more when i got a single bevel one.>

                Me too. I was a big believer of the German knives and thought most people who like Japanese are just influenced up by the idea of samurai and ninja. This explains my first expensive knife is a Wusthof Blackwood Ikon. Then, I bought a Shun Classic bread knife on sell, and its sharpness was at a different level The rest is history. So I can without a doubt say that I was a German knife believer who resisted the Japanese knife design at first.

                <I still remember rummaging through the fridge for anything to cut.>

                Yeah, I wasn't too proud of that. :) I was cutting foods which I didn't really need just to test my various knives. I still do it whenever I get a brand new knife, but not nearly as crazy.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Like pretty much everyone that I know, I grew up believing German knives were best. I inherited a couple of Henckels from my parents and as soon as I could afford to get my own, I ran out and got me some Wusthof Classics. Sturdy, heavy and built like a tank…HOOYAH! Many years later, I tried a global and even though I couldn’t stand the handle, it ran circles around my Wusthofs. It was the first time I had ever cut a carrot without cracking it…SOB! Although I still have some German knives for things and folks (mom-in-law == knife killer) that would damage a J-knife, I don’t foresee ever going back to using one as goto blade.

                  Did Wusthof do something special to the Blackwood Ikon blade or is it just another regurgitated Classic with a fancy handle / bolster?

                  Shun Classic bread knife…wow! You are way more serious about bread knives than I am. I’m still waiting for my $20 POS to wear out, so I splurge on something fancy like a Victorinox :-)

                  1. re: JavaBean

                    <Did Wusthof do something special to the Blackwood Ikon blade or is it just another regurgitated Classic with a fancy handle / bolster? >

                    Mostly just a better handle and bolster. I heard a rumor -- not sure if it is true. At one point, when Ikon was first laucned, Ikon was made slightly harder (higher HRC at 58) than the rest of the Wusthof knives (lower than 58). However, later on, all the the other Wusthof knives were also made slightly harder. So there is no difference in the Classic steel and the Ikon steel now, but there was. Not really sure if that rumor is true.

                    <Shun Classic bread knife…wow! You are way more serious about bread knives than I am>

                    Well, I bought it for three reasons. 1) Everyone said the third most important knife is the bread knife (which now I disagree), 2) It was on sale, 3) at the time Shun offered free knife sharpening and I knew bread knife is the toughest to sharpen.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks. I overheard a saleslady at WS saying the Icon blade was better, but she didn’t say why and I wasn’t sure if it was just a sales pitch.

                      At least you got Shun on sale and it will likely last a lifetime plus. BTW, I saw my coworkers’ shuns come back from the free sharpening and it wasn’t very good.

            3. re: JavaBean

              < To me, they don't perform any better and the extra lifespan of the non stick surface was not enough to justify the additional cost. >

              Can you give me an estimate on the lifespan? months? years?

              Is this generally because users are using them improperly (putting burners on high heat, pouring water on pan and causing cooling temperature too fast, or putting in dishwasher). Here's a review on a similiar henckels pan to ours, but I have no idea how long they used it for: http://wizzley.com/non-stick-frying-pan/

              1. re: johnnybravo

                Hard to say exactly, but I recall the two caphalon and one other (don't remember the brand) costing much more, but only lasting maybe a year longer than than the tfals. All were hand washed by moi.

            4. I'm only going to speak to your Zwilling pan purchase. I bought the same pan and I'm very happy with the non-stick performance so far - eggs literally slide out of the pan. I purchased online through Williams Food Equipment (a bit cheaper than Home Outfitters) and the salesperson there vouches for the reliability of the product. They have had almost no issues/returns regarding the Sol line and reviews with Amazon etc. have been quite positive. I also include this link regarding the safety of PTFE and PFOA (Teflon) pans:

              http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

              If PFTE is to be eliminated by 2015, then obviously there are some health concerns out there.
              If you can afford them, why not choose the healthier option.

              I've only had the pan for a month so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the finish will last awhile. Congratulations and hope you're enjoying your purchases!