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Jan 7, 2013 11:56 AM

Trying to justify the purchase of mauviels frying pans.. What to use it for?

So I have been dreaming of buying a couple pans from Mauviel, the copper m'héritage ones with the inox inside. Possibly with bronze handle.

Problem, after much research, I think I overdid it and I am now wondering if I actually need them. Things is, I just adore the product. It is beautiful and looks like a family heirloom youd keep for decades.
But.. I am reading that copper does not take high heat well..

Currently living in France for a while, i have very crappy cookware (5E ikea pans) for the time being except for a lovely Le Creuset dutch oven that I got from grandma.
But back home (US), I have a beautifully working all clad stainless steel pan that cooks meat great, a bunch of calphalon (non stick, soon to be trashed...hate them now)

So given that meat goes into stainless (or cast iron) for best cooking (according to my research at least), what would a copper mauviel frying pan be good for?
Vegetables? Fish? Meat as well?

I just want to make sure I don't drop 120 euros+ on something I will end up not liking that much.

My ultimate plan for cookware was to have my all clad stainless, a stainless every day saucepan (love my cuisinart for that), a copper frying pan and a copper sauce pan (for sauces), and a small non stick frying pan. As well as a small and a big Le creuset dutch oven.

Do you own copper cookware (with inox inside?). What is it best for? Is it as difficult to clean as the stainless steel all clad ? It copper vs stainless vs ?? just a matter of preferences?

Went to Dehillerin in Paris and ended up buying a (way too) big steel pan. I hate it. I know I am supposed to get it "culotté" and not wash it but it is not for me. I just don't like cooking in it and cooking in old dirt. It might be clean but it is not appealing to me.

Thanks for your input!

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  1. Kiri,

    <copper does not take high heat well>

    Copper itself actually takes high heat fine. For kitchen cooking temperature, it should be fine. Because copper toxicity, copper cookware are coated/lined with another layer of materials to prevent direct food contact. The two most popular choices are: stainless steel and tin. The criticism is that tined-copper cannot handle high temperature, and the reason is that tin soften/melt at a fairly low temperature. In your case, you have a stainless steel cooking surface cookware with a copper core, right? You should be fine. Put it this way, you should not have to treat your Mauviels too different than your All Clad -- beside that you can put All Clad in a dishwasher.

    <So given that meat goes into stainless (or cast iron) for best cooking>

    I don't know if I entirely agree with this. It isn't I disagree with you, but it really depends on what you mean by "best". Best for meat release? Carbon steel and cast iron. Best for producing nice fond? Stainless steel probably.

    <what would a copper mauviel frying pan be good for?
    Vegetables? Fish? Meat as well?>

    Anything as long as you don't have food sticking issue.

    <Do you own copper cookware (with inox inside?)>

    I believe inox is the same as stainless steel.

    1. Hi, kirkara:

      You can cook anything you like in these pans. They are not delicate. About the only use I would be uncomfortable with is preheating them screaming hot before searing.

      You will see faster response times and more evenness than you are used to with your A-C.

      Cleaning... You may conclude the Mauviel takes more work. They should be hand-washed, and I would not use scouring powders on the exteriors.

      A limiting issue of these SS-lined pans is that, as far as I know, no one is currently making them with more than 2.3mm of copper. There are some vintage bimetal pans out there 3mm and above, but they are rare.

      If you're now in Paris, stop by Dehillerin and ask what they offer in "extra-fort" bimetal pans. You might also ask about a mark "STL" (the letter 'T' being larger, like a monogram) Please report back if you find any. Oh, and ask them who makes the pans marked "Dehillerin"--it might settle a matter.


      14 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Thanks Kaleo., I will try to stop by if this can help the community. I would have bought the dehillerin but unfortunately i got a boat load of gift cards to spend...
        And just so you know it is giving me quite the headache.. Let me tell you, sucks.. expensive, poor service.. etc.. Just wish I had other options

        It is interesting though cause i am reading all on its opposite. BKF as an example was given as big nono on another thread for cleaning, but I guess it is good for SS>. this is all so complicated :)
        I think I Will just splurge cause I want to for a fry pan (26cm is not huge it is like 10inch) and a saucepan and i will be happy to have it as paret of my collection when I back home. and regardless it will be better than my $5 ikea pans while i am here.. I would buy another SS while I am here but it would be a waste since I have one back home already... dont want to double up..

        As far as the heat on copper, I was reading that high heat will burn the copper.. I hope that does not happen and that I am able to keep them in decent shape... if there are any thing to know for upkeep let me know! they will be washed by hand for sure..

        1. re: kirikara

          "BKF as an example was given as big nono on another thread for cleaning, but I guess it is good for SS"

          BKF is perfectly fine for SS and copper exteriors. Do not use it or any abrasive on tin. Don't let people who are trying to sell products (like tin) make it overly complicated. Just follow Mauviels suggerstions since you are buying Mauviel pans. The worry can stop there as they have a lifetime warranty.

          1. re: kirikara

            Hi, kirikara:

            BKF is the coarsest abrasive of the big 4 scouring powders. It does a great job of cleaning, but it will ruin a bright polish. Bon Ami is a finer grit and without chlorine or oxyacylic acid.

            Where did you read copper burns? I've annealed copper stock (not pans) by taking it to cherry red--over 1,000F with no ill effects. Even low cooking heat will gradually but temporarily discolor the exposed copper, but it is easily polished back to dazzling.

            I encourage you to go with an iron handle--stays cooler longer.

            Have Fun,

            1. re: kaleokahu

              BKF will not ruin a bright finish. Lets put that in the same category as;

              There's no lead in tin,

              Copper lined with SS will burn separate and fail,

              Handles on 1.5mm copper will pull through the sides of the pot or they will collapse on themselves because they are not 3mm thick.

              Remember each one of the silly things I just listed were all propagated by the same person. One might wonder ....Why?

              Mauviel/WS suggests using BKF. The manufacturer knows what they are talking about.
              If you like I can post a picture of a Mauviel pot that's several years old and has been cleaned weekly with BKF but it might take a day or so, Every one here has the flue....arrrrgh.
              The whole benefit of BKF is the acid it contains. It will clean your pots with out all of the scrubbing the others require but any of them are fine. Copper develops a patina over time. Enjoy it. It's part of the beauty of the product like the patina a fine carbon knife. ;)

              1. re: TraderJoe

                Hi, TJ:

                Wahine recently scratched up a copper saucepan with regular BKF. Like I said, it cleans fine, but it destroys a mirror finish if you rub it in--it's the copper equivalent of 000 steel wool.

                If BKF was the be-all and end all of copper care, what folly it must've been for BKF to have created its non-abrasive copper cleanser. See, e.g., Likewise Mauviel's error in persisting with Copperbrill.

                Since you are so averse to "wear", I'm amused you scour your pans weekly with oxalic acid, for fear it will "damage" them. Copper being only slightly less reactive to acids than tin, I'm shocked (yet unsurprised) you regularly subject your pans' exteriors to all those evil, dissolving acids. God Forbid you should dribble some tomato sauce on the outside! (Although to fully replicate BKF, you'd want to rub tomato paste in with 1000 grit sandpaper).

                I do let my pans' exteriors go for long periods between polishes. But when I do polish a couple times per year, I like them clean and polished, not clean and satin-looking. If you prefer a less-than-polished look like Falk, BKF is great. But such an abraded surface will tarnish a bit sooner than a mirror-polished one. Overall, occasional non-abrasive cleaning and mirror polishing means less "wear", if the idea appeals to you...

                I can't recall ever espousing that 1.5 mm pans collapse on themselves. All those biologically unavailable milligrams of tin (with a microgram of lead thrown in) must be to blame. Better that than tertiary syphilis, I guess.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  "I can't recall ever espousing that 1.5 mm pans collapse on themselves"

                  I'm sure I can dig up the thread. LOL
                  I don't know about syphallis but it could be a little shilling induced cyber tourettes that's to blame for such wacky claims.

                  "Likewise Mauviel's error in persisting with Copperbrill."

                  Yeaaaah I trust the manufucturer a lot more than an unknown entity on the Internet. Like I said, Several years and no problemo with BKF. Still nice and shiny.

                  1. re: TraderJoe


                    Maybe this is what you are thinking of. On May 19, 2012, I wrote:

                    "I see a lot of 1mm copper pots and pans listed on ebay. Imagine a 12.5" x 12.5" stock pot made of 1mm copper. Are you really telling me that it is laughable or absurd to think that such a pot might not deform at all when being carried with 60 pounds of stock in it?"

                    My 2.2mm, 14 Qt, stock pot flexes quite a lot when carried full. And that is only about 25 pounds of liquid and 15 pounds of copper. With a 12.5" x 12.5", 1mm, stock pot, the image I had in mind was, over time, the force exerted on the handle deforming the side walls above and below the rivets from the leverage of the handle against thin-walled copper. We'd be talking about at least 50 pounds of liquid and 10 pounds of copper there. I still think such a pot would deform over time.


                    1. re: jljohn

                      "Maybe this is what you are thinking of. On May 19, 2012, I wrote"

                      Nope. That was the re-post of an earlier statement by another CH which is exactly what I mentioned in the thread you are quoting from.


          2. re: kaleokahu


            Did you have it out with a fellow on ebay selling a bunch of SLT (Sur la Table) copper that he claimed was really Dehillerin's mark?

            I've had a rather maddening and funny exchange over that one!


            1. re: kaleokahu

              "Oh, and ask them who makes the pans marked "Dehillerin"--it might settle a matter."

              I've picked up several pieces from Dehillerin over the past 5 years. The 'inox extra fort' (SS lined) and 'etame extra fort' (tin lined) sauciers and fry pans i have are all stamped "Mauviel Made in France" on one side of the handle and "E. Dehillerin Paris" on the opposite side.

              As to the original question of what the pan is good for? Anything where sticking isn't an issue and especially when you want a good fond.

              1. re: mrbitterpants

                Hi, Mr.:

                Thanks. Someone's head just exploded with the dissonance of the two marks appearing on the same pan: "No, they're Dehillerin! Wait, they're Mauviel! They can't be both! Maybe each made half the pan... [POW]"


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Haha. One's the manufacturer, the other is the retailer.

                  I took a photo for extra head exploding effect. Look far left and far right.

                  1. re: mrbitterpants

                    But? But. But! It just can't be!

                    And since Mauviel only recently shifted from the "Made if France" stamp to the "Mauviel Made in France" stamp, it makes perfect sense that slightly older Dehillerin and Williams-Sonoma copper only say "Made in France" and the Retailer's Name. And, yes, it was still Mauviel copper.

            2. It seems an extravagant choice to me if you are thinking of a large frying pan for searing meat. For that use, a de Buyer Mineral pan would do as well or better for less money. But if you like the SS-lined copper, go ahead and get a smaller (and less expensive) pan — either a small frying pan or sauté pan. The copper will give you excellent control and even heating for making sauces or for delicate jobs like cooking a mess of pan-fried oysters.

              1. As much as I like copper IMO the frying pans are not the best value.
                2mm - 2.5mm copper is just fine. Never pre-heat copper pans to high temps irrespective of the lining being tin or SS. IMO this limits their use considerably.
                Copper fry pans are very nice for any thing you cook on a low or steady heat; Omelets, Crepes etc.
                Caring for the SS lining on a copper pan is really no different than any other SS. Just don't bleach the pans and you can clean away with ease using BKF.
                Chem is correct; Inox is a fairly generic term for SS.

                1. I have two older Mauviel fry pans - 2.5mm, SS lining, cast iron handles. They are among several pieces of copper I own because I was able to buy them over a period of years at very deep discount.

                  I have two nonstick Scanpans I use for eggs, otherwise these copper pans are what I use for all other fry pan uses. I have had no issues at all with them and not found them lacking in performance. I don't worry about overheating more than I would worry about overheating any other good pan. I used one Sat night to sear a piece of halibut and then popped it in the oven to finish it and finally make a quick pan sauce when it came out. Performed great.

                  That said, copper is a big investment and your all clad clearly performs well also. For me, i love my copper....not just for performance. They are beautiful pieces that I keep on display. They make me happy to use and as dumb as it sounds to look at...much like a flower in my garden brings me happiness when I look out the window. Not because of their performance but from their intrinsic beauty. I'm very thankful I had a chance to buy them when I did, I could have never accumulated the collection I have at full retail price, particularly given how much the prices have increased in the past ten years.

                  You mentioned heirloom...I don't have children but do have a nephew who has developed a keen interest in cooking now that he's an adult. I"m so glad to have someone that can use and appreciate/love these pans when I am no longer able.

                  I wouldn't have paid full price for them, but I"m glad I have them. If you can find some while you are in France that represent a good value over what copper pans sell for in the Us you might want to jump on it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ziggylu

                    Ziggylu--Your post made me smile. I feel if something makes you happy to use OR to look at then it's not dumb, it is a wonderful thing! Bless you and your nephew, I hope you cook together and he appreciates the lessons he learns from you...maybe you two can be happy looking at your copper together :)