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Jan 15, 2013 06:16 AM

Sanity check, please - Cookware use and warranty


Before (and maybe instead of) I escalate this issue with the cookware manufacturer, I would like your input.

For Christmas, my dear wife presented me with a set of clad stainless steel cookware. This set is branded by a company that I respect.

Going against type, I actually skimmed the Use and Care information provided with the product. The pamphlet was careful to indicate that food could burn if the product was used on high heat.

Got it…logical and intuitive.

The first use I put the product to was boiling water (in the 2.5qt pan) for grits. Naturally, I cranked up the heat, to get to boiling soonest, and waited for a rolling boil.

Before adding the grits, I noticed anomalies in the bottom of the pan. My first instinct was “how did I get coffee grounds in there?”. There were spots and streaks in the bottom of the brand new pan.

After dumping the water and giving the vessel a good hand washing, I found that the stainless steel had de-laminated from the aluminum disc in the bottom of the pan.

After two communications with the manufacturer, I have been clearly informed that boiling water, on high heat, has voided my warranty.

The question: Am I unreasonable to expect that I should be able to boil water, on high heat, with a decent quality SS clad vessel?

Sorry for the long post. I needed the time to allow me to inch away from the ledge!

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  1. I'm not familiar with the cookware you've described but I'd say boiling water at "normal" stovetop temperatures is such a basic function that virtually all cookware products should hold up in such circumstances. Weaseling out of a basic function, by way of a pamphlet that many don't bother to read, is wrong and would annoy the heck out of me too.

    A few years ago, I got a Martha Steward enameled dutch oven (knock off Le Creuset). Upon reading the label, I saw a warning to the effect of "don't use this on high heat." I'd gotten a really great discount and didn't want to return it and have successfully used in both oven and stovetop at a range of temps.

    1. It's not you but the manufacturer that's being unreasonable. Either the pan was defective and should be replaced, or the manufacturer's whole line is badly made if it can't stand the heat of normal kitchen use. Have you tried any of the other cookware yet?

      In your place, I'd try to escalate the complaint within the company, or failling that, at least spread the word. The Better Business Bureau might be appropriate.

      6 Replies
      1. re: John Francis

        Thank you for the comments, so far.

        I remain loathe to reveal the name of the brand, but will if it’s apparent that this information is salient to the discussion.

        I have NOT used any of the other pieces, yet, as I was hoping for a “better” response from the company.

        The online description of this product reads as follows:
        XXXXX stainless cookware is premium cookware that features professional construction an aluminum disc in the base is bonded to a stainless interior and a stainless exterior a fusion of the best materials for cooking, offering unsurpassed performance. The aluminum encapsulated base maintains even heat distribution, eliminating hot spots. Premium stainless steel cooking surfaces do not react with food or alter natural flavors. Elegant styling and a robust silhouette make for a professional look cook with added flair with this unique cookware! Set includes: 8 in. Skillet, 10 in. Skillet, 1.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 3 qt. Sauté pan with cover & helper handle, 4 qt. Dutch oven with cover, 8 qt. Stockpot with cover, steamer insert (fits 8 qt. Stockpot).

        • Set includes: 8 in. Skillet, 10 in. Skillet, 1.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 3 qt. Sauté pan with cover & helper handle, 4 qt. Dutch oven with cover, 8 qt. Stockpot with cover, steamer insert (fits 8 qt. Stockpot)
        • Lifetime warranty
        • Classic stainless steel professional performance in a distinct silhouette design
        • Superior heat distribution-pure aluminum-encapsulated base heats quickly and enables even heat distribution for consistent results
        • Keep cooking cool maintain a solid grip with an always cool, always secure handle, contoured to your hand for extra comfort
        • Professionally riveted stainless steel handles ensure a lifetime of balanced cooking
        • Convenient tempered glass covers slee, flat glass lids with stainless rims seal in moisture and flavor
        • Dishwasher safe

        1. re: Monch

          Just a side note: all one has to do is take one of the more detailed bullet points and Google it and the manufacturer of your cookware will become apparent. :)

          That said, I am not a fan of that manufacturer's cookware at all. Their small appliances are fine, but I do not like their cookware. I've had a couple of pieces and found they did not last long. Fortunately, I received the pieces for free so had no problem disposing of them when I found they were no longer useful.

          "The pamphlet was careful to indicate that food could burn if the product was used on high heat."

          Is water "food?" Therefore, did you in fact void the warranty? You might try that argument with the manufacturer. Can't hurt.


          1. re: ttoommyy

            Of course, TT, but I can breathe easy that I have not, yet told the assembled team of experts that the set is marketed by Cuisinart....Whoops.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              Yes, that's exactly what I did, thanks Monch :)

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Did you burn the water? I think not.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  I googled "stainless cookware is premium cookware that features professional construction"

            2. Wow, I don't want to hear this right now! I am looking at some SS clad pieces to supplement the copper/tin cookware I am hopefully going to get to order this I'll be paranoid about my choices!!

              1. I suppose you have already asked the question, if you can't boil water in it, what's it good for? How long does it take to boil water on medium heat? I certianly don't think it's unreasonable to expect to be able to boil water in a pot, regardless of the construction.

                With the appearant crack in the pot, does it still hold water? I'm trying to visualize what the construction must be like. I always thought disc bottomed pans had a continous SS lining and the disc was on the outside. If that's not the case, it sounds like a design flaw.

                I always start off very nice, but once I have determined that there is nothing more to loose and the person has no intention of trying ot help me, I'm not so nice. My suggestion is to continue to try to escalate your call to the company to a higher level, everyone has a supervisor. Another option may be to return it to the place where it was purchased. This isn't always effective, but it's another potential route to a resolution to your problem.

                1. That's ridiculous. Water stabilizes the overall temperature and carries heat away from the bottom by convection. Any saucepan with sufficient water in it should be able to take the full heat of an ordinary burner to bring the water to boiling, in my opinion.

                  I never worry about the burner setting when I boil water in my All-Clad saucepan, but it's MC2 (no exterior cladding) and I don't have high power burners. What type and power of burner were you using here?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    Thanks all,

                    It's good to hear that my expectations are not unreasonable, but rather the company's response is unreasonable.

                    I'll be pursuing a refund through the seller...Overstock....they have a great reputation for service.

                    For clarity of the issue, I'm attaching a photo of the issue. These areas of flaking began occuring after only ten minutes of use....I had no intention of giving the product any further use, after this condition began.

                    I'll get the cash in hand and buy pieces from my local, independent, kitchen supply store. Even HE thinks this is ridiculous behavior on Cuisinart's part.


                    1. re: Monch

                      Wow, so those spots are actual pits going down to the aluminum disk? Wow again. From BOILING WATER on a regular household range??? Truly, that is absurd.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        True on all counts, tcamp.

                        AND on only the first use...ten minutes of heat...TOPS.

                    2. re: GH1618

                      Standard burner...nothing extraordinary.

                      I HAVE a power burner and didn't even us it in this scenario.

                      Simply put the vessel on a normal, residential range, and turned the heat to "High"...who wouldn't do that TO BOIL WATER? :-)