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May 10, 2013 03:15 PM

Looking to buy an omelette pan from the Potshop of Boston. Would a well seasoned natural sand finish cast aluminum pan have any advantages over the nonstick cast aluminum pan?

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  1. I've lived in Boston for 35 years and never heard of this outfit, despite the fact that their original location is a block away from my office.

    There is really only one reason to have a non-stick skillet and that's eggs. So I'd vote for that. But I don't make eggs very often.

    If you are really into omelettes and are willing to put in the effort to season a "sand" finish into an egg pan then maybe that would be better.

    But $170 for an omelette pan seems really steep to me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      Im not put off by the price. I spend more money on haircuts. I can just skip a haircut lol.

      The fact that this pan is related to julia child probably bumps the price up but its made in america and i would be supporting a small america business. For something that will probably last a lifetime its a small investment. It also helps that its recommended by Cook's Illustrated.

      1. re: jaykayen

        Jacques Pepin did also, in his video. But I'm sure either one could have used a well-seasoned aluminum pan.

        1. re: GH1618

          Or a Carbon Steel skillet as JP mentions is his favorite in one of his videos. Heck, I bet either could have made a great omelette in an oval enameled dutch oven, or a plastic 6 gallon bucket, or in a . . . you take my point.

          What Julia uses in her videos should be understood in context. She always had plenty of copper on the wall and mentioned that they were the best for many tasks, but she never used them in the videos. Similarly, she shows the status pan in the beginning of the omelette video and proceeds to use the teflon. Her show was geared toward the home cook, who would not have had copper or a status pan. She used on the show what the home cook would have had in her/his cupboard.

          [EDITED to say that I see you have communicated this same notion below.]

        2. re: jaykayen

          I'm kind of surprised she was cooking on an electric stove too

          1. re: Atomic76

            That was a constraint of the studio space she was using.

            1. re: Atomic76

              I would guess Julia Child could have cooked an omelette over a camp fire with a rusty shovel and have better results than most of us could with a 200 dollar pan over the best gas burner money can buy.

              If money is no object the original poster should buy what ever pan makes them happy.

              The pan is not the critical element of an omelette. The skill of the cook is a much bigger factor.

              The biggest advantage to using nonstick is it browns food better, something I don't prefer in an omelette.

              Most professionals now use nonstick because it's easier and you never have to worry about the pan needing reseasoned in the middle of Sunday brunch rush. If you have ever had a pan start to stick while you are working a 8 pan omelette station, in a high volume restaurant, you would prefer nonstick too.

              Pans, like kitchen knives are a lot about preference and for some people status.

              If you want to be able to cook for family and friends and show them how you couldn't of done it without a $170 pan that's great.

              I am more in the camp of cooking for family and friends and have them tell me how great I am because i did it with a pan I picked up at a going out of business sale for ten bucks.

              Me, personally, if 170 dollars is not a problem for a specific use like an omelette, I would probably use my money to eat out and relax while someone else cooks my breakfast.

              I have worked in, owned and managed restaurants and if I never cooked another egg in my life I would be okay.

              So all I want to know is - when will will the omelettes be served and can I bring anything?

              1. re: JPatDyer

                As much as I love Julia Child, I think her omelets are sloppy.

                "The biggest advantage to using nonstick is it browns food better, something I don't prefer in an omelette."

                I think you mean the opposite. Nonstick is crap for browning.

                1. re: JPatDyer

                  We cook because we like such activity, it brings us a joy.

                  1. re: GalinaL

                    Well said. I cook because I want to, not because I have to.

                    Some people want a 10 point Buck or a 10 pound Bass. For me a great meal I made is where it's at.

            2. I think the only advantage would be that a plain aluminum pan would not deteriorate the way a nonstick pan might over time. But a nonstick pan can also last a long time if it's not abused.

              The heavy weight of that aluminum pan is an advantage over any pan which is too light, regardless of surface, in my opinion.

              13 Replies
              1. re: GH1618

                This is exactly what i wanted to know. I want my pans to outlive me so i'll go for the sand finish.

                1. re: JenniferLopez

                  I wouldn't pay that much, but if you are into omelettes and the price is not an issue, and you like that pan, then go for it.

                  One reason both Child and Pepin used a relatively inexpensive nonstick pan in their demonstrations is that they wouldn't have wanted to put off viewers by making them think that they needed a very expensive pan, and they wouldn't have wanted their viewers to have bad luck with their omelettes by using a poorly seasoned pan.

                  I would get the eight-inch pan, which is the right size for a three-egg omelette, and would season it well with Crisco before using it. Then I would use it only for omelettes and cook them in butter.

                  By the way, I have a Calphalon aluminum omelette pan which I seasoned with Crisco. (I don't use it for ometettes, though.) It cleans up very well with just hot water, the same as a seasoned cast iron pan.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I agree I dont need a pan that expensive. I actually have an 8 inch nonstick already. tbh...I dont really make omelets often either. I just wanted to buy something. xD I will make sure to season it well and will probably christen it with
                    bacon to help move along the seasoning. Thanks for the help though.

                    1. re: JenniferLopez

                      If you want a seasoned pan, then why not a carbon steel pan? Aluminum does not hold on to seasoning nearly the same way as a carbon steel pan does. I also think the price is high for an aluminum pan. You can easily go to a local kitchen supply store and pay 1/3rd to 1/2th of this price.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        The OP wrote that price was no object. Some people probably wonder why you will pay so much for a Japanese knife.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          I understand that the OP wrote that price is no object, but I like to think additional price should return additional benefits. I am not sure if this particular aluminum pan has some special characteristics compared to other aluminum pans. If it is an triply pan, then it is cheap. All I can say is that I personally find the price high for an aluminum pan.

                          As for Japanese knives, you know I rarely suggest people to buy expensive Japanese knives anyway:

                          "...Hiromoto AS is known to be a very good value knife. Very good steel, good build, and not too expensive -- not much more than a standard Wusthof or a Henckels knife."


                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            There is always an intangible benefit in the satisfaction of owning something nice. This is entirely subjective, but nevertheless real.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              <There is always an intangible benefit in the satisfaction of owning something nice>

                              In this case, what is the nice part? I didn't read all the other posts, so I have no idea.

                              <This is entirely subjective>

                              The perspective is subjective, but the data behind can be objective. Let's say you are considering to pay more for a computer with more processor power. Now, the need for the faster processor is subjective, but there is an objective difference between a single processor and a dual processor.

                              Keep in mind that I wrote " I also think the price is high for an aluminum pan....." I didn't strongly object the original poster to get it. All I said is that I think the price is high for an aluminum pan. Realistically speaking, this is a point you made as well and probably in a stronger tone "I wouldn't pay that much....."

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                The nice part is that the OP likes a particular pan, that's all. Maybe it's the wooden handle. I have a few things which are a little extravagant, just because I like them. I don't need to do a cost-benefit analysis on everything.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  <The nice part is that the OP likes a particular pan, that's all. >

                                  You are mistaking reasoning and conclusion. I was asking what is to like, what is the nice part. Having the original poster likes it -- is a circular reasoning. Moreover, the original post asks "...Would a well seasoned natural sand finish cast aluminum pan have any advantages over the nonstick cast aluminum pan? "

                                  How am I suppose to know the original poster has already made up her mind? I didn't know that. I gave my honest comparison between a nonstick pan and a bare aluminum pan. Please tell me what I have written was wrong. Is it because I said the pan is expensive? But you wrote that too. So what did I write was wrong? Please quote it. I am very confused about your objection.

                                  The original poster can get whatever he/she likes.

                                  < I don't need to do a cost-benefit analysis on everything.>

                                  No, you don't. Not normally anyway. BUT if you write a post and ask people what do they think of your extravagant things, then don't expect everyone to agree with your original decision. Here is a post asking for inputs, right?

                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Loving my new carbon steel wok so a carbon steel omelet pan is definitely open for speculation. Trying to look for one for comparison but would like curved short sides. Most of them seem to be a little sharp angled for my tastes.

                          On the flip side, I believe the high price for the Pot Shop of Boston pan is due to the thickness of the aluminum. I've tried looking for the thicker aluminum pans which omeleteers tend to favor but haven't found any as of yet. Most dont appear as thick.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            But an aluminium pan without coating does gets very non-sticky with use even without developing visible seasoning like CI does and perform very well as an omelet pan.

                    2. re: GH1618

                      I've never had to replace a nonstick skillet.

                    3. The bare cast aluminum pans can go up to much higher temperature than nonstick pans. However, for an omelette pan, I don't see the advantages here. I really don't.

                      1. Hi, JLo:

                        You are really going after some good pans.... Good for you.

                        IIWY, I would skip the nonstick. The PTFE is going to degrade within a few years, and then you either throw it away ($170) or you pay at least that much to have it bead-blasted and/or polished.

                        I would choose between the polished and sand. If you've never cooked in a pan like this before, the term "seasoning" is a little misleading if you're expecting a process like that used on cast iron. Unlike with CI, there really is no built-up layer of anything.

                        I chose a vintage pan of the same thickness (about 6mm) and great renown, about which I posted here: It started life as a highly polished pan, and still is far more polished than not. My experience with it is that it holds the "seasoning" well--and long, so long as it's used as a dedicated omelet pan, and you just wipe and rinse to clean.

                        The thing about seasoning and cleaning these pans that many people miss is that if you toast the seasoning (e.g., Aunt Em scours it out, spouse fries bacon in it, or you overheat while seasoning) the seasoning is restored much more easily than with CI. So when PSB says the sand cast texture "holds seasoning better" that may be true, but the margin is smaller than one would think from reading their copy.

                        Whatever you buy, enjoy!


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          I've seen that post while looking up omelet pans and I am jealous. Looked up Randolph Stanish omelet pans but the pans I find aren't nearly as thick and have plastic handles. Guard your pan with your life lol.