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Nov 25, 2013 02:50 PM

Alessi Cookware?

Greetings all! I purchased a couple of Alessi saucepans recently and was wondering if they were actually any good - compared to All Clad, or Calphalon... anyone else ever cooked with Alessi?

I bought the NF105/18CB and the NF105/15CB.


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  1. Never heard of them, sorry.

    But following your link, they seem a bit odd and very expensive. Like objects of art rather than cooking tools. No mention (that I could find) of their construction which is the most important thing.

    1. They do seem pricey for tri-ply cookware, but then again, those are some fat handles, and the lids are double-walled.

      What led you to them?

      3 Replies
      1. re: DuffyH

        Well, I really liked the styling of them and got them on super sale!

        1. re: cmolineaux

          Then I say it's a win. Happy cooking! :)

          1. re: cmolineaux

            Me too. They are excellent quality and for the price, it's a no brainer.

        2. I have Alessi kettle and absolutely love it. I had it for about eight years, use it every day and it looks almost brand new. Imagine pots would be of great quality as well as good looking.

          1. Hi, cmolineaux:

            Alessi is good stuff. Their lines are all emphasizing outside industrial designers, sort of MOMA for the common cook. It therefore tends to be more expensive than conventional lines of the same general quality. Compare the John Pawson line for Demeyere.


            8 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              Thanks! So in terms of quality, what would you compare the Shiba line to?

              1. re: cmolineaux

                It is difficult to say without knowing the specifics of construction and the thickness of the core. If the core is 2mm, probably the equivalent of the W-S Thermoclad.

                The wood handles are beautiful and great for stovetop use, but they preclude putting things into the oven...


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Thanks! I actually got the black pieces that have bakelite handles :) I'm not familiar with the Thermoclad. Is that like the All Clad Copper Core? I have a few of those pieces and LOVE them.

                  1. re: cmolineaux

                    No, Thermoclad is fully-clad aluminum, made for W-S by Heston (Meyer's premier factory in Italy).

                    Does the product info say the bakelite is oven-safe?


                      1. re: cmolineaux

                        Hi, cmolineaux: "It doesn't say!"

                        It rarely does. Most makers don't want people to know, don't want them making purely objective decisions. Some say it's proprietary. Others provide cutaways to their retailers, which you can measure yourself. Only the ones who are truly proud of their cores' thickness will even give out the info on request.

                        Please post a review of your experience with the Alessi's Shiba.


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          If the handles are indeed "Bakelite" then they would be oven safe up to 450 F or so in my professional opinion. About the same as the "Bakelite" knob on Le Cruset. They tell you higher temperatures than that, but they will show signs of thermal distress after a few trips over 500.

            2. The Shiba line looks pretty good, but probably overpriced if all you want is sheer performance and don't care about looks. I'll tell you why this is probably true: there is no thickness stated, which probably means it is nothing to brag about. If it were thicker than All-Clad and its ilk, don't you think they would have stated as much? Thus the heat spreading ability is probably similar to All-Clad and possibly worse.

              Bakelite handles are probably fine though they usually top out at 350 to 400F in the oven, worse than all-metal handles. Might not be dishwasher safe--I wouldn't dishwasher them even if they claim it is safe, just in case.

              Alessi is an Italian brand that hires designers/architects/etc. to lend their name and expertise in designing cookware. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't--would you hire an architect to build your car? Probably not, right?

              By the way, I actually own some A di Alessi pieces, which is their lower-price tier. I have a pair of A di Alessi steamer inserts designed by Jasper Morrison. They are good quality unriveted, though the design has an annoyingly narrow ridge that food can get stuck in. They are 18/10 stainless steel and about average in terms of food stickiness as compared to other 18/10 steamer inserts. The steamers are made in China, with a funny (informative? defensive? reassuring?) sticker on the box bottom saying that all Alessi products are built to exactly Alessi's precise specs regardless of country of manufacture. This appears to be true, as the fit and finish were perfect, which is more than what I can say for certain other brands, some of which are built in the EU.


              6 Replies
              1. re: centurylife_dot_org

                I recently saw the Shiba cookware on sale at for 85% off and bought a boatload of stuff. At one point, the saucepans and frying pan were selling for $12 each! ($210. retail) I know this seems absurd, and maybe it was an error, but I took serious advantage. Received my first piece last week with everything else backordered. It is an awesome stockpot-very heavy construction and beautifully made. Would surely give all-clad a run for the money. Here are my thoughts-
                I have been collecting Alessi for decades. I have all of their stovetop espresso makers including the Neapolitan and some of the Twergi pieces made from various fruitwoods, like the cheese grater with the spinning wheel on the interior studded with small very sharp nails. They have a well-deserved reputation for producing brilliant objects that meld form and function perfectly. That is why many of the 20th century's greatest industrial designers have become a part of the Alessi family. Traditionally, all items from Alessi were made in Italy. When you paid the high price, you knew you were buying an item that not only was designed with care and after a costly trial-and-error process (The Neapolitan was a work-in-progress for 9 years before it finally went into production) but that when the time for manufacturing came, the artisans and metallurgists responsible for generating the product were the very finest in the world. You could pick up an Alessi piece and know immediately you were holding quality.
                Now, Alessi has decided to move production to China. They know that Chinese manufacturers can produce their products with good fidelity and it will cost them pennies on the dollar to make this production shift. Perhaps the product quality won't suffer, but the reputation will.
                Consumers know that they are buying an item that cost MUCH LESS to produce, yet Alessi is still asking a premium price.
                When Michael Graves, a designer for Alessi for many years, (think whistling bird tea kettle) started designing products for Target, there was no subterfuge. These products looked just like Alessi products and consumers were told they were made in China, and people bought them the way they buy knock-off handbags-great looking, functional products for CHEAP.
                The new Alessi products are not marked "made in China" and in fact, were it not for the little sticker mentioned above (the font is microscopic), no one would know the country of origin, which is deceitful and wrong. I feel certain that the sticker was an afterthought, and that Alessi was going to try to foist this Chinese merchandise on an unsuspecting public as "made in Italy", but perhaps their lawyers brought to their attention that this would be a hoax and a fraud.
                So now, we come to the present and I believe that Alessi will be liquidating all of their Chinese-made products that fail to indicate country of origin. I believe that they have come to appreciate the fact that they are risking the reputation of one of Italy's finest design and manufacturing companies to save a buck. That is a reputation forged over many decades by generations of artisans. So look for the sales and when you find them-buy. These products are beautifully made and rival the the best cookware. Just know you are buying Chinese merchandise. Very good quality Chinese merchandise.
                By the way, for all of those bloggers worried about the bakelite handles, when do you put stuff in the oven at 500? I usually cook slow and long in a 250-300 degree oven when using casserole pots. I rarely put saucepans or frying in the oven. Bakelite can easily withstand those temperatures. Just ask your Mom or your Grandma. They are still using those old pots today.
                As for the wooden handles, they are beautiful and functional on the stovetop.

                1. re: bobhobard

                  I can't find that brand on the website at all. :(

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    It was a February sale and the shiba went fast. Sorry

                  2. re: bobhobard

                    ". . . when do you put stuff in the oven at 500?"

                    I can't answer that, but my wife has ruined just about every pot weve had with a phenolic handle. After 17 years in the phenolic plastic business and I still can't figure it out, another 23 years in other plastic businesses and I can't figure it out. The woman has tallents that baffel even the most experienced engineers. You can take phenolic handles up to about 350 °F before you start to see degridation, usually small blisters. I don't buy cookware with phenolic handles at this point. Even pans that don't go into the oven, the handles start to look shabby after awhile. This is just from the heat near the hob.

                    1. re: mikie

                      Hi, mikie:

                      Thanks for your expertise in the fields of both phenolics and women...

                      My infamous LC 5.5Q Dutch oven has a phenolic knob, and I've been trying to torture it to death--unsuccessfully. I only use it for no-knead bread these days, but it gets used twice a week, preheated empty in a 475F oven for a half hour, then another hour at the same temp. So 3 hours per week in the red zone for over a year hasn't really affected it (that I can tell).

                      Do you think exposure to *direct* radiant heat has anything to do with the degradation? I ask because I place pizza stones above and below the oven, and so the knob never gets directly exposed to the upper electric coil.


                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Hi Kaleo,

                        Back when I was working in the phenolic industry, we sold a lot of material to pot and pan handle manufacturers and OEMs such as West Bend, Revere, Farberware, etc. Our normal test was in an air circulating oven, essentially a convection oven. Typically, 375 was what the "Metal Cookware Manufacturers Association required for testing. What may make a difference is the thhickness of the LC knob (relatively thin cross section) compared to the handles of the day which were solid and about 3/4 inches thick in cross section. I've been away from that business for over 20 years and I replaced all the hadles once while I was still selling to the manufacturers (freebees). And again shortly after. They haven't been replaced in years, so maybe she's cooking at lower temperatures, but they do look a little shabby.