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Alessi Cookware?

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cmolineaux Nov 25, 2013 02:50 PM

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.

http://store.alessi.com/usa/en-gb/cat...

Thanks!

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  1. C. Hamster RE: cmolineaux Nov 25, 2013 03:24 PM

    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. DuffyH RE: cmolineaux Nov 25, 2013 06:18 PM

      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
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        cmolineaux RE: DuffyH Nov 25, 2013 06:43 PM

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

        1. re: cmolineaux
          DuffyH RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 06:40 AM

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

          1. re: cmolineaux
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            bobhobard RE: cmolineaux Mar 4, 2014 08:56 AM

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

        2. herby RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 08:20 AM

          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. kaleokahu RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 08:31 AM

            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.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            8 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu
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              cmolineaux RE: kaleokahu Nov 26, 2013 08:54 AM

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

              1. re: cmolineaux
                kaleokahu RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 09:14 AM

                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...

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu
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                  cmolineaux RE: kaleokahu Nov 26, 2013 09:19 AM

                  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
                    kaleokahu RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 09:33 AM

                    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?

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu
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                      cmolineaux RE: kaleokahu Nov 26, 2013 09:39 AM

                      Hmmm.... It doesn't say!

                      1. re: cmolineaux
                        kaleokahu RE: cmolineaux Nov 26, 2013 05:37 PM

                        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.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          m
                          mikie RE: kaleokahu Nov 28, 2013 11:49 AM

                          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.

                          1. re: mikie
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                            cmolineaux RE: mikie Nov 28, 2013 01:28 PM

                            Thanks!!!

            2. c
              centurylife_dot_org RE: cmolineaux Dec 1, 2013 02:30 AM

              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.

              http://centurylife.org

              6 Replies
              1. re: centurylife_dot_org
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                bobhobard RE: centurylife_dot_org Mar 2, 2014 05:24 PM

                I recently saw the Shiba cookware on sale at Lumens.com 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
                  DuffyH RE: bobhobard Mar 3, 2014 01:42 PM

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

                  1. re: DuffyH
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                    bobhobard RE: DuffyH Mar 3, 2014 09:11 PM

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

                  2. re: bobhobard
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                    mikie RE: bobhobard Mar 3, 2014 02:54 PM

                    ". . . 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
                      kaleokahu RE: mikie Mar 3, 2014 03:08 PM

                      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.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                      1. re: kaleokahu
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                        mikie RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2014 07:30 PM

                        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.

                2. SWISSAIRE RE: cmolineaux Mar 3, 2014 03:27 PM

                  Hi Omolineaux-

                  Alessi is a very well known name in Europe, as mentioned up-thread, primarily for modern design kitchen ware.

                  Much like finding a Eames chair set in a design conscious home or condominium, Alessi products are also found in kitchens for a sense of beauty and practical use.

                  We own a few items ( the Salif citrus juicer, etc.) and they are used regularly, but no cookware.

                  Attached is the Alessi website in Italia.

                  http://www.alessi.it/it/

                  As Kaleo mentioned, it would be good to hear your experience cooking with your new saucepan finds.

                  Cheers,

                   
                  5 Replies
                  1. re: SWISSAIRE
                    kaleokahu RE: SWISSAIRE Mar 3, 2014 06:56 PM

                    Guter Gott im Himmel! Robert, Orson Welles was right. Run for your life!

                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      SWISSAIRE RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2014 08:05 PM

                      " THEY CAME FOR YOUR COPPER COOKWARE ! "

                       
                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        b
                        bobhobard RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2014 09:17 PM

                        Ha.

                      2. re: SWISSAIRE
                        pilinut RE: SWISSAIRE Mar 4, 2014 06:58 AM

                        That is the most beautiful citrus juicer I have ever seen! How well does it work?

                        1. re: pilinut
                          SWISSAIRE RE: pilinut Mar 4, 2014 02:28 PM

                          The " Salif " model Alessi juicer works very well for any lemon, lime, orange, and even citron. This is a Phillipe Starck design for Alessi in stainless steel, reportedly as we were told, first envisioned by the designer on a napkin at an Italian pizzeria.

                          How well does it work ? A video link:

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkH_Or...

                          One can see that it looks good in any kitchen, or for that matter in any residence as an art work.

                          I first saw this item in Venice, IT in 1996, in a store window, and a week later thinking about it, bought one in Milano.

                          As we were then remodeling our kitchen adding a long granite countertop, my wife put it in a sideboard hutch, on display if you will, with a few glass objects from Murano. It was constantly being pulled out for visitors to see and to demonstrate how well it works.

                          To me this is a good combination of function and form, which has held up very well over the years.

                          The only drawback is constantly cleaning off fingerprints primarily from little hands, but it washes up easy enough. No one ever asked about, or took out the Murano glass works, under we moved them onto a nearby glass shelf.

                      3. c
                        Cynic2701 RE: cmolineaux Mar 27, 2014 11:11 AM

                        I recently bought a 1.8 liter Shiba saucepan - on sale for a significant discount - and have been mostly pleased with it so far. The heat distribution works reasonably well; I have made several yolk based sauces (kimizu, hollandaise, bearnaise) and haven't had issues with the "corners" of the pan as I have had with others.

                        One criticism I have is that the spout is only located on one side, so it precludes pouring from the opposite side without some back-pouring. I would think that it would have been easy enough to add another spout on the opposite side.

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