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Is All-Clad "All That"?

  • DuffyH Dec 20, 2013 07:57 AM
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We read and hear phrases like "If you want All-Clad quality..." "As good as All-Clad" all the time. But what do they mean, really?

Cookware recommendations begin and end with All-Clad.

Somewhere, sometime, someONE decided that All-Clad would be forever more the best damn clad cookware in the whole wide world end of story.

When did this happen? And why?

More importantly, IS All-Clad "All that"? And if it isn't perhaps there ought to be a moratorium on making it the de facto baseline.

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  1. IMO, it's actually more like a Whustof classic knife: not the best you can buy, but reliably decent quality, and more importantly, enough people are familiar with All-Clad that it serves as a useful basis for comparison. I don't get the impression from reading threads that many people here consider it the epitome of good cookware. Rather it seems to be a useful and familiar standard for comparison.

    28 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      <I don't get the impression from reading threads that many people here consider it the epitome of good cookware. >

      True. 'Hounds are a pretty cookware savvy lot. But what about the rest of the cooking universe? Visit other sites and a whole different tale is told. Also, consider the threads begun here by newly-minted 'Hounds and brides-to-be seeking advice. Most of them come in thinking they should buy or register All-Clad. Often without having seen the stuff.

      I think of the people I know who only care about one thing - nonstick. Pan weight and construction, for them, is not secondary, it's not even on their radar. But ask them to name the best, it's AC, almost every time. Where are they getting this? I don't see AC ads all over the place. Most people don't shop at high-end stores. Is it baked into our collective DNA? Was there an ad blitz years and years ago and now it's assumed mythic status?

      1. re: DuffyH

        Where do the majority of people shop, Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart? What's up-scale to most people, Macys, Dillards, pick a department store of your choice. What's the most expensive cookware you're going to likely encounter in a department store and it's likely All-Clad. Thus, it must be the holy grial of cookware.

        I also agree with cowboy, it's a generally well known bench mark, perhaps not the best, but good serviceable cookware, just like my Whustof Classic chefs knife.

        1. re: DuffyH

          < IMO, it's actually more like a Whustof classic knife: not the best you can buy, but reliably decent quality, and more importantly, enough people are familiar with All-Clad that it serves as a useful basis for comparison>

          I agree with cowboyardee. Many people do not see Wusthof makes the best knives and All Clad makes the best cladding cookware. It is just that these are good measure points. They are symbols of good quality cookware which most people are familiar with.

          <Where are they getting this? I don't see AC ads all over the place. Most people don't shop at high-end stores.>

          Yeah, but the kind of cookware which are better than All Clad are even less well known. Most people may shop at Wal Mart and Target, but at least they walk up to Macy's and Bed Bath and Beyond...etc, and All Clad is basically the top line cookware at these stores (Macy's and Bed Bath and Beyond).

          At the end, All Clad really does belong to the top tier. Its construction is very solid.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I agree that the construction is solid, but the handles, especially on large sauce pans, are the most uncomfortable things ever designed, IMHO. The day that I realized that AC was not "all that, " I felt like the first person to discover that the emperor had no clothes.

            1. re: MrsPatmore

              I HATE THE HANDLES!!! Whoever decides on those handles must have permanent pot holders as hands.

              But in the defense of AC I've had mine since 2007 and most of the pieces are in tip top condition. If you're weary of spending so much $ you can find them at TJ MAXX and Home Goods most of the time. Not full sets but pieces here and there. I did buy a Sur La Table 2 pt sauce pan for a 1/3 of the cost and I think the quality is just as nice. and did I mention that the handles are comfortable? I also bought a scan pan fry pan that's holding up nicely.

              1. re: trolley

                I agree. As long as you are using a towel or something to hold the All Clad pots and pans, this is really a non-issue.

                1. re: trolley

                  What's wrong with the handles? I have All Clad 2-qt and 4-qt saucepans and a 12" skillet. I find the handles comfortable enough to both lift the pots & pans, as well as being at comfortable angles for pouring liquids.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    i like the curvature at the bottom of the handle but the top of the handle is where it falls apart for me. how it dips in and the edge makes it difficult to hold for me, especially when filled with water or other liquids. when I boil water i fill the pot then transfer by holding onto the pot part not the handles. i prefer more of a rounded handle or a flat handle.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I'll try to explain, from my point of view. If I have a filled saucepan that's a bit weighty, I would like to grab the handle from underneath (palm up) as close to the pan as I can. Not only is it a more stable grasp, it will create less stress on my joints. Whereas if I hold the handle farther out, it creates more tension and bears more weight on my wrist. So - where does the AC handle get crazy narrow? At the base, where I need all the stability. What tends to happen, is that any wobble from the contents of the pan will make that handle want to twist around like a circus ride.

                      This is just my experience. I love AC, and have a LOT of it, but in my opinion, this should be an easy fix that I wish they would finally address. I hold hope that I win the lottery too.

                      1. re: breadchick

                        I see. I hold my handles towards the middle or end and I grab it from above, not underneath. I'm a big guy so I don't have a problem handling the pots using this leverage, but I can see how that might be an issue for others.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Like my friend Ms. breadchick (Happy New Year, bc!) I prefer an underhand grip. The edge of an AC handle cuts into the fleshy pad below my thumb. Using an overhand grip the same thing happens. No matter how I hold it, it hurts.

                          OTOH, my new Vollrath Optio pans with big, fat, ROUND handles are very, very comfortable. Me like.

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            In terms of ergonomic design there is certainly something to be said for design that allows for flexibility and choice in how the consumer uses it (what ergonomists refer to as "affordance".)

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance

                            So AC pot handles offer low affordance, since it appears they are intended to be used in one specific way. It doesn't affect me, since I hold and pour from above, but I can see how adding extra ergonomic versatility would only add to the value of these pots.

                            One item to consider is that they do offer a model of saucepans with a loop, to allow for two-handed pouring. That would eliminate the need to pour with the underhand grab, since the second loop would give you a more stable leverage to pour (you could grab both the loop and the handle overhand). Of course, that doesn't really help if you've already got a pot that you're using, but it does at least show that AC does make some attempt to offer variations.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              EXACTLY DuffyH! I figured a Mr can handle it. Perhaps All Clad is meant for the manly cook.

                              1. re: trolley

                                Hi, trolley:

                                Duffy is onto something about the narrow-at-the-base A-C handles. A girl vs. boy distinction only makes sense with smaller, partially-filled pans. With weak wrists and a full, heavy pan, a thick handle base is a real boon for lifting and pouring.

                                I think A-C does this to save money and to try to further insulate the handle. The problem, as Duffy indicates, is that they're very turny when grabbed there--precisely when you need more leverage.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  yes turny is exactly the way they become when pot is filled with liquid. it takes a pot holder and two hands for me to manage.

                                  1. re: trolley

                                    Hi, trolley:

                                    That skinny little neck adds insult to injury. IME, the base turns even more easily inside a potholder.

                                    Classical saucepan handles are:

                                    --solid, thick and wide at the base
                                    --tapered *down* in both dimensions toward the hang-loop
                                    --flat on top their whole length
                                    --rise at a steep angle and then curve back down.

                                    It's as if someone, long ago at A-C decided to do the exact opposite on ALL fronts.

                                    I suppose you get used to what you use, but these really are bass-ackward handles.

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      actually, when trying to pour/drain the Falk pans the neck allows for a grip that keeps the pan from turning in your hand.

                              2. re: DuffyH

                                And a very happy and healthy New Year to you, as well, my friend! :)

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  "Like my friend Ms. breadchick (Happy New Year, bc!) I prefer an underhand grip. The edge of an AC handle cuts into the fleshy pad below my thumb. Using an overhand grip the same thing happens. No matter how I hold it, it hurts."

                                  EXACTLY. It gets worse as the pans get bigger, filled fuller, and then you grab the handle in the middle or end to avoid the heat.

                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    I don't see how the edge could touch the base of your thumb with an underhand grip. Try rotating your wrist more, until your fingertips go into the recess on top of the handle. That's the underhand grip.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      In my view, an underhand grip is one in which the handle rests in the palm of my hand,and my fingers curl up over the top. Using that grip, the edge of the handle absolutely digs into the fleshy part of my hand below my thumb. And yes, my fingers curl into the groove.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        That is how I hold my pots and pans.

                                         
                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          That's my grip, exactly.

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Hi, Duffy:

                                            And when the pan turns clockwise (or you try to turn it counter-clockwise) that's where it bites.

                                            IMO, the only marginally comfortable grip with A-C is "handshake"--aka Bill Clinton's ridiculous speechification thumb-point.

                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                      2. re: DuffyH

                        < Where are they getting this? I don't see AC ads all over the place >
                        .
                        If you watch (or have watched) cooking shows, there's a good chance you've seen more advertising for major brands then you are consciously aware of. Many of the major brands pay for advertizing directly and/or by supplying equipment to be used on the show.
                        .
                        Repeatedly during the shoot when someone's tossing something in a pan, putting a pot on a burner, loading an oven or getting something from a refer or freezer, there's a close-up shot showing the brand name, be it tools or equipment.
                        .
                        Most people see the branding without giving it a second thought because there attention is focused on what's being done rather than what's being used. This is subliminal advertising in that we see these brand names over and over again (often times without even being aware of it), over time these names creep into our subconscious.

                        1. re: Master

                          Oh yes, especially during any episode of Top Chef! :) (It even extends to the cars they drive.)

                          I admit, I purposely look at what cookware is being used because it's a good way to see the different lines in action.

                          1. re: breadchick

                            < I admit, I purposely look at what cookware is being used... >
                            .
                            Intentionally looking at the brands of cookware and equipment used is how I became aware of how much advertising is done in this manner, and it doesn't stop with products related to cooking.

                          2. re: Master

                            I'm not aware of any branding at ATK. I recognize their choice of T'fal because of the distinctive red spot (thermal indicator), not because of subliminal display of the name.

                            Food Network goes out of its way to avoid branding, especially of the free kind. Food labels are always replaced with home made ones. I had to ask here about the brand of the non-stick pans they use on Chopped. The color is distinctive, but they don't display any names.

                            Cooking shows taped in restaurant kitchens give an idea of what types and brands of pans are used professionally. I just watched the 'Leftovers' episode of The Mind of a Chef.
                            http://video.pbs.org/video/2365133708/
                            and noticed the use of pans, though I can't name any.

                            The nonstick (at 5:00) looked like what I have bought at a restaurant supply (or that section at Samsclub) (who uses the bright blue handle cover?). Chris Cosentino had a big stack of stainless steel pans on a shelf above the stove (8:20). (At least I think they were stainless steel; they were too shiny to be used aluminum). In Fergus Henderson's kitchen (20:00) it was some sort of nonstick induction compatible pan. In Brandon Jew's kitchen there was a wok (for steaming), and a little (1.5 qt?) copper sauce pan (14:00).

                      3. I don't know if it's the best, but I'm happy with mine. I boiled my MC2 saucepan dry once and overheated it. It didn't warp or delaminate, and that's what I mean by good quality.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: GH1618

                          Exactly! You don't necessarily get to try and to own everything but if you've bought All-Clad you've got dependable, lifetime stuff that's a pleasure to work with.

                          I have incinerated my roasting pan on the BBQ, tied it up in a bag with some ammonia and you couldn't tell the difference between it and any other pan that's been in constant service inside my kitchen. Not a bit of the grime remains after temps up around 500˚ and there isn't a tiny bit of warping in the bottom. You pay for that quality -- whether it's All-Clad or something manufactured to the same standards -- but you get utility that won't let you down.

                          1. re: rainey

                            When I got my first All-Clad pans, my SO remarked, "These thing are freakin' Medieval!" He was referring to their solid construction, and I agree. After an apocalypse, all that will be left are cockroaches, Cher, and All-Clad pans. I love mine.

                            1. re: team_cake

                              <After an apocalypse, all that will be left are cockroaches, Cher, and All-Clad pans.>
                              .
                              LOL, love that.

                          2. re: GH1618

                            <overheated it. It didn't warp or delaminate, and that's what I mean by good quality.>
                            .
                            At one point in time all the cookware in my kitchen was clad cookware, both AC and an Italian brand from Costco (don't recall the brand) that was of the same quality @ 1/5 the price. After 15 years of daily use and abuse it was in the same condition as when I bought it.

                          3. I really like my d5 fry pans, I think they're easy to use and produce great results while standing up to wear and tear. That being said, I haven't compared them to less expensive clad cookware.

                            I think All-Clad is just a very reliable choice. I think it is also more affordable relative to companies such as Mauviel and Demeyere. I actually would love to get my hands on Demeyere, but unless I suddenly start making drastically more money than I currently am I don't expect to own any of their things any time soon.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sancor

                              I really like my D5 too. I only have a few pieces of All Clad and admit I mostly bought the D5 over the tri ply because I liked the aesthetics more.

                            2. In the 2013 season ATK (or was it CC?) looked at 12" skillets below $100. All-Clad has been their long time favorite, but it is well above $100.

                              In this less expensive category Tramontina was their winner. It sounded like all their test choices performed about the same. The differences had more to do with things like weight (for some 2 lb is better than 4) and handle length/shape, and rim shape.

                              In this category of multilayer stainless steel, as long as the layers stay bonded, what is there to wear out?

                              1. I have just one All-Clad piece, a sort of semi-wok with a long handle that Mrs. O got for me as a present back when the world was young. I learned quickly not to let any uncoated animal flesh touch it, as it would form a semi-permanent bond, but it's now my go-to pan for stir-frying vegetables. But even back in the Eighties, even on sale, it was (to me) hideously expensive, and I've never been tempted to buy another. Most of my pots and pans are vintage Magnalite or tinned copper, with my older collection of cast iron handling most of the frying except for two nonsticks (big sauté pot for braises and stir-fries, new green-thingie skillet for my morning eggs). The only other "trendy" vessel, also a gift, is the now-ancient Calphalon anodized double boiler, which also demonstrated a massive tendency to weld to any kind of meat and so it's been strictly a double boiler for 30 years now.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Will, have you gotten that semi-wok screaming hot with a generous slosh of peanut oil before adding your protein?

                                  Watch this Rouxbe video for an illustration of where I'm going with this comment. Chances are, your pan is fine & dandy and ready to cook whatever animal protein you may like to throw at it. Just be sure to

                                  1. Get the pan hot enough (see video)

                                  http://video.answers.com/how-to-prope...

                                  2. Don't be skimpy with the oil

                                  3. Make sure the heat setting isn't outrageously high (medium high is great for searing) and

                                  3. DON'T TOUCH THAT MEAT! When the proteins on the surface of the meat are adequately maillarded (I just made up a new word!), it'll let go when you tug on it gently. If the meat is stuck, and you've followed these instructions, it's not done browning yet.

                                  Mr Taster

                                2. I have a radiant ceramic top, the entire burner turn orange, not the coil under ceramic. It warped every single one of my All Clads. They just sit there and spin and rock. My old QVC set from 25 years ago works much better. It has an aluminum clad bottom, they have not warped.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Onepotmeals

                                    I have the same type of range, and not one of my Calphalon steel pans has warped on it. I can't believe that it would warp AC. High heat, perhaps?

                                    I don't use high heat under my clad steel frypans. Saucepans, sure, because they're essentially warp-proof thanks to their tall sides.

                                  2. I really love my All Clad, but I'm lucky enough to be able to travel to the factory for their factory sales and got my entire collection at a significant discount. I don't think I would spend retail price on these as there are some other good alternatives. The regular retail price is outrageous!

                                    http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Burghfeeder

                                      I have a lot of AllClad and Le Crueset cookware, all obtained at discounters (TJMaxx, Homegoods, etc) at a minimum of 50% MSRP and often more, when I find pieces on clearance.
                                      I could never afford the pieces I own at full price. For what I paid, I am glad to own them.

                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                        That's my collection too!

                                        I found my 12 inch sauté All Clad for over half off at Williams sonoma this fall because they weren't carrying the "brushed" finish in store any longer.

                                        Also, now I know what I"m beating intruders over the head with.

                                        1. re: autumm

                                          My cookware collection is cobbled together from America's Test Kitchen recommendations. I got all of my AC and LC pieces as seconds (with additional discounts on the seconds) and so I've paid considerably less than retail.

                                          My cookware collection:

                                          The workhorses:
                                          All Clad 2 qt. saucepan w/ lid
                                          All Clad 4 qt. saucepan w/ lid
                                          All CLad 12" skillet
                                          Le Creuset 7.25 qt. French Oven (w/ stainless knob)
                                          12.5" T-Fal Professional Non-Stick

                                          The less used, but still useful:
                                          Tramontina 10" clad skillet
                                          12" Lodge cast iron (in
                                          10" Griswold cast iron (much lighter than Lodge with a smoother cooking surface)
                                          8" French Chef omelet pan from The Pot Shop of Boston

                                          None of these pieces were arbitrarily purchased. Each has a specific use (or specific uses). I followed the philosophy of paying more for the most useful pans that would last a lifetime, and paid less for the ones with less staying power (like the non-stick pan, which has a limited lifetime of peak performance). I also paid less for the less useful 10" clad skillet ($30), which is why I bought the Chinese-made Tramontina instead of the 10" All Clad ($110). I just don't use it enough to warrant the nearly 300% price increase, but I am glad to have it available when I need it.

                                          The omelet pan was my one real splurge. Yes, it's ridiculously expensive, though it is sure to last a lifetime... and already has. It's a vintage model that I bought from ebay for about half of what they cost new. Yes, it's a unitasker-- the heavy gauge aluminum means evens the heat and releases like well seasoned cast iron. It's meant to cook omelets, so it does against the philosophy of only paying a high price for the most versatile pans, but it is a damned fine pan and I'm happy to have it in my menagerie.

                                          All-Clad has a sale every October, I believe. Get on their mailing list-- it's an additional 30% off their already discounted seconds.

                                          Additionally, if you're near a Le Creuset outlet store, their seconds are often nearly flawless. You're getting a significant discount for things like the paint color gradation not being quite as seamless. No effect on functionality, and they come with the full warranty that the firsts have. Additionally, if you get on their mailing list, they also have 30% off seconds periodically throughout the year. I wound up getting my 7.25 qt oven for $130-- they retail new for $325.

                                          I don't have a saute pan (they're like a skillet, but instead of low, flared sides they have high, straight edges) because the straight walls inhibit evaporation and steam rather than saute. Ironically, for this reason saute pans- despite their name- are more suited to braising than sauteeing. Skillets, on the other hand, with their low sides are actually better for sauteeing because they allow water to evaporate more easily. The upshot of all of this is that when I need to braise, I simply use my Le Creuset, and when I need to sautee I use my skillet. An actual "sautee" pan seems kind of superfluous, and if I ever get one I'm not likely to shell out the big bucks for an expensive All Clad. It's not useful enough for me to warrant the expenditure.

                                          Mr Taster

                                    2. "When did this happen? And why?"

                                      Quality, longevity, extensive product line and availability in the marketplace.

                                      Over the years the public has been warned away from aluminum and Teflon. All Clad has been a quality, reliable product to turn to, with better than average results. I don't require the "best". I want good performance, reliability and availability. In our not-so-big city, most stores don't carry much selection for any comparison. It works for me, I own several pieces, like it and it looks good!

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: Cam14

                                        <Quality, longevity, extensive product line and availability in the marketplace.>

                                        The same can be said for other labels. It doesn't answer the question - WHY All-Clad?

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          One of my reasons is that I prefer to buy products made in North America. There aren't many choices.

                                          Also, I like the handles!

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            http://triblive.com/home/2140012-74/c...
                                            makes one proud and want to stand up and salute the flag, doesn't it? :)

                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                            Name those other labels. There must be some, but I can't think of any that have been building a reputation since the 70's and are still here, offer exceptional quality, durability, large product line and are widely available. Maybe Le Creuset, and they have a similar following, but aren't as durable. LC can chip or break if dropped and too heavy for a small or older cook. (I have a friend who wrecked her RV, the All Clad pans were about the only items that came through unscathed after being tossed from stem to stern.) That's the kind of story that builds loyal customers.

                                            1. re: Cam14

                                              <Name those other labels. There must be some, but I can't think of any that have been building a reputation since the 70's and are still here, offer exceptional quality, durability, large product line and are widely available.>

                                              If you are talking about cookware like pots and pans, then I would say that Calphalon and Lodge have both survived through these years. They both have good solid cookware. Lodge cookware line is narrower, but Calphalon cookware lines have been very wide. Both Calphalon and Lodge are more widely available than All-Clad.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                I agree on Lodge, it's a limited line and has more drawbacks due to weight, not dishwasher capable and needs special care to avoid rust, but it certainly has a huge price advantage to allow wider distribution. Calphalon is a more equal to AC contender for sure. Why hasn't it reached the pinnacle of the one to compare to, instead of All Clad?

                                                1. re: Cam14

                                                  The two companies have different histories. One started as an expert in cladding cookware, while the other one started as anodized aluminum cookware leader.

                                                  < Why hasn't it reached the pinnacle of the one >

                                                  Is that actually a desirable goal? At the end, it simply isn't Calphalon's business model.

                                                  BMW is well known to be a famous luxury car maker. Toyota is a brand known for its cars for average consumers. Yet, Toyota is the larger company.

                                                  Back to All Clad and Calphalon, Calphalon is a larger brand. It is now part of Newell Rubbermaid. It is estimated to be about 100 millions in revenue or more.

                                                  http://www.manta.com/c/mt19zrd/calpha...

                                                  All Clad is about 13 millions in revenue:

                                                  http://www.manta.com/c/mmf8gsb/all-cl...

                                                  The truth is that Calphalon has no desire to be All-Clad.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Tefal invented non-stick cookware and it's still a leader in that field. Note the red spot fry pans that ATK uses.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      product placement most likely. They tend to use non stick in places where it wouldn't even cross my mind.

                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                        <They tend to use non stick in places where it wouldn't even cross my mind.>

                                                        Last night I tried out my Mauviel M'Stone sauté pan with a skillet rice dish. It tasted just like the stuff that comes out of my clad sauté pan, but cleanup was even easier.

                                                        This was a big surprise to me, because I've always thought SS was a breeze to clean. And it is, of course. But this pan was leagues beyond simple. Sort of like cleaning up after cooking water in a nonstick frypan. Who knew?

                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Calphalon may be spread too wide with other products to have brand recognition like AC with stainless. Although AC is branching now into other types of cookware. Maybe they will lose focus on what they do best and blur their Kleenex image. And yes, I think reaching a pinnacle is a desirable goal. Bigger isn't necessarily better from a consumer standpoint, but a small company has to struggle to stay relevant, affordable to enough consumers to be viable. We've seen so many products decline in quality as companies have merged and grown. The purpose becomes growth and not providing the better product.

                                                      1. re: Cam14

                                                        <I think reaching a pinnacle is a desirable goal. Bigger isn't necessarily>

                                                        For a company point of view, it is a yes. To make more profile, to have a larger share. To be sustainable. If you cannot make a profit and to sustain, then you are not running a business.

                                                        All Clad is not its own company anymore, just like Calphalon. All Clad was bought by Waterford Wedgwood, now it has been sold to Groupe. It has been kicked around a few times.

                                                        <We've seen so many products decline in quality>

                                                        Maybe for a some cases, but this is not true in the larger picture. People often romanticize the past. In reality, cookware overall did not decline in quality. People talk about the beauty of the old cars....etc. Old cars on average suck compare to modern cars. Horrible gas mileage and they break down all the times. People talk about how great the cookware used to be. They are thinking of the very best from the old cookware and then they compare these very best to the below average cookware of today. We should look at the average cookware from past and compare that to the average cookware of today. Today cookware are better.

                                                        It wasn't even that long ago that many people were using the Revere Ware cookware:

                                                        http://img2.wfrcdn.com/lf/49/hash/160...

                                                        Revere cookware are horrible cookware by today's standard. Oh yes, the other cookware of the past. The Waterless cookware which use No Water. You remember that, right?

                                                        http://chopandserve.us/wp-content/upl...

                                                        Not only they were overpriced cookware, many of their advertisement claims are untrue.

                                                        Of course, there were the Vision cookware also from the past:

                                                        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hFEvIWZKn6I...

                                                        These were the once popular glass/ceramic cookware which actually can break and shatter and provide bad heat distribution.

                                                        If you are to walk into today's Bed Bath and Beyond or even Walmart, you can randomly grab some cookware off the shelves, and you will find better cookware than these three.

                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        My wife bought a Calphalon roasting pan probably 20 years ago, maybe 15, and she thought it was the real deal. Back then I think Calphalon had a good reputation, but they have since moved a good portion, not all, but much of their production to China. For me that's a deal breaker if you are trying to maintain your company reputation for quality. I have too many dealings with Pacific Rim manufacturing in my business where the improper materials were used to cut costs and in many instances these cost saving measures were done behind the back of the company they were manufacturing for. When the only advantage your product has over another product the cost pressures are tremendous. This isn't jsut China, but it applies to Asia (short of Japan) as much if not more than other geographic regions, such as Europe or North America. If LC needed to compete on cost alone they would have to manufacture in a less expensive region, oh wait, that's what they did with their non enameled cast iron products, ceramic and clad cookware. These products do not have the following that the LC ECI has, even with the LC brand name.

                                                        When AC sent lid manufacture to China, there was a huge backlash and they quickly reversed that decision. Had they not, I think their reputation would have been tarnished as just another "American" company that gave in to profits first, something that has happened to KA with the stand mixers, still assembeled in the US, but not "made" here.

                                                        A company decides what it wants to be and that's the path they take, some times it works and some times it doesn't. I won't buy Calphalon because in my opinion they sold out and are only interseted in profits not quality.

                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                          <My wife bought a Calphalon roasting pan probably 20 years ago, maybe 15, and she thought it was the real deal. >

                                                          I purchased a few pieces of Calphalon Anodized Aluminum cookware and moved on to other brands. The current generation cookware is nowhere near the quality of my old Commercial Anodized cookware.

                                                      3. re: Cam14

                                                        Wow! I was reading this and thinking.....when I was first buying pots and pans 20-30 years ago I thought it was all about Calphalon. I still have all of mine, plus some non stick and Calphalon 1 over the years. I've mostly read about All Clad here.

                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                          I was talking with my best friend the other day. She's been married 30 years and got an All Clad set as a wedding gift. She still uses it. Neither of us had heard of the brand back then, I was maid of honor.

                                              2. So is it, in the end, simple marketing?

                                                Just as Taco Bell will win the Franchise Wars, does All-Clad win the Cookware War?

                                                If so, it's brilliant. When people who know nothing about your product or it's near competitors can, with authority, declare yours the best, that's a hell of a marketing job.

                                                31 Replies
                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  <Just as Taco Bell will win the Franchise Wars, does All-Clad win the Cookware War?>

                                                  Well, except that Taco never market itself as the high quality food. All Clad actually has a very small market share. I mean. Not a lot of people actually buy All Clad. Its Emerilware market is actually much larger than its flagship All Clad.

                                                  If I have to think of a restaurant, then I would probably say something like Ruth Chis -- a very well known fine dining restaurant.

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    I think there is a huge difference between educated cooking enthusiasts and the "general public". The general public was infatcuated for awhile and perhaps still, over Pampered Chef, but I don't believe that to be true for the majority of people on sites such as this, especially on the cookware page. What I believe All Clad has been able to accomplish is obtain a reasonable share of the relatively small upper echelon of cookware. There are many who purchase AC simply because it is US made, many because it's the best available in their area, and some because it has over the years obtained a good reputation, much like LC or Whusthof. I don't own any, but I do believe based on reviews from ATK and CR that it is good solid cookware.

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      Marketing can't sustain a product for over 30 years if it can't back up it's claims. No, it's not simple marketing. You have to provide a good product. A lot of people say you are paying for the name, but the name has earned it's reputation in this case. Companies will pay a lot to buy out a name but if the product does not maintain quality the name becomes worthless quickly. Think of many of the old reliable USA products that are now just Chinese manufactured mediocrity or worse.

                                                      1. re: Cam14

                                                        Right, Cam, but how did AC succeed in doing this when up against equally reputable brands? How did that one name, among the general public, become the Kleenex of cookware?

                                                        This is, perhaps, a question for social scientists. I find the whole AC mythos fascinating.

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          Besides the other things mentioned, maybe it's focus. They did basically one thing and did it very well. They defined the market for clad stainless. And looked good to boot. Love that AC shine.

                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                            "Mythos" is a system of beliefs which is not based on facts. There are sufficient facts to justify a rational decision to buy an All-Clad product, so I don't think that's the right word.

                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              Mythos

                                                              1. (Sociology) the complex of beliefs, values, attitudes, etc., characteristic of a specific group or society

                                                              We tend to think of something mythic as untrue or unproven, but that's not always the case, and not how I meant it. Give a fact enough time and it can become myth.

                                                        2. re: DuffyH

                                                          Haha, nice Demolition Man reference (I think it was lost on Chem).
                                                          To me, All-Clad is like RayBan, Cutco or Bose. They're marketed in such a way that the average person thinks they're the best (ie most expensive brand at the mall, used by the stars, sold "exclusively" by your neighbor's kid), and the products them selves are just enough of an improvement over what the average person was using previously so as to solidify the connection in their minds.

                                                          1. re: hardline_42

                                                            <Haha, nice Demolition Man reference (I think it was lost on Chem).>

                                                            I appreciate that someone noticed. ;)

                                                            Cutco is an interesting reference. It brings to mind Kirby vacuums, long considered the standard when what they really were was a good overpriced unit. A few weeks ago I heard a woman remark that her new vacuum was decent, but it's "not a Dyson." Seriously? It seems some standards are movable, if the marketing budget is big enough.

                                                            Ray-Ban is in a whole different class. They've now reached iconic status. Other brands will come and go, and many will be easily better, but it won't matter. There's only one Ray-Ban.

                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                              Funny you should mention vacs as a reference. From what I know, Kirby was more than just a good unit. We used them in the fraternity house because one of the guys was selling them. Anything that holds up for years with 18 year old guys using it every day, is more than just good. My second experience with Kirby was a used one I bought and used for almost 40 years. I still have a Kirby upstairs where we have carpet in the bedrooms, but the old one has been replaced with a Miele canister downstairs where it's wood and tile in every room. I wouldn't give you half the price they are asking for a Dyson, that is just marketing!

                                                              Reputation comes from years, decades, of providing a quality product, not many companies have accomplished this.

                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                Yes, Kirby was very good. But it was bait like AC, in that it wasn't that different from other vacs costing hundreds less.

                                                                As for Dyson, wherever they fall in terms of quality, it cannot be denied, their marketing firm has some mad skills.

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  The big difference Kirby had/has, is that it's built like a tank. It's all metal construction and very heavy duty. AC on the otherhand is so similar to, althought I think AC is a bit heavier duty than, many other lower cost brands.

                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                    One thing is that Dyson is also hip. These vacuum cleaners have unique designs and are solid units. Combined with a good marketing and advertisement teams, Dyson cleaners are golden.

                                                                    Dyson is not a stagnant company, it isn't trying to sell you its Ballbarrow from 40 years ago.

                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cHTrm...

                                                                    Here is the different, All Clad IS selling you the Ballbarrow for 40 years -- effectively speaking.

                                                                    If we look back at All Clad, it was a innovative design. It was the cool kid on the block. Back when there was only aluminum cookware or stainless steel cookware or cast iron cookware, All Clad offered something new. It offered a cookware with good heat distribution like aluminum cookware, but with the robustness of stainless steel. All Clad cookware combined stainless steel with aluminum into one cookware design.

                                                                    This was revolution. This was unique.

                                                                    Fast forward 40-50 years, All Clad pretty still offers the same thing. The difference is that almost everyone knows how to do triply cookware now, and do it cheaper. In fact, other companies have been doing 5-ply.7-ply..... cookware decades ago.

                                                                    Objectively speaking, All Clad has been riding its first wave for 40-50 years now. It has not done any real innovation for 40+ years. D5 (5-ply) is not a revolution. Other companies have done that years and years ago.

                                                                    As a company, this is not a particularly proud record to look at.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      < All Clad has been riding its first wave... It has not done any real innovation for 40+ years. this is not a particularly proud record to look at. >
                                                                      .
                                                                      Falk Culinair N.V. developed bimetal technology for the production of professional stainless clad copper cookware in the late 1970's (shortly after AllClad developed Clad cookware), neither company has changed what they do since yet both have the highest reputation for professional grade cookware. Other than the development of a method to pre-season their cast iron cookware, Lodge has been making the same produce since 1896, 40 to 100+ years flawless reputation... Whats not to be proud of?

                                                                      1. re: Master

                                                                        Hi, Master:

                                                                        When it comes to innovation, one need look no further than Demeyere, deBuyer, Chantal and Meyer. Judged against these four in innovation, A-C and Falk are pikers.

                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                        1. re: Master

                                                                          <40 to 100+ years flawless reputation... Whats not to be proud of?>

                                                                          This gets back to original poster's question/challenge. Does All Clad really deserve this reputation? It neither necessary makes the best cladded cookware, nor does it makes affordable cookware. It neither creates innovation technology, nor does it makes customer friendly cookware.

                                                                          Ultimately, the question at hand is "Does All Clad deserve this reputation?"

                                                                          Your last reply basically said that "All Clad has a great reputation. It is something to be proud of"

                                                                          You see. When you combining these two statements, they become a circular argument or circular reasoning.

                                                                          X is good because X has good reputation. X has good reputation because X is good.....etc....etc.

                                                                          <Whats not to be proud of?>

                                                                          I would hope that "reputation" is not the reason to be proud of.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Thanks for phrasing that so well, Chem. You've captured, exactly, my question/point.

                                                                            You complete me. ;)

                                                                2. re: hardline_42

                                                                  Of course, I know Demolition Man when Taco Bell won the franchise war and became the only restaurant in the world (at least in US).

                                                                  All Clad is nowhere to ever going to get to that point since its marketing share is actually very small -- my earlier point.

                                                                3. re: DuffyH

                                                                  Hi, Duffy:

                                                                  Rather than say it's *just* marketing, I think it's marketing, branding and distribution. No other American maker, past or present has come close to the trifecta that A-C has won (Le Creuset has come close for the same reasons). Inexorably, typical American consumers have been conditioned to think of A-C as the best, even when that's never really been the case.

                                                                  IMO, it's only with the globalization of cookware (thank Stanley Cheng and Meyer!) and the expoitation of the U.S. market by the quality European makes that A-C has partially slipped to the point where people like the OP even *ask* the question.

                                                                  Is A-C good. Yes, it's good clad, big-league clad. But it's not Cy Young or MVP clad. When other materials and constructions are considered, it's not going to win any Olympic medals. Nevermind it's Gold Medal pricepoint.

                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    Until I started hanging around this board, I didn't give AC any attention. I might have noticed it while browsing at Macys, but has never been in my budget range.

                                                                    When I first stocked my kitchen, as grad student, I bought a Revereware 2 qt sauce pan because that's what my mom had. I also got a generic 8" cast iron skillet.

                                                                    I still have the skillet, though now I only use it as a small baking dish. The Reverware got burned and replace by a houseguest. I used the stainless steel replacement for a number of years, but recently passed it on to my son. It was not induction compatible. Berndes is my current brandname of choice.

                                                                    One of these days I need to get a 10" SS skillet, but it more likely will be Tramontina than AC.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      <One of these days I need to get a 10" SS skillet, but it more likely will be Tramontina than AC.>

                                                                      My only regret as I switch to induction is giving up my Tramontina Professional nonstick frypans. I bought my first trio almost 10 years at Walmart. The 8" from the original set is now my taco pan, for frying tortillas. I'm on my second set now and three years in the nonstick is like new.

                                                                      They're plain aluminum nonstick, but they're about 3mm thick, and when the very good nonstick is no more, I'm left with a terrific frypan. I'll miss them dearly.

                                                                      I tried the highly regarded Tramontina clad stuff, but found that it blued even over medium heat. I wasn't happy about that. For SS frypans I'll go Calphalon or Emeril Proclad.

                                                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                      Hi Kaleo,
                                                                      I can agree with paragraph 1 and with paragraph 2, but I'm not sure I can agree with all of paragraph 3. I'll agree that it's good clad, even big-league clad, but I don't think it's at a Gold Medal precepoint. I don't have my saute pan spread sheet handy, but as I recall, it wasn't even close to the top of the list based on price. It is expensive clad, but it's not made in China. If you compare it to other NMIC clad cookware, I believe the price to be in line. The prices are not significantly different for the most part, than Viking (made in Belgium), Demeyere Industry 5 (Belgium), Demeyere Proline (Belgium), or Mauviel M (France), just to name a few that were on my list. On the other hand the Gold Medal pricepoint starts off with Demeyere Atlantus and ends with just about anyone's copper.

                                                                      Now for the reputation: as long as mags like Cooks Illustrated and Consumer Reoprts give A-C highly recommended ratings, people are going to consider it a benchmark. For many people A-C is like unobtainium, it's price point is beyond their cookware budget, but so are all the brands that are as good or better than A-C, at least according to the authoritative reviews. I say this not being a fan of A-C myself, I think the handles are of the poorest designs in cookware. Obviously, the handles don't bother the people doing these reviews.

                                                                      1. re: mikie

                                                                        <as long as mags like Cooks Illustrated and Consumer Reoprts give A-C highly recommended ratings, people are going to consider it a benchmark.>

                                                                        If people are reading CR for their cookware recs, they'll never look beyond nonstick. CR's last round only tested five brands of uncoated cookware. Guy Fieri was their winner. AC wasn't tested.

                                                                        But CI? Yeah, they're been in the tank for AC for years. I agree about the AC handles. I cannot get past them to see how it really performs, because holding a pan is an exercise is pain for me. With the cooking world split (there's a survey that's just asking to be taken!) almost evenly on those handles, isn't it odd that no one at CI complains about them?

                                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                                          Hi, mikie:

                                                                          I take your point. A-C isn't priced at the top 'o clad anymore after the Euro invasion.

                                                                          And it shouldn't be, either, because on balance it's not as good. But in fact, A-C is still egregiously expensive relative to its foreign-made 2nd string equivalents, and expensive by any measure. IMO, the wide price disparity is a difficult test for people's resolve to buy American.

                                                                          I like your "unobtanium" concept. The sad fact is that lots of people, as Sid points out, do replace their original POS cookware, many multiple times over their lifetimes. If they'd *started* with A-C or Demeyere, etc. (or scrounged copper like I've taught myself to do), buying a piece at a time instead of in sets, they'd probably save money over the long haul. A-C continues to dangle its wares out of reach of a lot of families, and this appears to be a deliberate strategy.

                                                                          I haven't seen much innovation come from A-C, either. I think d5 is mostly a gimmick. At least other manufacturers *try*, e.g., Viking's failed attempt to spread heat with carbon fiber, Demeyer's surface treatments and temperature-limiting induction pans, Meyer's Thermolon coating, etc.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            The *innovation* of D5 is a curved pouring lip previously available only in AC CC, which is more expensive based on it's *marketing* copper. Matters to some.

                                                                            1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                              Hi, mwhitmore:

                                                                              OK, for a staid company like A-C, a pouring lip may be considered innovation. I take your point.

                                                                              *I* thought their gimmicky gesture toward innovation was putting more steel and less aluminum in d5.

                                                                              I stopped today at a small A-C retailer just to prove to myself that A-C's handles really are as terrible as I remember them. Yup, they are! The part of the experience I found amusing is that a foot away from the A-C saute I grabbed sat a practically indistinuishable Cuisinart saute with a *comfortable* handle. I'd really like to hear from A-C itself on why they persist with those handles.

                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                Agree that the extra layers are a gimmick. Americans seem to believe that more is better.

                                                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                  <Agree that the extra layers are a gimmick. Americans seem to believe that more is better.>

                                                                                  I don't think that Americans in general really believe more layers are better, at least not much better. This is why most of the cladded cookware are still three layers, not 5 or 7. Still, there is nothing groundbreaking about the D5 design comparing to what OTHER brands have done. (1) 5 layers? Other companies have done that long ago. (2) pouring lid? Com'on. Many brands have that. (3) The slightly more comfortable handle on the d5? Yeah, right? The design is still uncomfortable compare to most other handle designs. (4) Pan capacity or size etched on the base. Is that really an innovation? Haven't other cookware brands done that decades ago?

                                                                                  This exactly reveals All Clad's problems for decades. Its stainless steel line, its flagship, is largely unchanged. While it is a solid construction, it made no attempt to make any innovation or serious improvement. It either has a very lazy attitude or a very arrogant mindset. Case in point, and an undisputed point -- its infamous All Clad handle. For decades people have complained about its handle design. All Clad made no attempt to change the design.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    "(4) Pan capacity or size etched on the base. Is that really an innovation?"

                                                                                    My wife's InKor pots she bought over 40 years ago have the size stamped in the side under the brand name. The old Revere pots my mother had have the size on the bottom. Maybe "etched" is inovative ;)

                                                                                    1. re: mikie

                                                                                      :D

                                                                                      All Clad triply is a solid design, and it is very well build. The triply design was light-years ahead of other cookware company in 1970's.

                                                                                      However, this was 1970's. All Clad has not made many innovations since then.

                                                                                      You may ask "What of other companies?"

                                                                                      At least some have made baby steps attempted.

                                                                                      Take Calphalon for example. Calphalon tried to have embedded nonstick cookware -- the Calphalon Infused One. It failed as it didn't sell very well, but at least it tried.

                                                                                      http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/...

                                                                                      Calpahlon recently has tried the Calphalon Unison. Combining two different nonstick layers for a single line of cookware. A slightly stickier nonstick layer marketed as "Sear Nonstick" for cookware like the saute pan, and a pure nonstick layer market as "Slide Nonstick" for other cookware such as the 8" omelettes pan. Not a scientific or an engineering innovation, but it is good marketing approach -- to provide different degree of nonstick to different cookware. This is the same idea as Demeyere Atlantis cookware: different cladding designs for pots vs pans -- disk bottom cladding vs full cladding.

                                                                                      Needless to say, Calphalon also made in road of ceramic nonstick (Green) pans:

                                                                                      http://www.chow.com/reviews/41-simply...

                                                                                      It is not ahead, but it is trying to staying current.

                                                                              2. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                No, D5 refers to the five-layer design, the center layer being SS. This is supposed to slow down the heat transfer across the layers relative to the spread of heat laterally. The SS D5 pans have a curved lip, but my LTD2 French Skillet does not, although LTD2 is also D5.

                                                                                The handle on my French Skillet is also slightly different than the original, but not in any way that would satisfy those who complain about it.

                                                                      2. How many people actually "test" more than one brand of good cookware?

                                                                        A lot of us start out with whatever subpar hand-me-downs we accumulated after starting out on our own. With no knowledge, we buy our first "better" pan. Of course it cooks better so why buy anything else?

                                                                        Ta-da! My thin unclad-no disc stainless steel scorch pot has been beat with a simple clad or disc bottom or try me piece of All-Clad. Now I just spent $~50 hard earned dollars on a 2 quart saucepan that works well. Will I spend $200 on a different brand?

                                                                        For me, it wasn't All-Clad but Calphalon commercial anodized. Compared to what I had it was fantastic. Now, I realize while it was a huge improvement there are many better options available at a similar cost. I even tried some All-Clad and didn't like it and moved on the Demeyere and De Buyer.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                                                          <For me, it wasn't All-Clad but Calphalon commercial anodized.>

                                                                          And that brings up a whole other conventional wisdom notion; that Calphalon only makes HAA.

                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                            I don't understand where you are getting your notion of "conventional wisdom." But it is true that Calphalon established its reputation with Calphalon Commercial hard-anodized aluminum. This died and was resurrected. I have one old and one new piece. The new version is a little different. I think the oroginal was better, but both have inferior handles. I also had one new piece which I sent back right away. This happens again and again with many companies. A great product comes out, then it is dropped or modified for economic reasons.

                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                              On other boards, I've run across numerous threads where people do not know that Calphalon makes anything other than HAA. Some have been shocked to learn that my Tri-Ply is 12 years old.

                                                                              Some people even go so far as to refer to "Calphalon" when they really mean any HAA. Like using the word "Kleenex" for facial tissue.

                                                                            2. re: DuffyH

                                                                              I do own a few pieces of the their clad "try-ply" stainless cookware. For it's price point, it cooks well.

                                                                              1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                I've got a number of pans in Calphalon Tri-Ply. I would say it cooks well, period. Price point is not relevant.

                                                                            3. re: Sid Post

                                                                              Hi, Sid:

                                                                              This is a brilliant analysis, and profoundly true.

                                                                              I would also add that a huge majority stop the minute the subpar POS is replaced by something better, and the improvement confirms that they've made the BEST possible choice (when rational thought should stop at BETTER or GOOD).

                                                                              My cooking development was arrested for far too long with Le Creuset. For many years, I had my cooking identity all tied up with it. It looked great, cost a lot, and was a badge of sorts. It must be good, right? And if there are problems with the preps cooked in it, it must've been me, right?

                                                                              This phenomenon of confirmation bias is a big reason why I advocate creation of a "lending library" of pans and cutaways, so folks can go from an uninformed "Wow, *that's* better!", to a more educated "This is what works best for me." Unfortunately, with the advent of induction and the complications it's imparted in making apples-apples comparisons, we're off on a multi-track effort.

                                                                              Thanks for your insight.

                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                I like the lending library idea, but given the way others treat them in my house, I am not sure the library will offer tinned copper (or tinned steel), well seasoned iron or steel pans or bakeware, carbon steel knives, or anything else that requires prudence, attention, or care unless they have taken the 101 and 201 level courses first!

                                                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                  Hi, Tim:

                                                                                  That is why an immodest damage deposit on all the lent pans will be necessary.

                                                                                  If this idea ever gets any traction, I'll start contacting the makers for donations. Who agrees to donate may speak volumes.

                                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                    In another area of interest to me, high-end stereo equipment, there is a for-profit company that offers a lending library of cables and interconnects. This is a category that includes a lot of subjectivity, mysticism and downright voodoo snake oil, but also some known science/engineering of compatibility with components with particular electrical requirements. The folks who run this company have wide experience and an extensive data base, and can counsel a customer on what might work best for him and his budget. And the customer can get the ultimate test, hearing it with his own ears.

                                                                            4. AC is not *the* best, that is heavy copper. But AC performs well, is durable, low maintenance, dishwasher safe, and is made in the USA. A pretty good combination of virtues. I like the Demeyere Industry 5 handles better, but not enough to replace my AC. (Yet.)

                                                                              1. I think of their basic clad SS as a reference point to which most can relate, not necessarily the best or even upper echelon in terms of critical attributes, sort of like my Honda. I also find it amazing that they have not changed their handles, even if some people do like them. I am fine with adopting a new baseline in theory but have no idea what it might be. Tramontina? Cuisinart? Norpro?

                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                  <I am fine with adopting a new baseline in theory but have no idea what it might be. Tramontina? Cuisinart? Norpro?>

                                                                                  As cookware technology has changed, that becomes ever more difficult to answer, doesn't it?

                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                    It really does. I have to admit that most new pans are way better than the thin SS of the fifties.

                                                                                  2. re: tim irvine

                                                                                    I hear/tell that the latest AC has new handles, reportedly *better*. Some say hardly could be worse. Tried picking them up in the store, maybe better than my older AC, but I liked the Demeyere Industry 5 handles way better. Haven't cooked with either.

                                                                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                      Their newer handles are a step in the right direction and seem to mimic some handles I see in the general merchandise big box stores generic cookware.

                                                                                      1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                        Ironically, the newer All Clad handle is still worse than its own Emerileware handle. You have to wonder" What the hell?

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          The newer handle, if you mean like the one on my LTD2 skillet, is just a tweak of the design. I don't wonder what they are thinking. I assume they are sticking with their handle design because they like it and because it is working for them.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            One would think they have done some market research or something that leads them to believe their handle is just what people want. Not this person, but, for all the people that don't like the handle, there must be hundreds that either like it or are not swayed one way or the other by the handle. Obviously, they know they can change the design, they did so on Emerileware. Perhaps the handle design is part of their identity and they don't want to change it. You know it's AC by the look and unfortunately the feel of the handle.

                                                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                                                              <Perhaps the handle design is part of their identity and they don't want to change it.>

                                                                                              I think that is probably it. It is a signature, and it is very unique. Hey, you know what? You know other companies won't try to copy its handle design. :)

                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                I expect most users of AC don't think it's an issue at all. The complaints on this site mostly come from the same five or six people over and over.

                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                  <I expect most users of AC don't think it's an issue at all. >

                                                                                                  This is a filtered group. Basically, the people who hate All Clad handle design won't have bought and use them.

                                                                                                  This is the same idea that "most people who bought a coupe do not have issue of its lack of space"

                                                                                                  <The complaints on this site mostly come from the same five or six people over and over.>

                                                                                                  Well, you have to also consider that some of these posts do not have high traffic. So having 5-6 people complaining the All Clad is actually a very high percentage.

                                                                                                  There were more than 5-6 people who felt that All Clad handle is difficult to use:

                                                                                                  jeffreyem:
                                                                                                  "what really got me started was my absolute distaste of All-Clad handles."

                                                                                                  danwalk:
                                                                                                  "The uncomfortable handles and the lack of pouring lips on All-Clad saucepans drive me batty "

                                                                                                  Paulustrious:
                                                                                                  " I picked up a heavy All Clad frying pan and thought to myself what a piss poor design the handle was."

                                                                                                  Soop:
                                                                                                  "They do look uncomfortable"

                                                                                                  barb2007:
                                                                                                  "I have several All-Clad pots and pans that I do not use because of the very uncomfortable handles."

                                                                                                  CACook
                                                                                                  "they are fairly uncomfortable but really isn't that bad"

                                                                                                  legourmettv
                                                                                                  "The uncomfortable handle is the number one reason I don't own any..."

                                                                                                  vvvindaloo:
                                                                                                  "I really love everything else about the All-Clad, but find the handles just a bit too uncomfortable."

                                                                                                  johnb:
                                                                                                  "The crappy handles on All-clad have been commented upon frequently by many, including me--here is a thread from 3 years ago..."

                                                                                                  HLing
                                                                                                  "I was really puzzled over why almost everyone on this thread hated All Clad handles...I love them"

                                                                                                  Writeher:
                                                                                                  "YES, me! They are gruelling. The handles are such a poor design"

                                                                                                  bassnwhaler:
                                                                                                  "I also do not like the handles...they seem too narrow to support the good heft of the pans"

                                                                                                  breadchick
                                                                                                  " I have a lot of All Clad and it was fine when I was a bit younger. Now, with joint issues I have a hard time gripping them securely"

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I knew someone would research that for me. Thank you. Now I want a count of the number of times each person has registered the complaint.

                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                      At least 3 times for myself.

                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                        Those were from one thread.

                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/623123

                                                                                                        The important point is the "percentage" of the complaints.

                                                                                                        < Now I want a count of the number of times each person has registered the complaint.>

                                                                                                        I think you are on your own for that. I know that it is easy to dismiss other people's opinions as biased or conspiracies as people have done in the Bar Keeper Friend vs Bon Ami thread.

                                                                                                        I was hoping to tell you that there are more than just a few vocal posters who complained about the All Clad handle design, but I can see this is no longer something I can achieve at this moment. Good luck.

                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                          I probably have complained way numerous times in various discussions. When I found the Cuisinart French line, I found my solution. I gave away my AC 11 inch skillet and 3 qt saucepan and replaced them with the C/F. They perform just as well, weren't as expensive, and the handles are better. Also the skillet has more real estate than my AC did.
                                                                                                          My smaller AC saucepans are okay since they hold smaller amounts. My AC braiser, stockpots, sauteuse, etc. have loop handles - so not an issue either.

                                                                                                          I also shake my head at the small change in handle design in the D5 line. Really? That's an improvement?

                                                                                                          1. re: breadchick

                                                                                                            I think mikie (and a few other previous posters) got it right. At this point, the All Clad handle is its signature.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                              Yes, true.

                                                                                        2. Short answer: NO, for me, All-Clad is not "all that".
                                                                                          When I first started to upgrade my cookware, I was drawn in by the All-Clad hype and got a couple of pieces. I was very unimpressed - they weren't terrible, but very, very "Meh" and WAY overpriced for what you get. I then decided to really study the diffferent types of cookware and started one piece at a time with tin-lined copper, Demeyere Atlantis, Fissler Solea, Staub, and recently, a couple of Emile Henry Flame pieces. Now I have a cookware repertoire that I am absolutely thrilled with and love to cook with.

                                                                                          That said, some people LOVE their All-Clad. Luckily, we have choices.

                                                                                          1. I swear by mine. I have had my set for about for about 15 years now. Looks great, I enjoy it every single time I use it. I don't always take the best care of it, but I have found it to be absolutely bullet proof and I recommend.

                                                                                            I also have a few Kitchen aide pots and pans very high quality as well.

                                                                                            IMHO anything you only have to buy once is not expensive!

                                                                                            1. All-Clad has earned its place in the cookware hierarchy. The company invented a reliable cladding process, and the result is in your pockets as U.S. change. They branched out into cookware and it was originally sold to professionals through restaurant supply stores. For those lucky enough to have any of the original production, like Dear Daughter, it is truly bullet proof.

                                                                                              Now that I no longer have it, I miss it terribly. I have been haunting the local thrift shops, but all I can find is Le Crusette and lots of Calphalon. I even miss my AC woks.

                                                                                              I first saw retail sales on a trip to New Orleans in 1981. The prices shocked me. Luckily, Mom loves shopping and living close to the factory resulted in items that never made it to the stores. I loved the phone call from Mom asking if I wanted a 40 quart or 60 quart stockpot.

                                                                                              20 years ago, it was the standard on the cooking shows. And readily identifiable. It is extremely long lasting, and the warranty is awesome. It has definitely earned it's place, as far as I am concerned. Whether they maintain it is up to them.

                                                                                              Because I really hate those slick, tiny handles they now have.

                                                                                              1. Here's a link to an article explaining how All-Clad reinforces the mythos:

                                                                                                http://web2.murraystate.edu/fred.mill...

                                                                                                By the early 2000s, A-C had reached $100 million in annual sales.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                  In the early 2000s, AC and Calphalon are about the same size. Calphalon may be slightly larger, but very slight. Now, I think All Clad has shrunk since then:

                                                                                                  "In North America, sales grew firmly despite disparities between the United States on one hand and Canada and Mexico on the other. In the US, where the economic environment was a little more buoyant than in 2012, consumer spending was up slightly but remained highly volatile. The Group's performance more or less resembled that of the market. In cookware, T-fal enjoyed robust revenue growth, led by new product launches, a strong marketing dynamic and rapid rise in e-commerce. However, business was more difficult for All-Clad and Emeril which turned in a lacklustre performance in a very competitive environment. "

                                                                                                  http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-2...

                                                                                                  At this point, I believe All Clad only has a 12-13 millions in revenue (could be wrong). A lot of people think All Clad is doing great. No it isn't.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    Thanks for the update. It's probable because there is a lot more competition in tri-ply cookware now.

                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                      Actually, I am not 100% sure if it is really 12-13 millions. I am pretty sure that All Clad is smaller now than when it was in 2000s, but it may not be as small as 12-13 millions.

                                                                                                      Annual Revenue Estimate $13,100,000
                                                                                                      http://www.manta.com/c/mmf8gsb/all-cl...

                                                                                                      All-Clad Metalcrafters, L L C had $12.2 Million in estimated annual revenue (Estimated data).
                                                                                                      http://companies.findthecompany.com/l...

                                                                                                      Let me know if these numbers are inaccurate. Thanks.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                        AC being pushed by countless online and offline retailers, I highly highly highly doubt that their revenue is only $12-13M. Their 2000 sales of $100M seems more realistic. The $12-$13M revenue is likely for an extended product line like Emerilware or some other subsidiary.

                                                                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                    Shopping at Home Goods today and saw quite a bit of All Clad. So I guess they don't keep it away from *all* of the discounters any more.

                                                                                                  3. All-Clad is currently part of the Global SEB group:

                                                                                                    http://www.groupeseb.com/en-en/conten...

                                                                                                    It does still manufacture mostly in the USA, but as a global owned company, is it an American company?

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                      That's a whole other debate. Some people look at corporate profits; where do they go? Others look at the manufacturing process; where are the jobs?

                                                                                                      1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                        <All-Clad is currently part of the Global SEB group:>

                                                                                                        All-Clad has not been its own company for a long time. Before Groupe SEB, it belongs to Waterford Wedgwood, and before that Annealing Box Co.

                                                                                                        The All Clad flagship cookware are still mostly manufactured in US. The All Clad Emerilware are not. The All Clad utensils and bakeware may or may not.

                                                                                                        I would say that it is like Jaguar (cars) being bought by Indian Tata Motors or Volvo being bought by Chinese Geely Automobile. They maintain a level of independence, but they are not entirely their own.

                                                                                                        This is why it is not always in the best interest to be a premier cookware company. It can pigeonhole the company into a very small market and losing market share, and either become nonexistence or bought out.

                                                                                                        <is it an American company?>

                                                                                                        It entirely depends on your definition. I would say that it is an American "brand".

                                                                                                      2. No. It seems like it has had its run as the popular brand. Now it seems to be Mauviel's turn.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                                                          It would seem to me that Zwilling is going to make a run at it with the purchase of Demeyere and their brand of the Industry 5 line Sensation. They have the cooking trifecta with Henckels, Staub, and Demeyere. Their cookware covers a number of price points, made in different countries, covering the high end with Belgium.

                                                                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                                                                            Zwilling is ambitious and is very active. Beside the cookware purchase of Demeyere, it has also purchase a Japanese company to make its Westernized Japanese knives. This is the reason why the Zwilling Miyabi knives are all made in Seki, Japan.

                                                                                                            For cookware (pots and pans), I have a different prediction. I think it is up in the air who is going to come out first.

                                                                                                        2. I hadn't noticed anyone mention this so far - forgive me if I overlooked it... But ISTM that Tramontina - the Walmart set! - seems to have made more than one Hound reconsider the place of AC... That is to say many realize that they can get very nearly similar performance from a set of Tram that costs less than a single AC 10" fry pan withOUT lid.

                                                                                                          In my mind it shifted the baseline slightly to the point many of us (all right, ME) started reconsidering our perception of value for AC.

                                                                                                          Full disclosure, I have exactly one All-Clad pan - factory second I splurged on when it was on super-red-tag-clearance. A 9" French skillet I reach past 90% of the time to grab a 50 year old 9" Revere Ware I bought for $3.88 at thrift shop when I had more time to hunt than money to spend and was starting over. The handle is more comfortable and my attachment is sentimental.

                                                                                                          1. I prepare 90%+ of our meals at home and without exception, my All-Clad pans outperform my others. That said, I was extremely disappointed to find that my top-of-their-line Copper Core pieces were not suitable for induction cooking. I understand that recently AC has adapted this line of cookware and this line does now work on induction cooktops but, that doesn't help me and definitely negates my ROI as those pieces are now useless to me.

                                                                                                            1. I like all-clad and have used them for a long time - 15 years or so. I have and use other pans too. One that I like is a half-gallon stainless two-handled stew pot with a 1/3 inch aluminum disc welded on the bottom clad in steel. I just looked, the brand is "SIGG" and it was five bucks at some discount store.

                                                                                                              This christmas my mother gave me an all-clad nonstick 4-qt saucepan though, and I cannot figure out the point. I like AC because they are durable and conduct heat well (edit: for browning the heck out of stock or sauce components, and no worries scraping the lovely bits off the bottom with a metal implement). Nonstick is perishable, and why would you need nonstick in a 4-qt saucepan? Everything you cook in there is liquid anyway.

                                                                                                              I have had some issues with warping of wide all-clad pans, frying pans in particular.

                                                                                                              1. 2 AC pans for $60
                                                                                                                http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

                                                                                                                1. My All-Clad was bought in the 70's. I still use it every day. Lasting. I do not know about today's product.

                                                                                                                  1. Hmm, I didn't realize All-Clad was all that. I like my skillet all right, but it sure is ugly. To me, 'all that' cookware has more going for it aesthetically.

                                                                                                                    1. www.seriouseats.com/.../equipment-the...

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                        This guy pushes A-C at every opportunity, so take it for what it's worth...

                                                                                                                        I also think that scorchprint test was either rigged or botched.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                          How interesting. Thanks for your insight.

                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            You're welcome. And thank you for your sincere interest.

                                                                                                                          2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                            strange! I tried to reply to a post that's no longer here ?????

                                                                                                                            Well, what the heck, I read the information and it's not a very technical effort, this coming from an engineer where data and numbers are what counts.

                                                                                                                            He used pan weight to make a comparison, but didn't remove the handles, an apendage that doesn't play a part in the cooking process and is different on each pan, easily accounting for the difference in weight. I still can't believe these sites and or mags that do testing of cookware don't have thermal immaging cameras.

                                                                                                                            I must say, I wish I had read a number of his articles sooner as for the most part they are informative, although somewhat biased.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                              "strange! I tried to reply to a post that's no longer here ?????"

                                                                                                                              This is not what you read?

                                                                                                                              "How interesting. Thanks for your insight.

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster"

                                                                                                                              "K kaleokahu
                                                                                                                              You're welcome. And thank you for your sincere interest"

                                                                                                                              .....cue Twilight Zone music. Or maybe Farenheit 451. Or was that 1984?

                                                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                >> strange! I tried to reply to a post that's no longer here ?????

                                                                                                                                It's called revisionist history, Chowhound style.

                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Corrected link:
                                                                                                                              http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/eq...

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            3. I have had my All-Clad set for 3 years (frying pan, sauce pan, chef pan, small/ medium/ large pots). I cannot really compare it to other high-quality brands, as I haven't used the others before.

                                                                                                                              So far I am happy with my set, except that they are quite heavy (heavy for tiny me!) and sometimes difficult to clean, especially the egg frying pan.