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Fat Guy

The incredible amazing Chefmate saucepan and more

163 posts in this topic

Eddie Schoenfeld and I discovered a product being sold at Target under the brand name Chefmate.

It is a medium saucepan with a copper bottom, extremely heavy-gauge stainless steel construction, and big-ass serious rivets attaching the handle to the pot. The lid fits like a glove. The surface is polished to a high shine. This utensil gives every indication of having been made in Switzerland, Belgium, or Germany and were I to pick it up and take a guess I'd say it's a $120+ piece of equipment. If I saw it on sale for $80 I'd seriously consider buying it.

At Target, this item, which is made in Hong Kong, costs $19.95.

I cannot emphasize enough how remarkable this is. I have never in my life seen a product retailing for $19.95 that contains this sheer quantity of metal. It is not just regular heavy-duty. It is fully as heavy-duty as the world's most expensive stainless cookware lines.

It wasn't easy to get to the bottom of all this, but some creative Google searching led me to the Web site of a company called Herald Group. This seems to be the wellspring of all things Chefmate, and I've also noticed that Chefmate products are available from retailers other than Target. Moreover, the same products may be sold under different labels elsewhere. It's hard to tell.

There's no way to predict how this utensil will hold up. However, the only thing I can imagine going wrong with it would be something in the base if it is poorly engineered and somehow warps. But at $19.95 what's the risk? If you get a year of use out of it you're all set. And I would say chances are better than 50-50 that this item will outlive you.

I will report back as this situation develops. I plan on acquiring a variety of pieces of Chefmate at Target soon so as to put the whole line through its paces.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Shaw, you Target shill! :biggrin:

Actually, seriously, I might drop into Target on Monday or Tuesday and check it out. Target occasionally has wacky unexplained deals like this.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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If you go to Target.com and search for "Chefmate" it comes up with eight results. Few of the products I saw in the actual store (in Hackensack, New Jersey), are on the site. Few of the products I saw on the site were in the store.

One very nifty thing on the site, however, is a 16-quart heavy-gauge stockpot for -- get this -- $29.99. Yes it comes with a lid. A tempered glass friggin' lid. I have not personally inspected the product but it is listed on the Web site as weighing 10 pounds! Again, that's extremely serious commercial weight stuff.

And for $69.99, it seems you can get a lifetime supply of stockpots: A set of 8-, 12-, and 16-quart pots, all with lids. It's 22 pounds of glass and metal altogether, apparently. Maybe the weights include packaging too, but that's not going to be hugely significant.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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What are the handles made of? Oven-friendly?


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Yes. The handles are heavy stainless as well, in the popular curved "V" design you see on All-Clad and Calphalon (and which is not my favorite -- I prefer a flatter, wider handle).


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I only got 8 results from a search for Chefmate and the saucepan you describe does not seem to be among them. Link to product please.

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Yes, I'm sorry if I was unclear: it's not on the site. See my post Feb 2 2003, 02:59 AM for my investigation.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG, when you say "copper bottom" do you mean a layer of copper sandwiched between stainless, or a copper wash, or something else? And how thick is the copper? Can you tell, or is there some indication? Does the copper extend up into the sides too?


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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The copper is visible. I believe it is a copper-aluminum-stainless sandwich. It extends approximately 3/4" up the sides, which should eliminate scorching in the fold. There's no real way to evaluate it beyond that without special equipment. The joint seems tight, though, and to the extent I've seen copper washes on cheap pots it doesn't look like that at all.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steve,

No sooner did I read your post yesterday morning, than I drove to the closest Target store in York Pa, about a 20 mile drive. They had a chefmate pan meeting your description at the $19.95 price, but this one did not have a cover. As you described it, this was a strong, medium sized, heavy, pan with a copper bottom. Since I really like to have the convenience/option of having a cover, I didn't buy it. Do you have a model number for the one which you saw? I'm wondering if the one my Target store had was the same sans cover, as yours or an entirely different one.

Porkpa

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I don't know the product number, however this one was shrinkwrapped together with its lid. I wonder if, at your Target, somebody had opened the packaging and the lid had become separated.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I just called the local Target in western Mass. They have the 3-pot -- 8-12-16 quart -- $69.99 offer in stock WITH lids included.

Steve, maybe I missed it, but did you specify the precise size of the $19.95 medium sauce pan?

During my phone call, I did not get all the details, since I hope to stop by Target later today, but they also have a smaller 4-piece that includes a strainer.

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I don't know the size for sure. Maybe 2.5 or 3 quarts.

3 quarts

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Amazon offers a selection. The stainless is apparently 18/10.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Amazon and Target are interoperative in this regard. You get the same Target product either way.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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By the way my understanding is that 18/10 and 18/8 just represent the percentages of chromium and nickel and, standing alone, don't mean much in terms of quality.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Tell us how it works out.

Again, just so everyone is clear, in this context Amazon = Target and Target = Amazon.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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By the way my understanding is that 18/10 and 18/8 just represent the percentages of chromium and nickel and, standing alone, don't mean much in terms of quality.

That's right -- the 18/10 will be slightly more durable, but either is fine for cookware.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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But isn't there some sort of tradeoff, like ductility? In other words, typically the 300-series steel has more "give" -- it will bend more before breaking. Something like that. 300-series is 18/8 and 316 is 18/10, if I'm remembering correctly. And those two things are not the only compounds that matter anyway, because the molybdenum is also important. I don't really know what I'm talking about. I need to visit the Nickel Institute site again someday.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Chefmate (=Pilot =Herald Group) also avalible in UK (Sainsbury's), however they don't have the copper base, still quite heavy duty with tempered glass lids. Five saucepans and a frying pan for twenty quid. Lack of copper a problem?

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In a saucepan, I can't imagine a copper layer in the base makes all that much of a difference.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Doesn't 18/10, 18/8 also reflect the weight of the product, perhaps due to the inlcusion of more of a heavier metal (the second number)? If not, then why is higher-numbered stainless heavier?


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Standing alone it doesn't have anything to do with weight. A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of lead, and a pound of 18/10 weighs the same as a pound of 18/8.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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