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The incredible amazing Chefmate saucepan and more


Fat Guy
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Remember that you do not want the flames to come up over the disk and heat the ss. That will tend to scorch anything touching the plain ss sides.

Soaking and scrubbing with a plastic scrubbie, or soaking over night, and using Bar Keeper Friend is all mine ever need. Avoid anything more abrasive than that.

I have some of the CM tri-ply pieces and the 12" copper disk fry pan. I also have one piece of All-Clad tri-ply, and I use all of these regularly...but have started upgrading. The CM tri-ply is thinner than the All-Clad and I can tell the difference. I doubt the copper disk pans have much copper in them, but probably have a thick aluminum disk that in many ways may be superior to the tri-ply.

Nothing wrong with any of the above so far in my experience, but they do have important limitations. If you have invested in a Viking range, you may want to consider investing in more serious cookware other than the over-priced All-Clad, not that the CM wouldn't make a good starter set. But you'll soon find the limitations of these pieces.

You may want to check out SLKinsey's excellent eGCI course on Understanding Stovetop Cookware.

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Thanks Richard.

I have read those threads over and over to get a handle on the subject.

I did let the pan heat well before adding oil so there was no food sticking, just the oil on the side that splashed up and turned to a brown glue/varnish like layer. I have that on the exterior of some of my older SS pans but not the inside. I will try letting it soak overnight if real stuborn and stick with the Bar keepers Friend. I guess that's what kept me using non-stick or cast iron in the first place.

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Dawn Power Dissolver is your friend.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I guess the best advice here hjas been to buy individual pieces that you know you want and will use, rather than sets. If you have an under $100 budget and are just starting out, then the CM set makes sense, knowing you will probably want to upgrade most of those pieces within a year or two in order to get single pieces of different types of cookware that best suit specific cooking applications.

If you are not locked into an under hundred dollar budget, you have some great alternatives. For example, you can piece together a significant set of restaurant quality cookware such as Sitram and an enamelled cast-iron Dutch(French) oven for $300 - $350. And they will last forever. You'll keep them and use them even if you add some copper pieces later.

That said, I think the CM aluminum disk stock pots are a great deal if you can still find them. The only better deal I have found is the Tramontana 22 (24?) qt stockpot with ss lid (rather than glass like the CM has) at Sam's Club for about $50. Most of us do not make stock each week at home, so they tend to be important peices that get light use.

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  • 2 months later...

Following up this thread, I bought a set after reading the thread. The pans were fine and felt good. But I noticed a small bubble on the bottom of the smaller saucepan. It has now grown to gigantic proportions and covers half the bottom. I tried to find the company on the web to see what the warranty was but they don't seem to exist. I then did a Google search and it turns out this is not uncommon. One user even had a trajectory incident where the laminate completely failed and the inside disc shot out! The problems mostly seem to be with the sauté pans but mine was with the sauce pan.

Not that it should matter, but I don't tend to cook at high heats and I never put them in a dishwasher, although the box said you could, but risked ruining the finish.

Adios, ChefMate. Never again.

Edited by rancho_gordo (log)

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Rancho, were yours the triply or aluminum/copper disc bottoms and how long have you been using them?

FWIW I saw an All Clad 12"? Stainless-Steel Sauté Pan with Lid

at Homegood reduced to $168. I'm thinking that is the 6 qt but still some serious bucks for one pan.

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  • 7 months later...

This thread looks like a good place to post the following:

In the Jan./Feb. 2007 edition of Cook's Illustrated magazine, the ChefMate enameled cast iron casseroles (4.5 qt. round (red only) and 5.5 qt. oval (blue only)) got the nod for best value in the category (Le Creuset, Stuab, et al.). I have not bothered getting a copy of the magazine yet, but an ongoing discussion is available at the CI/ATK website.

I did buy the round oven today -- paid $39.99 (oval goes for $49.99) -- and it looks very impressive for the money. Comparable heft as compared to my sole piece of LC, lid fit seems very good, but the enamel is a wee bit shoddy in spots. The lid does come with a plastic knob that is only oven safe to 350F, but I quickly upgraded that with a Home Depot stainless steel knob for four bucks.

Why did I buy it? I couldn't bring myself to use my sole LC oven for the NYT/Lahey/Bittman "No Knead Bread Recipe" that uses temperatures approaching 500F! I'm sure the LC would've come away unscathed, but this was a good reason to add to my cast iron collection! (Plus, the ChefMate fits my Cadco oven, while the LC does not...)

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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There are some significant problems with this cookware. People on Amazon have reported bubbles forming in between the layers, and the base delaminating while cooking something that can be VERYdangerous. One person said the sound was like a firearm going off. Read the reviews before purchasing.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00...en-20/ref=nosim

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.

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I have the copper bottom stainless steel set and have not had any real problems except that with the disc bottoms the sides get much hotter than the bottoms which results in spatter that burns around the sides and is difficult to clean. Is this something that is inherent in most pans with disc bottoms compared to triply and all clad products? I've found the copper discolors some but if you put some elbow grease into it with barkeepers friend it cleans up well and returns to it's shinny copper finish.

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Wow... that Amazon page is indeed scary. I gave one of these frying pans to a friend a couple of years ago. I hope it doesn't fail catastrophically on her. Maybe I should give her a buzz and warn her.

Has anybody here on eG experienced the Amazon failure mode in these pans? I'd really like to know how widespread these explosive delaminations are.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Nobody I've turned on to this stuff has had such a problem, though I do know people with disk-bottom cookware (other brands) that have had the bottoms separate. The story I've heard a few times is that the bottoms pop off when you run a hot pan under cold water.

The disk-bottom design is not a smart design for high-heat cooking and rapid cooling. The only pieces I have in my kitchen that have disk bottoms are a stockpot (where the disk bottom is the best design because it saves so much weight) and two small saucepans (which are rarely subjected to extreme temperatures). For a skillet or other workhorse piece, forget about it.

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,

Have you ever run into de Buyer's Inocuivre line?

Invocuivre pans are made of 2mm copper with a 0.5mm stainless lining PLUS a 3.2mm disc of copper and a 0.5mm stainless bottom. That means 2.5mm walls with a 6.2mm base. Somewhere, they add enough steel to provide for induction. The pans also have very heavy open large oval/curved handles. Pouring lips with a shiny copper exterior and shiny stainless on the thick disc. Really cool!

I purchased a small splayed chef's pan at TJ Maxx for almost nothing. I have not seen any more.

Tim

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De Buyer's Inoxcuivre line is made in a variety of weights and thicknesses, but I have never seen anything indicating the specifications you are citing. The "Inocuivre Induction" line seems to simply have an additional base of magnetic steel. It doesn't seem credible that you could have bought cookware that truly had these specifications (including a base with 5.2 mm of copper!) for what would be described as "almost nothing." Such a pan would be among the most expensive on the market, simply due to the cost of the materials. Unfortunately, a lot of cookware sellers and stores promote bogus specifications.

--

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De Buyer's Inoxcuivre line is made in a variety of weights and thicknesses, but I have never seen anything indicating the specifications you are citing.  The "Inocuivre Induction" line seems to simply have an additional base of magnetic steel.  It doesn't seem credible that you could have bought cookware that truly had these specifications (including a base with 5.2 mm of copper!) for what would be described as "almost nothing."  Such a pan would be among the most expensive on the market, simply due to the cost of the materials.  Unfortunately, a lot of cookware sellers and stores promote bogus specifications.

Sam,

I measured the thicknesses with my micrometer and verified the measurements on de Buyer's website. I paid $29.95 at TJ Maxx. HONEST!

I have it wrapped for my wife. She will use it to cook isomalt windows for gingerbread houses. I'll take a few pics and post them on your cookware course Q&A thread.

I just can't figure out why TJ Maxx ended up with a pan that was never imported.

Tim

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Sam,

Here is a link to the de Buyer website.

De Buyer Inocuivre Catalog

And a picture of the specific catalog for Inocuivre

Inocuivre.jpg

As I remember the pan measures at 2.5mm which includes 2.0mm copper. The measurement for the base was done without a micrometer and is approximate but pretty close. I will remeasure after Christmas.

They say the handle is cast, but I think it is cast and then rolled. It is very thick, comfortable and will obviously be cool.

It is interesting that the website does not mention the separate disc base and does not show a splayed suateuse. Possibly, I purchased a pan which does not exist.

That reminds me of the All-Clad MC-2 that I saw in Minneapolis with the old and much thicker Masterchef base attached. I called All-Clad and was told that I could not have seen the combination. I dubbed it Mystery-Clad.

Tim

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Sam,

The catalog page in the above post has another clue to this cookware. It states that the Inocuivre Copper Stainless Steel cookware is for all heat sources except induction".

Going through de Buyer's Product section, then Cookware, then Copper you will find the statement that their copper cookware is appropriate for all "Heat Sources:Heat sources : All types except induction (except INOXCUIVRE INDUCTION)."

This may be an indication that the INOXCUIVRE INDUCTION cookware is the Inocuivre cookware with a disc bottom that provides for induction cooking. My pan must be the Inoxcuivre Induction.

Inocuivre.jpg

This cookware logo is included in the website but that specific cookware is not in their catalog.

Tim

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Tim, I don't have much doubt that they make 2.0 mm copper/0.5 mm stainless cookware. I do, however, have serious doubt that they have further slapped a 3.2 mm disk of copper on the bottom of said 2.0 mm copper/0.5 mm stainless cookware. All you need to make a pan work with induction, by the way, is a thin layer of magnetic steel. There is no reason why Inocuivre Induction would need, or benefit from an extra copper disk on the bottom in the context of induction heating. The easiest thing to do would be to slap a 0.5 mm layer of magnetic steel on the outside of the pan and have done with it.

--

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I've had a set of chefmate pans for about a year now and have been very pleased with them. I left a pan on the heat, forgot about it, and had the aluminum core liquefy, but that wasn't the pan's fault, it was mine. Any aluminum pan would have melted the same way.

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Hi Fat Guy

There is a phenomenem that is happening in Chinese marketing. It is called second shift. I design a product and realize that the only way I can sell it at a certain price point is to have it made in China. I need 20,000 widgets. The Factory can produce 50,000. Minimal polution controls, price is right. I now have the specifications for the product. I produce for the original company who ordered it. Now I run a second line that I sell under a different name that undercuts my other product. Ethics?

Cheers

baconburner

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.

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Tim, I don't have much doubt that they make 2.0 mm copper/0.5 mm stainless cookware.  I do, however, have serious doubt that they have further slapped a 3.2 mm disk of copper on the bottom of said 2.0 mm copper/0.5 mm stainless cookware.  All you need to make a pan work with induction, by the way, is a thin layer of magnetic steel.  There is no reason why Inocuivre Induction would need, or benefit from an extra copper disk on the bottom in the context of induction heating.  The easiest thing to do would be to slap a 0.5 mm layer of magnetic steel on the outside of the pan and have done with it.

Sam,

I will be in NYC within the next year. I will bring the pan and my micrometer. If you prefer, I will ship the pan to you for inspection.

Let me know!

Tim

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Sam,

You'll have to get my wife's permission to cut it in half. When you see the pictures, you will know that I am not crazy, and I know why you must be thinking that....

Now, I'll have to figure out how to use that damn scanner.

Tim

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Today I was in a store whose cookware section specialises in selling end-of-run and manufacturers seconds.

They had a pan bearing the inocuivre induction logo pictured above.

That pan at least was an aluminum pan clad outside with copper, and inside with stainless. It also had an encapsulated base, the first time I've ever seen a clad pan treated thus. The pan I handled [and put back] was certainly not the copper construction lined with stainless familiar to me from the Falk pans.

The copper cladding on the outside was a 'for show' thickness. I had no mic with me, but I'd estimate the aluminum as about 2mm

Caveat emptor.

cheers

Derek

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