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Q&A -- Understanding Stovetop Cookware

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That was on an 18k btu gas burner, not electric.

That's just my point. It is the nature of cooking over an open flame that it is not particularly efficient. Of course a lot of heat doesn't go into the pan. All you have to do is put yor hand at the side of a pan on a hot burner to verify that this is true. Due to this fact, there are finite limits as to how efficient the transfer of heat from the flame to the pan can possibly be. Anyone will tell you that -- other things being equal -- water boils faster on an electric burner than on a gas burner. This is because the transfer of heat is more efficient. So what? Most of us would still rather cook over gas.

And, it was actually four minutes, in a kettle which has a copper coil welded to the bottom to act as a heat absorber.  A shiny pasta pot takes around 6 minutes, for one quart of water!

kwillets, you're making your comparisons against a completely theoretical construct assuming 100% efficiency of heat transfer that you came up with by adding some numbers. I doubt very much that an 18000 btu heat source could boil one quart of water in 60 seconds even in laboratory conditions. In the real world, your comparisons are completely meaningless.

I'm not saying that pots should look like CPU coolers, but a few blackened, raised ridges would probably add a great deal to the average pasta pot.  It would certainly beat having to buy a commercial stove to get the same heating performance.

I doubt very much any design elements that did not interfere with the usefulness of the cookware would significantly impact the efficiency of heat transfer and heat retention. The idea that a "a few blackened, raised ridges" would make a significant contribution just doesn't make sense. It's just not that simple.

While I agree that heating efficiency is not the only factor, it's one more thing to be aware of, and I seldom see it mentioned.

I think it has been mentioned. Certain materials -- i.e., those with better thermal conductivity -- are more efficient at conducting heat. Sometimes you want efficient conduction, sometimes you don't. For most cooking tasks, it is either impractical or ineffective to make radical design changes in order to pick up an additional 2% of thermal efficiency.

I suppose it changes one's opinion of heat conduction and so forth when one realizes that the bulk of the heat goes right by the pan. :wub:

Not really... all the things we've been saying about thermal conduction, etc. are still true in the real world environment of the kitchen. You can put all the blackened fins you want on a cast iron pan and it still won't heat up as fast as a copper pan.


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I'm wondering wether or not straight gauge or disc-bottom is better for making rice?

Another question I have is this: can someone really notice the difference in performance of a saucepan that has a disc-bottom 2mm base aluminum versus a straight-gauge 2mm aluminum design?

When trying to get water to boil inside a pot/pan, can one put the temperature setting on an electric stove to "high", even though the pot manufacturer states that using their cookware on high will discolor the base? It seems silly to put a pot on medium heat and wait for it to boil just so that it doesn't discolor!

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I'm wondering wether or not straight gauge or disc-bottom is better for making rice?

That's an interesting question. I usually make rice in a straight gauge Le Creuset "Windsor" because it's just the right size for two people and because I like the way the cast iron retains heat. That said, most people seem to agree that the best vessels for cooking rice are electric rice cookers. I have no idea whether these heat from the bottom only or from all sides.

So, really I have no idea whether or not there is any value when making rice in conducting heat from all sides as opposed to mostly from the bottom. Perhaps we can get one of our resident experts on rice cookery to chime in on this.

Another question I have is this: can someone really notice the difference in performance of a saucepan that has a disc-bottom 2mm base aluminum versus a straight-gauge 2mm aluminum design?

I'd say yes. I can certainly tell the difference between a 2.5 mm straight gauge copper saucepan and a 2.5 mm copper disk bottom saucepan. I have no reason to assume this would be any different for aluminum.

One problem you would probably encounter doing the aluminum comparison you describe is the fact that a 2 mm straight gauge clad aluminum saucepan (e.g., All-Clad Stainless) will be a very high quality pan, whereas a disk bottom design with only 2 mm of aluminum would not be near the top of the heap for that design. Most aluminum disk bottom pans of quality use a lot more than 2 mm of aluminum.

When trying to get water to boil inside a pot/pan, can one put the temperature setting on an electric stove to "high", even though the pot manufacturer states that using their cookware on high will discolor the base?  It seems silly to put a pot on medium heat and wait for it to boil just so that it doesn't discolor!

Yes, it is silly. And there is no reason you shouldn't use the highest temperature setting. Besides, so what if it discolors the base? You're not using the stuff for looks (I hope). And if looks are important to you, Bar Keeper's Friend is your new best friend. I have yet to encounter any dioscoloration on cookware that BKF couldn't handle.


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Thanks for the reply. Now, what would the advantage of a straight-gauge fry pan versus a disc-bottom fry pan? Assuming the disc-bottom fry pan has a good base (lets assume at least 5mm aluminum), then I'd say for frying foods, wouldn't that be enough, or is straight-gauge much better in this case?

Back to boiling water: Making pasta, or hard-boiled eggs, or boiling potatoes.. since all of these things boil in water, does the pot I use to perform those tasks need a heavy base of 5-7mm aluminum, or is 2mm aluminum good enough for those simple things?

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I'm wondering wether or not straight gauge or disc-bottom is better for making rice?

That's an interesting question. I usually make rice in a straight gauge Le Creuset "Windsor" because it's just the right size for two people and because I like the way the cast iron retains heat. .

Ditto, except that I use a 2 qt casserole. Love the way it cooks rice.


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Rice cookers mostly heat from the bottom, using a shaped aluminum disk which mates with the aluminum rice pan. They're also insulated, so the heat is fairly even all around. The center of the disk is a thermostat which turns off at just over the boiling point of water, when the rice is beginning to toast slightly on the bottom. The toasted part is traditionally made into tea, but it's minimal in a rice cooker.

Zojirushi seems to have a feature where the pan is hemispherical, and the disk comes up a small amount around the sides, but it seems like a marketing feature to me.

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Thanks for the reply.  Now, what would the advantage of a straight-gauge fry pan versus a disc-bottom fry pan?  Assuming the disc-bottom fry pan has a good base (lets assume at least 5mm aluminum), then I'd say for frying foods, wouldn't that be enough, or is straight-gauge much better in this case?

The main advantage of having a straight gauge fry pan is that the thermal layer covers every surface of the pan. Since frying food doesn't move around an awful lot (as opposed to sauteing where the food is in constant motion), the lack of a thermal layer near the edges of the pan could actually create situations where food items that overlap the margins of the disk will cook unevenly. This is not an issue for foods which sit squarely in the middle of the fry pan, but can be an issue for large items that use up most of the diameter of the pan (a whole fish, for example, or a fritatta). In such cases, it is also nice to have a pan where the thermal layer extends up the short sloped sides, because part of the large food item will actually be cooking on this surface.

Back to boiling water:  Making pasta, or hard-boiled eggs, or boiling potatoes.. since all of these things boil in water, does the pot I use to perform those tasks need a heavy base of 5-7mm aluminum, or is 2mm aluminum good enough for those simple things?

If all you're doing is boiling water, a disk bottom is overkill. The addition of a good aluminum disk, however, greatly increases the range of things you can do with the pan.


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just out of curiosity.. I was in a restaurant equipment store today where they had hundreds and hundreds of commercial pots/pans for really great prices..

I took a look at the sitram professerrie fry pan and saw the huge aluminum base that is attached to the bottom.

I then saw a Paderno fry pan and noticed it had a base that was just as thick as the one on the sitram profisserrie pan. However, the Paderno pan didn't say anything like "Paderno Grand Gourmet"; it had nothing on it except a tag that said "Paderno".

I'm wondering , is this just a plain paderno pan that uses a simple 2mm aluminum base, or is this a very good Paderno pan - since its base looks almost identical to the one on the sitram profisserrie? Any sure way of knowing? Perhaps the paderno's base looks as good as sitram's, but really isn't.. I'm not sure. The Paderno was definitely cheaper, so I wanted to buy it, but wasn't sure if I'd regret it..

Also, for boiling water.. when you say that disc-bottom is overkill for this task, I assume you mean that I will not be really soaking up the benefit of the bottom disc.

hey, just another question: for boiling potatoes.. is it preferrable to boil potatoes (cut up for the purpose of making mashed potatoes) in a tall pot of small width, or a shorter pot that is of larger width? (just curious..)

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So, really I have no idea whether or not there is any value when making rice in conducting heat from all sides as opposed to mostly from the bottom.  Perhaps we can get one of our resident experts on rice cookery to chime in on this.

Oops. Um.

I usually cook about twenty cups of rice at a time and use a rice cooker.

But when doing a small quantity, say of a special rice as a stuffing for something, I'll often use a common pot. The heat comes from the bottom, the pot is sealed by the lid, the heat lifts and cycles about through the water and the rice absorbs the water.

Aas was said above, some rice cookers have the heating disk running up the sides. I believe that his has more to do with the "keep warm" feature than anything else.

I don't think a disc-bottom matters.

Just. Don't. Lift. THE LID! (ahem. cough.)


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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what kind of things can you use the stainless lined heavy copper curved sauteuse evasée for? Just wondering if I were to give this as a gift, what kind of stuff you can make in such a pan?

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just out of curiosity.. I was in a restaurant equipment store today where they had hundreds and hundreds of commercial pots/pans for really great prices.. 

I took a look at the sitram professerrie fry pan and saw the huge aluminum base that is attached to the bottom.

I then saw a Paderno fry pan and noticed it had a base that was just as thick as the one on the sitram profisserrie pan.  However, the Paderno pan didn't say anything like "Paderno Grand Gourmet"; it had nothing on it except a tag that said "Paderno".

I'm wondering , is this just a plain paderno pan that uses a simple 2mm aluminum base, or is this a very good Paderno pan - since its base looks almost identical to the one on the sitram profisserrie?  Any sure way of knowing?  Perhaps the paderno's base looks as good as sitram's, but really isn't.. I'm not sure.  The Paderno was definitely cheaper, so I wanted to buy it, but wasn't sure if I'd regret it.

Was this store by any chance Bridge Kitchenware in NYC? If you were in the US and it wasn't Bridge, then you weren't seeing Paderno Grand Gourmet. Bridge Kitchenware the exclusive US distributor of Paderno, and the only line they carry is Grand Gourmet. Paderno Grand Gourmet has the same thickness of aluminum as Sitram Profisserie.

That said... and to complicate matters somewhat, there are two manufacturers making "Paderno" cookware. There is a Canadian company that makes cookware called "Paderno" in Canada. Here is an excerpt from an email discussion I had with their marketing and development director a few years ago:

slkinsey: I am a little confused about the naming of your products.  I've spent a lot of time in Italy and am quite familiar with the Paderno cookware manufactured there.  I was a bit surprised to see that you also manufacture a line called "Paderno," although I note that you only use the name "Paderno" in Canada.  Could you explain this to me?  Does your company have any relationship with the Italian company?

marketing guy: The company in Italy actually started our company in 1979. After being close to bankruptcy, they sold it to the current President. We have rights to the name Paderno in Canada, but no other country. We kept the name primarly since there was already some brand recognition established.

[NB. The Italian company has since rebounded and is doing quite well.]

The Canadian company, Padinox, Inc., makes several lines of cookware. Their lower level line, called "Paderno" in Canada and "Chaudier 1000" elsewhere, has 0.8 mm thick stainless steel and a 3/16" (~4.5 mm) aluminum base. Their high level line, called "Chaudier" in Canada and "Chaudier 5000" elsewhere, has 2 mm thick stainless steel and a 1/4" (~6.25 mm) aluminum base. Chaudier 5000 is awesome stuff. Used on Air Force One.

If you have seen cookware named "Paderno" with an aluminum base of less than 7 mm thickness, you were either looking at Canadian-branded cookware or one of the lower lines from the Italian manufacturer (Paderno Serie 1000, Gourmet Serie 1100, Gourmet Serie 2000).

Also, for boiling water..  when you say that disc-bottom is overkill for this task, I assume you mean that I will not be really soaking up the benefit of the bottom disc.

The primary benefits of having a disk bottom are 1) heat capacity, 2) evenness of heat, and 3) responsiveness. When you are boiling a big pot of water, all these things go out the window. There is no need to have good heat capacity because the heat capacity of the water is so great it negates any effect provided by the disk bottom. The heat doesn't need to be even because you can't burn water. There is no need for a responsive pan because the thermal load carried by the water is so great that it is impossible to raise of lower the temperature of the water quickly. So... since none of the advantages of a disk bottom do you any good for boiling water, why pay for them?

However, as I said before, having a disk bottom greatly enhances the pan's flexibility. A cheapo stainless pot is really only good for boiling water. A pot with a nice thick disk bottom allows you to make stock and stew and chili and whatever else without worrying about burning a ring of food on the bottom of the pot.

hey, just another question: for boiling potatoes.. is it preferrable to boil potatoes (cut up for the purpose of making mashed potatoes) in a tall pot of small width, or a shorter pot that is of larger width?  (just curious..)

I don't see how it could make any difference, as long as you have plenty of water.

what kind of things can you use the stainless lined heavy copper curved sauteuse evasée for?  Just wondering if I were to give this as a gift, what kind of stuff you can make in such a pan?

As mentioned in my cookware class, the smaller curved sauteuses evasée are great reduction pans and are great for sauce making. They are also functional as simple small pans for blanching vegetables, etc. The larger sauteuses evasée function more or less like curved saute pans with slightly higher sides. I use my 11" curved sauteuse evasée more often than any other pan in my kitchen. It works for sautéing, for browning off meats, for quick braises... and I almost always use this pan when making pasta sauces because the high sides make it very easy to throw in the pasta for a few minutes of cooking together with the sauce. It's nice to have stainless lined heavy copper for a large diameter sauteuse evasée, because it is so versatile that it will be used frequently -- which means you're really getting your money's worth out of it.


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Darn... I am from Canada so I guess this definitely wasn't a Grand-Gourmet paderno.. The store owner didn't even know what Grand-Gourmet was!

Oh well.

Hey, here's a question about Cast Iron: I have a lodge seasoned cast iron pan.. all I use it for is searing/browning stuff. Most of the time I heat it up in a 500 degree oven, then put it on the stove top, sear a piece of salmon in it for a minute, then put it back in the stove for a few minutes to complete the cooking.

Salmon comes out great.. Just wondering about the pan itself though. If all I'm doing is searing/browning for this and always using such high heat, I imagine that the seasoning isn't gonna last too long.. But should I even care, if all I do is use it to brown/sear ? I don't use this pan for sauteing or anything like that...

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is there a difference between Sitram Profiserie and Sitram Professional? The store I was at had some pans that said Profiserie and some that just said "Sitram Professional"...

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sorry to rehash an old topic, but i read through the cast iron pan discussion and my question wasn't answered. i just bought a lodge cast iron pan, and seasoned it according to the instructions that came with the pan (wash with hot water, cover with oil/ crisco, bake in oven for 1 hr). i used it first to make a seafood pasta, which came out wonderfully. then i washed it with hot water and a sponge (no soap) and proceeded to make a tarte tartin.

there was no sticking involved at all, so i'm assuming the seasoning process worked. however, there was the lingering smell of seafood in the pan that i couldn't get rid of (though i resisted using soap, which probably would have gotten rid of it). the smell did very subtly affect my tarte tartin.

is there anyway to get rid of the smell? or should i just reserve the pan for specific uses (ie dessert pan, savory pan, etc.)?

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These are ongoing Q&As connected to the eGCI classes, so you needn't worry about digging up an old thread. :smile:

It is the nature of cast iron and seasoning that a certain essence of foods past can remain with the pan. Ordinarily this is not much of a problem because the foods cooked in the pan won't have such distinctive and powerful aromas. I cook bacon and sausages in my cast iron all the time, and it has never effected my tartes Tatin. Seafood, on the other hand, does have a distinctive and powerful aroma, and for this reason I would avoid cooking it in your cast iron pan if you want to use that pan to prepare certain foods. (Similarly, I have never had problems with pie stored in a container that had previously held sausage tasting "porky," whereas I would definitely expect the pie to taste "fishy" if the container had recently been used for fish.)

You also have to understand that you have a very young cast iron pan. Residual smells and flavors should lessen over time as the seasoning builds up. It is also possible that the oil you used to cure the pan caused or contributed to the "fishy" smell. One thing I would recommend is that you lay off making pasta sauces and things like that for a while (personally I think cast iron is horrible for this cooking task anyway) and make several months worth of bacon, sausages, steak, hamburgers, pork chops and the like. These types of food items are proven to help build up the seasoning.

I hope this helps somewhat. Please feel free to ask more.


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The Canadian company, Padinox, Inc., makes several lines of cookware.  Their lower level line, called "Paderno" in Canada and "Chaudier 1000" elsewhere, has 0.8 mm thick stainless steel and a 3/16" (~4.5 mm) aluminum base.  Their high level line, called "Chaudier" in Canada and "Chaudier 5000" elsewhere, has  2 mm thick stainless steel and a 1/4" (~6.25 mm) aluminum base.  Chaudier 5000 is awesome stuff.  Used on Air Force One.

I use Chaudier 5000 and have for many years. I bought my original pieces from Professional Cutlery Direct but they no longer handle that line. I haven’t done any exhaustive comparisons but my Chaudier performs flawlessly. Lately, when I want to add a piece or two I wait until Unique Homeware puts it on sale. I think they do that once a year and the discount is substantial, around 40% if I recall correctly (although I could be mistaken about that). I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t justify many more pieces. Drat! The stuff not only performs well, it looks like jewelry.


--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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The Canadian company, Padinox, Inc., makes several lines of cookware.  Their lower level line, called "Paderno" in Canada and "Chaudier 1000" elsewhere, has 0.8 mm thick stainless steel and a 3/16" (~4.5 mm) aluminum base.  Their high level line, called "Chaudier" in Canada and "Chaudier 5000" elsewhere, has  2 mm thick stainless steel and a 1/4" (~6.25 mm) aluminum base.  Chaudier 5000 is awesome stuff.  Used on Air Force One.

I use Chaudier 5000 and have for many years. I bought my original pieces from Professional Cutlery Direct but they no longer handle that line. I haven’t done any exhaustive comparisons but my Chaudier performs flawlessly. Lately, when I want to add a piece or two I wait until Unique Homeware puts it on sale. I think they do that once a year and the discount is substantial, around 40% if I recall correctly (although I could be mistaken about that). I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t justify many more pieces. Drat! The stuff not only performs well, it looks like jewelry.

For what it's worth, I'd like to point out that you can get Paderno Grand Gourmet (the original upon which Chaudier 5000 is based) for considerably less at Bridge Kitchenware.

For example, a 4.4 quart Paderno Grand Gourmet saucepan with lid runs about 95 bucks at Bridge (78 for the pan, 17 for the lid), whereas a 4.5 quart Chaudier 5000 saucepan with lid runs $155 CAD on sale at Unique Homeware -- this works out to around $120 USD. That's a difference of around 25% for pretty much the exact same pan.


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The Canadian company, Padinox, Inc., makes several lines of cookware.  Their lower level line, called "Paderno" in Canada and "Chaudier 1000" elsewhere, has 0.8 mm thick stainless steel and a 3/16" (~4.5 mm) aluminum base.  Their high level line, called "Chaudier" in Canada and "Chaudier 5000" elsewhere, has  2 mm thick stainless steel and a 1/4" (~6.25 mm) aluminum base.  Chaudier 5000 is awesome stuff.  Used on Air Force One.

I use Chaudier 5000 and have for many years. I bought my original pieces from Professional Cutlery Direct but they no longer handle that line. I haven’t done any exhaustive comparisons but my Chaudier performs flawlessly. Lately, when I want to add a piece or two I wait until Unique Homeware puts it on sale. I think they do that once a year and the discount is substantial, around 40% if I recall correctly (although I could be mistaken about that). I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t justify many more pieces. Drat! The stuff not only performs well, it looks like jewelry.

For what it's worth, I'd like to point out that you can get Paderno Grand Gourmet (the original upon which Chaudier 5000 is based) for considerably less at Bridge Kitchenware.

For example, a 4.4 quart Paderno Grand Gourmet saucepan with lid runs about 95 bucks at Bridge (78 for the pan, 17 for the lid), whereas a 4.5 quart Chaudier 5000 saucepan with lid runs $155 CAD on sale at Unique Homeware -- this works out to around $120 USD. That's a difference of around 25% for pretty much the exact same pan.

Thanks so much for the Bridge Kitchenware tip. Unique Homeware doesn't offer all the Chaudier 5000 pieces either. Now I know where to get comparable pieces at a decidedly lower price.


--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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Thanks so much for the Bridge Kitchenware tip. Unique Homeware doesn't offer all the Chaudier 5000 pieces either. Now I know where to get comparable pieces at a decidedly lower price.

Glad to help. That's what I'm here for.

While you're poking around Bridge and elsewhere, don't ignore Sitram's Catering (copper bottom) and Profisserie (aluminum bottom) lines.


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Hey there,

You never did respond to my questions on Oct 4 2003, 01:00 PM, and Oct 3 2003, 10:58 AM .. but while you mentioned sitram, one of my questions was: is sitram profisserie the same as Sitram Professional? And is sitram Catering the same as Sitram Collectivite?

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Hey there,

You never did respond to my questions on Oct 4 2003, 01:00 PM, and Oct 3 2003, 10:58 AM .. but while you mentioned sitram, one of my questions was: is sitram profisserie the same as Sitram Professional?  And is sitram Catering the same as Sitram Collectivite?

Sorry for not responding. The answer is that it is very hard to tell. If you go to the Sitram web site, you won't find anything under "Sitram Professional" -- or "Sitram Catering" for that matter.

That said, the web site has a lot of problems (they describe the Profisserie line as having a "thick triple copper bottom to distribute the heat" and then give detailed specifications that include "thick aluminum sandwich base of 7,3 - 7,5 - 7,7 - 8,0 - 8,5 mm depending on diameter"). So, it's really hard to say. The only Sitram lines with which I am fully familiar are the Catering and Profisserie lines as sold by Bridge Kitchenware.

The Collectivite line is described on the site as having a "copper sandwich base [of] 3,3 - 3,5 - 3,7 - 4,0 - 4,5 mm thick depending on diameter." I have a hard time believing that these thicknesses of copper can possibly be true, and assume that the specifications include the thickness of the stainless body as well as the stainless layer on the outside in calculating the thickness of the base. Clearly, the largest thicknesses describe some truly gigantic restaurant pans.

All this said, of the four lines described as "professionnel" on the Sitram site, the Collectivite line seems the closest to what I know as Catering. The only reason I can say this is that the other professional line I can find on the site with a copper bottom is the Magnum line, which has a design detail in which a small circle of copper is visible on the bottom of the pan. The Catering line does not have this detail. Sitram probably labels some of their cookware as "professional" specifically for sale in the US, and has neglected to provide that information on their web site.


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Mr. Kinsey-

I have a few small questions to ask you, about cookware. Your comments on this website have been insightful, extremely well-articulated, and enormously helpful to me. As an amateur chef, I have been seeking to learn more about cooking for almost two decades, and I've found few websites, or books, that have been as effective as your comments in helping me gain a better understanding of cooking techniques.

My cookware consists of a set of anodized aluminum Calphalon which I purchased years ago, thinking that it's better than it is. A couple of saucepans, a 10 inch saute, a 12 inch saute, 8 inch and 10 inch omelet pans, an 8 quart stockpot, and a Calphalon wok which I don't like at all.

I also have a 5 liter wide bottom pot, high sides, Matfer stainless with aluminum disc, I think, which I bought from a French chef at a cooking school in Wheeling, Illinois where I take classes occasionally. I'm not sure about the specs on that pan, but it's sturdy, nicely sized for boiling pasta and simmering Bolognese and other sauces, but too small for simmering chicken or veal stocks. I also have a 10.5 inch covered stainless saute, All-Clad, which I like, purchased at outletsonline.com before I learned from your comments that other stainless cookware is probably better quality and cheaper. And, finally, a cumbersome Le Creuset ridged grill pan.

In June, I was delighted to visit Dehillerin for the first time, in Paris. As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed by their inventory, not armed with sufficient information to purchase cookware wisely, so I settled for a set of Guy Degrenne stainless flatware, which, astonishingly, cost little more than $100 for 12 5-piece settings. I digress.

I would like to buy one piece of 2.5mm commercial copper cookware, stainless lined, and experiment with it. I would buy it by mail from Dehillerin, or from the factory in Villedieu-Les-Poeles, unless I find a way to return to France soon. Naturally, I would like to select a versatile piece that I'll use often.

You have stated that your 11 inch curved sauteuse evasee is perhaps your best and most versatile pan. I've carefully investigated the products made by Mauviel, Bourgeat, and Falk Culinair, and Falk seems to be the only company that makes an 11 inch curved sauteuse evasee. Is this correct?

At Dehillerin, I was shown the Mauviel 11 inch Rondeau, lidded, with very high sides and a stated 7.5 liter capacity. It was so big, and so heavy, I concluded that I would not often need a pan that large, given that I rarely cook for more than two. I thought I'd have trouble getting it home with my other luggage.

However, I am strongly interested by the 11 inch Mauviel saute, the commercial-grade, with cast-iron stem. I cook pasta regularly, and this pan would enable me to add the pasta to the sauce and finish it. It seems like a wonderful pan, and large enough, to cook an entire chicken, or to use for cooking Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, Chicken Marsala, various fish entrees, and related dishes, but small enough to be useful for lesser quantities of food. In short, quite versatile.

Would you consider this pan to be a good choice for a first experience with top-quality copper cookware? My 8 quart Calphalon stockpot is serviceable for simmering stocks on a snowy Sunday, but I intend to get a larger, cheap stainless stockpot soon. However, my 2.5 quart Calphalon saucepan, though a nice size, drips, and I'd love to replace it with something better. Would you recommend a flared saucepan, if I wanted to go the copper route on that? Would 2.5 quarts roughly, be a good size pan to get, or should I be thinking of a slightly larger pan?

I apologize for the length of my post. Like many people, I bought my set of Calphalon years ago when I didn't fully understand the value of buying cookware one piece at a time. The set was so cheap, I thought I had to buy it. My 10 inch saute pan warped, and was replaced by Calphalon, but now, I see that much of the anodized aluminum is being discontinued entirely.

Would you mind being so kind as to share any thoughts you may have regarding the pans I've thought of purchasing? I rarely use my frypans, and seldom cook eggs or fry food per se, but I find my saute pans extremely versatile and easy to use. I'd love to hear anything you have to say that might assist me in my next purchase. I live in Chicago, and lots of stores sell cookware, but oddly, the inventories available seem far less extensive than New York offers, not to mention Paris. It's always better to see the pan before you buy, I'm sure you'd agree, but even in a city as large as Chicago, that's not always possible.

Thank you very kindly.

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My experience wrt. copper pans:

Some weeks ago, I ordered two heavy copper SSL pans at Dehillerin, Paris.

A 8-inch sauce pan an a 8-inch saute pan. Both are meant to prepare food for two persons.

I paid $80 for the sauce pan and $70 for the saute pan and about $30 for shipping, customs and tax here in Switzerland..

I used the sauce pan several times for risotto and the saute pan already many times for sauteing.

1) I got good results for the risotto. Due to my unusual cooktop, I was able to regulate the temperature very easily and managed to have constant good heat wihtout any browning at the bottom. High responsivness is a very nice feature, but not that important. Better risotto than with the old SS sauce pan? Impossible to say.

2) The saute pan is really versatile. I like it very much because it has a simplicistic, sturdy retro-look. I used the pan for sauteing and frying.

In general, I've the feeling that you can do everything with sensibly lower temperatures, which is very fine for my low temp cooking style. The danger of getting partially burned stuff and bitter flavours is lower. Compared with an evasee saute pan, the conducting bottom surface is significantly bigger.

3) The pans are quite heavy, even in this little size. For a 11-inch , you need strong wrists to turn them. I'd almost recommend some weight lifting practice. The (undestructable though) iron handles can get pretty hot, which is even worse when the pan is heavy. I suggest to hold the handle vertically in the air in order to empty a full pan. For women, the weight of the big pans could be more than enough.

All in all, I had the impression of driving a racing car. A hard clutch (weight, hot handles) and nervous handling but incomparable performance.

I don't care about the slowly darkening outside.

Given the relatively moderate price and the "ancient" look of these Mauviel pans, I'm going to order one or two 9.5-inch and a 11-inch saute pan and a 9.5 sauce pan or "bassin de ragout" for bigger dishes. Maybe I'll add two 6.5-inch evasees for sauces and reductions. They look really nice, almost medieval, and you can store them easily in a batch.


Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Mr. Kinsey-

    I have a few small questions to ask you, about cookware.  Your comments on this website have been insightful, extremely well-articulated, and enormously helpful to me.  As an amateur chef, I have been seeking to learn more about cooking for almost two decades, and I've found few websites, or books, that have been as effective as your comments in helping me gain a better understanding of cooking techniques.

Hi there, person with inscrutable handle! :biggrin: Thanks for your kind remarks, and I'll see if I can address some of your questions below.

You have stated that your 11 inch curved sauteuse evasee is perhaps your best and most versatile pan.  I've carefully investigated the products made by Mauviel, Bourgeat, and Falk Culinair, and Falk seems to be the only company that makes an 11 inch curved sauteuse evasee.  Is this correct?

Nope. Bourgeat makes one too. That said, if you can get an amazing deal on a Mauviel "regular" sauteuse evasee, there's no reason not to get one of those instead.

At Dehillerin, I was shown the Mauviel 11 inch Rondeau, lidded, with very high sides and a stated 7.5 liter capacity.  It was so big, and so heavy, I concluded that I would not often need a pan that large, given that I rarely cook for more than two.

Right. That sounds like probably more Rondeau than you need.

However, I am strongly interested by the 11 inch Mauviel saute, the commercial-grade, with cast-iron stem.  I cook pasta regularly, and this pan would enable me to add the pasta to the sauce and finish it.  It seems like a wonderful pan, and large enough, to cook an entire chicken, or to use for cooking Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, Chicken Marsala, various fish entrees, and related dishes, but small enough to be useful for lesser quantities of food.  In short, quite versatile.

Would you consider this pan to be a good choice for a first experience with top-quality copper cookware?

Absolutely! This is a great first choice pan for all the reasons you describe and many more. You should get it.

My 8 quart Calphalon stockpot is serviceable for simmering stocks on a snowy Sunday, but I intend to get a larger, cheap stainless stockpot soon.

Good instinct. Go for something at 12+ quarts, and try to get one with a disk bottom.

However, my 2.5 quart Calphalon saucepan, though a nice size, drips, and I'd love to replace it with something better.  Would you recommend a flared saucepan, if I wanted to go the copper route on that?  Would 2.5 quarts roughly, be a good size pan to get, or should I be thinking of a slightly larger pan?

It really depends on what you want to use it for. Do you find that the 2.5 quart size is useful to you? What do you plan to use the pan for? If you want to sauces and do reductions, and it's something you do fairly frequently in a pan of that size, then a heavy copper sauteuse evasee (aka flared saucepan) might be a good choice. On the other hand, it may be the case that you use the 2.5 quart pan mostly for reheating stuff, boiling/steaming and thin liquids. In that case, heavy copper would be a bit of a waste and you might do better with a disk bottom design. If that is the case with the 2.5 quart pan, but you do want a heavy copper pan for making sauces and doing reductions, you might want to consider getting a smaller saucepan or sauteuse evasee (say, 1 to 1.5 quarts).

I hope this helps you somewhat. Please feel free to follow up with more details and questions if there is more information you would like.

...and let us know how you like that copper saute pan!


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My experience wrt. copper pans:

Some weeks ago, I ordered two heavy copper SSL pans at Dehillerin, Paris.

A 8-inch sauce pan an a 8-inch saute pan. Both are meant to prepare food for two persons.

Hi Boris!

Thanks so much for relating the experiences with your new heavy copper pans. I'm glad to hear you are enjoying them. It would be a little awkward if I had been saying so many good things about copper and you had said, "This stuff sucks! Damn you eGullet for recommending copper!" :biggrin:


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