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Pots & Pans, Optimal Shape?


hwilson41
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My wife and I have a fair sized collection of Le Creuset, but most of the rest are just things picked up or gifted to us along the way. While I love the LC and it is unsurpassed for the purposes it is intended for, I'm looking to add some more heat efficient pieces to the collection, and SLK's excellent treatise on cookware has persuaded me to spend the bucks for copper. So, the questions are these:

1. Falk Culinair vs Mauviel? FC is a bit more expensive, so just how much is it worth to have copper that is easy to polish? We have a large Mauviel fry pan, and it doesn't get polished all that often (it also gets used quite a bit, although far less than my beloved ancient cast iron skillet). So maybe this depends on just how anal the user is.

2. I think the first two pieces I'd like to buy are variations on the sauce pan theme. Either a fait tout like this or what FC calls a sauciere (aka curved sauteuse evasée) like this .

Anybody with experience with either/both of these please offer opinions, recommendations, etc. And feel free to try to dissuade me from copper if you think there are better alternatives. TIA.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I have some Mauviel and have played with SLK's Falk stuff. I've also messed around with a lot of Bourgeat copper. For me the choice would be between Bourgeat and Falk -- the Mauviel just doesn't look and feel as though it's in the same league.

[edited to add]In SLK's cookware Q&A he notes at least once and maybe 30 times that the metal used by all three manufacturers is the same. Nonetheless, I like the Bourgeat and Falk better from shape, handle, rivet, etc., standpoints -- and I can't shake the feeling that the Mauviel is somehow less serious, though I couldn't prove 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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The pans I use most (besides the skillets) are the 3.7quart sauce pan with straight sides, made by Mauviel, pro line stainless with the cast iron handle and the 3 quart curved splayed sauce pan with the Bourgeat name, apparently now made by Mauviel - it is also the heavier copper with cast iron handle.

I don't worry much about polishing, however I now have a housekeeper that likes to polish it so it is okay by me. Before she came to work for me I polished it about twice a year, I like things to look like they have been used, not just decor.

I do have the Falk 3 quart Sauciere with lid and use it interchangeably with the two above but if you need something with a lid, this one is a good buy.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have some Mauviel and have played with SLK's Falk stuff. I've also messed around with a lot of Bourgeat copper. For me the choice would be between Bourgeat and Falk -- the Mauviel just doesn't look and feel as though it's in the same league.

[edited to add]In SLK's cookware Q&A he notes at least once and maybe 30 times that the metal used by all three manufacturers is the same. Nonetheless, I like the Bourgeat and Falk better from shape, handle, rivet, etc., standpoints -- and I can't shake the feeling that the Mauviel is somehow less serious, though I couldn't prove it.

The Mauviel pro line is heavier than the "tabletop" line - you know the difference because the pro line has cast iron handles, as does the Bourgeat. Most of my old stuff is Bourgeat but since most of it needs retinning, I am using only the newer stuff with stainless steel lining.

Mauviel is the company that patented the "Cuprinox process" that bonds stainless steel to the copper.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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2. I think the first two pieces I'd like to buy are variations on the sauce pan theme.  Either a fait tout like this or what FC calls a sauciere (aka curved sauteuse evasée) like this .

A whisk or wooden spoon will conform better to the curve at the bottom of a curved sauteuse evasée than the sharp angle where the sides and bottom meet on a fait tout. I have one of each in about the same size and prefer the curved sauteuse evasée for this reason. Given similar height and diameter specifications, I'd go for the curved sauteuse evasée over the fait tout.

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You could always purchase the start chef's from Falk and a piece from Mauviel. A-City on Ebay has decent prices on the Mauviel pro 2.5mm line. I would concur that you don't want the "tabletop" line.

Never trust a skinny chef

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Mine is the professional Mauviel 2.5mm with iron handle. When I've compared that piece to the equivalent Bourgeat piece, however, I've noticed that the Bourgeat seems to be deeper with a more pleasing curvature, it has a beefier handle and rivets, and the angle of the handle gives better leverage. It just looks and feels, to me, like a better piece of equipment.

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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Thanks to all for the replies, all of which are helpful. Curiously, no one addressed the difference in finish between Bourgeat (polished, I assume?) and Falk, which is a brushed finish. Does this not matter significantly? FWIW, we don't polish the one piece of Mauviel we own all that often, although it's looking like it could use a little attention just now (I used it in making supper :wacko:).

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Thanks to all for the replies, all of which are helpful.  Curiously, no one addressed the difference in finish between Bourgeat (polished, I assume?) and Falk, which is a brushed finish.  Does this not matter significantly?  FWIW, we don't polish the one piece of Mauviel we own all that often, although it's looking like it could use a little attention just now (I used it in making supper :wacko:).

THW

Falk give you a scotch brite to clean you pot. Works well on the brushed finish. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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1. Falk Culinair vs Mauviel?  FC is a bit more expensive, so just how much is it worth to have copper that is easy to polish?

Performance-wise it's a wash, as they literally use the same exact metal (make sure you get the 2.5 mm Mauviel). The rest is looks and personal preference as to looks and minor design variations. I prefer Falk because I like the brushed finish and because I like their American distributor (who happens to be an eGS member, by the way). So, for me, it's worth a little more money for Falk if it comes to that (often it does not).

2. I think the first two pieces I'd like to buy are variations on the sauce pan theme.  Either a fait tout like this or what FC calls a sauciere (aka curved sauteuse evasée) like this .

Anybody with experience with either/both of these please offer opinions, recommendations, etc.  And feel free to try to dissuade me from copper if you think there are better alternatives.

For the 11 inch size, I think the curved sauteuse evasée can't be beat. It's the single most versatile and single most used pan in my kitchen. For a smaller reduction pan, I actually like the regular sauteuse evasée, because the sides slant all the way up whereas the sides of the curved version go vertical about half way up.

I have some Mauviel and have played with SLK's Falk stuff. I've also messed around with a lot of Bourgeat copper. For me the choice would be between Bourgeat and Falk -- the Mauviel just doesn't look and feel as though it's in the same league. . . . I can't shake the feeling that the Mauviel is somehow less serious, though I couldn't prove it.

Mauviel is by far the oldest and most respected of the traditional French cookware manufacturers. It says "depuis 1830" right on Mauviel's web site. You will likely find more Mauviel copper in top kitchens than any other brand. de Buyer also dates to 1830, but started off making sheet metal rather than cookware. Bourgeat is a relative newcomer at 1913, and Falk Culinair is not old at all. Bourgeat, I am given to understand, no longer manufacturers its own copper cookware.

Mauviel is the company that patented the "Cuprinox process" that bonds stainless steel to the copper.

This is incorrect, unless there was some other process that was in use before the current one. Falk Culinair and the University of Louvain developed the current process by which a thin layer of stainless steel is permanently bonded to a thick layer of copper, and afaik Mauviel and Bourgeat buy their stainless steel/copper bimetal from Falk.

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Regarding the difference in finishes.

For many years I had only regular or hammered copper and only polished it a couple of times a year, mainly to clean up the bottom when it got a bit crusty and I thought it wasn't heating evenly (probably my imagination).

I didn't mind that it looked darker, to me the beauty of things that are made to be used, is evidence that they are used and loved.

It isn't all that difficult to clean them. There are all kinds of stuff you can buy, but I always used half a lemon dipped in salt with some BarKeeper's friend for stubborn spots and my housekeeper uses the same system

.

The Falk brushed finish is easier to maintain but it doesn't have that certain look, the deep glow, that I equate with fine copper - however that is just my quirky feeling.

Now all my copper gleams because I have a housekeeper who is a fanatic. I have never asked her to clean or polish it but she does because she likes it to look nice and it keeps her away from stuff I want left alone. (I have threatened her with broken fingers if she ever touches my cast iron and that she leaves alone, mainly because it hangs in the pantry instead of the kitchen.)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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A whisk or wooden spoon will conform better to the curve at the bottom of a curved sauteuse evasée than the sharp angle where the sides and bottom meet on a fait tout. I have one of each in about the same size and prefer the curved sauteuse evasée for this reason. Given similar height and diameter specifications, I'd go for the curved sauteuse evasée over the fait tout.

Just a clarification that my curved sauteuse evasée is a Falk and the flat-sided sauteuse evasée is an older Mauviel. The Falk design of the latter may be different.

Also, I notice that the Falk has a pouring lip while my Mauviel does not.

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Just a clarification that my curved sauteuse evasée is a Falk and the flat-sided sauteuse evasée is an older Mauviel. The Falk design of the latter may be different.

Also, I notice that the Falk has a pouring lip while my Mauviel does not.

Both Falk and Mauviel have the traditional flat lip on the sauteuse evasée. Mauviel, afaik, uses a traditional flat lip on all their 2.5 mm copper cookware (which probably works better with the traditional long-handled flat cover).

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You could always purchase the start chef's from Falk and a piece from Mauviel.  A-City on Ebay has decent prices on the Mauviel pro 2.5mm line.  I would concur that you don't want the "tabletop" line.

Be wary of seemingly great deals for Mauviel. Some web sites advertise 2.5 mm but, then you look at the shape they are selling and it's a shape Mauviel only manufacturers in 2.0 mm. This acitydiscount.com offering is a perfect example. It appears to be a curved sauteuse evasée with a rolled lip. They describe it as "extra thick," saying, "features include: 2.5MM thickness. . ." However, if we look around (e.g., here, we can see that Mauviel doesn't make a curved sauteuse evasée pan in 2.5 mm, and furthermore that none of their 2.5 mm pans have a rolled lip. But when we look here, at Mauviel's 2.0 mm pans, we see rolled lips on most of the pans, and among them we see a 2.0 mm curved sauteuse evasée with a rolled lip that looks suspiciously like the pan acitydiscount is saying is 2.5 mm. You may draw your own conclusions. I will only say that my own personal experiences with acitydiscount's people (which is a matter of record on Usenet for any who care to look) has not inclined me to give them any of my business.

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My thanks to all for the helpful advice. There is nothing better than hearing from folks who have actually used a product, even if opinions differ.

Be wary of seemingly great deals for Mauviel.  Some web sites advertise 2.5 mm but, then you look at the shape they are selling and it's a shape Mauviel only manufacturers in 2.0 mm.  This acitydiscount.com offering is a perfect example.  It appears to be a curved sauteuse evasée with a rolled lip.  They describe it as "extra thick," saying, "features include: 2.5MM thickness. . ."

Precisely. I decided to split the difference and order the curved sauteuse evasée from FC and the splayed fait tout from Mauviel. While talking to the folks at BuyCopperCookware.com (aka Country French Antiques) I learned quite a bit from the owner. I have dealt with them before and been very pleased with the service and the prices (plus free shipping :raz:). Mauviel apparently evaluates each piece and decides what the appropriate thickness should be, and Sam's observation above that the curved sauteuse is 2.0mm is spot on, and that is the only curved sauteuse they make. I also asked if Bourgeat still manufactured their own pieces, and the answer was "yes and no". Bourgeat still makes the heavy 2.5mm line themselves (called the Alliance Series, I think), but their lighter line with brass handles is now made for them by Mauviel. In any event, thanks again to all for the help. I'll report back after I've had some time to get used to the new cookware.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Thanks to all for the replies, all of which are helpful.  Curiously, no one addressed the difference in finish between Bourgeat (polished, I assume?) and Falk, which is a brushed finish.  Does this not matter significantly?  FWIW, we don't polish the one piece of Mauviel we own all that often, although it's looking like it could use a little attention just now (I used it in making supper :wacko:).

THW

Falk give you a scotch brite to clean you pot. Works well on the brushed finish. :biggrin:

An old-timer here in Switzerland told me to use vineger and salt to clean the copper pots and it works like a charm! I just take a bowl and dump in about half a cup of salt in then cover with vinegar to make a loose paste and rub it on the pots with a scotchbrite. :wink:

Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)
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A brief update on the "Does Bourgeat make their own stuff?" question. I was chatting with Michael Harp yesterday while ordering the Falk Culinair curved sauteuse evasée and asked the same question I had asked earlier of the Mauviel dealer. Harp says Bourgeat makes nothing any more - all made for them by Mauviel. I'm inclined to take that as the definitive word, given that he talks regularly (apparently) with the owner of FC, who I'm sure knows who among his competitors makes what :raz:.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I have a complete set of Falk along with the roaster (I wish he had a bigger roaster) and stock pots purchased from Mike and I can unequivocably say, that they are the best i have ever used. After we got the Falk, EVERYTHING else went out the door. We don't worry at all about the finish and just wash them. I believe that Falk offers the greatest number of pieces which is a benefit. I don't purchase different brands because i like the pots and pans to perform alike. Unfortuneatly, Falk does not offer a copper Turbot poacher. I had to order one from another source tin lined. It's not here yet, but will post on it when it arrives. You can purchase aluminum for half the price but I don't cook in aluminum. -Dick

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The Mauviel pro line is heavier than the "tabletop" line - you know the difference because the pro line has cast iron handles, as does the Bourgeat.  Most of my old stuff is Bourgeat but since most of it needs retinning, I am using only the newer stuff with stainless steel lining. 

Mauviel is the company that patented the "Cuprinox process" that bonds stainless steel to the copper.

Well, you're last statement is not accurate. :hmmm: Paul Van Achter, owner of Falk, developed the process. A German company actually makes the bimetal and sells to Mauviel per an agreement with Falk.

Clarification: I am not saying that Mauviel did not patent Cuprinox, but they did not patent the process for the bimetal that is used by them in their cookware.

It is true that Bourgeat copper is now made by Mauviel, as someone suggested earler. Falk was approached by Bourgeat around 4 years ago to make it, but declined.

Michael Harp

CopperPans.com

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The Mauviel pro line is heavier than the "tabletop" line - you know the difference because the pro line has cast iron handles, as does the Bourgeat.

Mauviel actually makes two copper/stainless lines with a cast iron handle. There is a 2.5 mm copper/stainless line with a cast iron handle, and there is also a 2.0 mm copper/stainless line with a cast iron handle. In addition, there is a 2.0 mm line with a solid stainless steel handle.

It's also never been entirely clear to me that Mauviel only sells the Table Service line (which is 1.6 mm thick and not designed for cooking) with a brass handle. Bridge Kitchenware, for example, has the same price for a 11.75 inch frypan with a brass handle and with a cast iron handle. If the brass handle version were from the Table Service line, I would expect it to cost much less. On the other hand, it could be that there is some mistake in the way Bridge is listing these items.

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Some Mauviel 2.5mm items are available with brass or with iron cast handles alternatively.

Personally, I like the Mauviels very much because of their sturdy, ancient look and because I can get them at good prices (at Dehillerin, Paris). Much lower than Falks (here in Europe), as long as you are prepared to renounce of the else very practical curved lip. I also do like the patina outside which builds over time. A matter of taste, of course.

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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The Mauviel pro line is heavier than the "tabletop" line - you know the difference because the pro line has cast iron handles, as does the Bourgeat.

Mauviel actually makes two copper/stainless lines with a cast iron handle. There is a 2.5 mm copper/stainless line with a cast iron handle, and there is also a 2.0 mm copper/stainless line with a cast iron handle. In addition, there is a 2.0 mm line with a solid stainless steel handle.

It's also never been entirely clear to me that Mauviel only sells the Table Service line (which is 1.6 mm thick and not designed for cooking) with a brass handle. Bridge Kitchenware, for example, has the same price for a 11.75 inch frypan with a brass handle and with a cast iron handle. If the brass handle version were from the Table Service line, I would expect it to cost much less. On the other hand, it could be that there is some mistake in the way Bridge is listing these items.

One of the advantages of the Falk product line is that it isn't so confusing. :biggrin:

Speaking of confusing, what's the deal with the Mauviel copper non-stick frypan? It's definitely optimal, uh, something.

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One of the advantages of the Falk product line is that it isn't so confusing.  :biggrin:

Speaking of confusing, what's the deal with the Mauviel copper non-stick frypan? It's definitely optimal, uh, something.

I was amazed when I first noticed Mauviel's non-stick line. We don't own a single piece of non-stick cookware and do just fine. Must be aiming at those who don't know how to heat a skillet :raz:.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Speaking of confusing, what's the deal with the Mauviel copper non-stick frypan? It's definitely optimal, uh, something.

I can see how someone might want this who cooked a lot of super-delicate fish or something like that, and wanted the ultimate in thermal charcteristics. But, man... I'd have to have a lot of money burning a hole in my pocket before I spent 170 bucks on a nonstick frypan which, because it is nonstick, has a finite useful lifespan.

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<p><font size="2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular">Sam and others, please take a look at these images of a new pan that we are thinking about bringing to the US that seems appropriate for this thread. It is essentially a wok with a 5.5" flat area on the bottom. The diameter at the top is 11" and the hieght is 4". It will include a stainless steel grate for steaming and smoking(?).</font></p>

<p><font size="2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular">I would appreciate any feedback and will likely offer a special price on a pre-order basis for members here, if interested. I haven't established what the price will be yet though...<br>

I<a href="http://copperpans.com/Media/NewPan4.jpg">mage 1</a><br>

<a href="http://copperpans.com/Media/NewPan3.jpg">Image 2</a></font></p>

Michael Harp

CopperPans.com

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