Cookware Masterclass – Choosing the Best Cookware for Your Kitchen
Whether you are investing a brand-new matching set of pots and pans or replacing your favorite saucepan that been passed down from generation to generation since the times of your great aunt Bertha, choosing new cookware is a big decision. There are numerous critical questions to consider before you commit to such a significant investment:
- Sets vs. open stock: do you need a full set or just one or two pans?
- Weight: will you be able to lift pots easily once they have food in them?
- Materials: non-stick, ceramic, stainless steel or hard-anodized?
- The lid: glass to keep an eye on the dish without losing heat or stainless steel or aluminum for a higher oven-safe temperature?
- The handle: a broad, sturdy handle that will stay cool when cooking on the stove is best. Pure stainless steel is more versatile than plastic or silicone for oven cooking as it has both low heat conductivity and high heat resistance. An additional handle (called a “helper handle”) is helpful when lifting large cookware like sauté and chef’s pans.
- Your cooktop: an induction cooktop only creates heat when in contact with a ferrous-magnetic base. Check that a magnet sticks to the bottom of your pan, and you will know it is induction compatible.
Now for a crash course in cookware options:
You can’t beat non-stick cookware for easy use and clean up, by hand or in the dishwasher. Even delicate foods slide easily off the surface – no more mangled crepes! Non-stick pans also conduct and retain heat well, making them energy efficient. Most of our non-stick cookware is safe to 180° for stove to oven cooking, so you can save on washing up when making your favorite seared or pan-roasted extravaganza. Because you need little to no oil, they are great for healthy cooking.
Non-stick pans often have an aluminum body, but can be made from stainless steel, hard anodized aluminum or cast aluminum. All our non-stick cookware is PFOA free, but if you want to avoid chemicals altogether, non-stick ceramic cookware is also all clear of PTFE, lead, and cadmium. The chemical free composition makes ceramic both a safe and environmentally friendly product. While ceramic is generally considered to not last as long as hard-anodized cookware, if you follow the care and washing instructions carefully, you will be able to extend the life of your pots and pans significantly.
Whatever the material, care is needed to protect the non-stick coating. Our non-stick surfaces are engineered to resist peeling, chipping and flaking but, we recommend using wooden or nylon tools to improve the lifespan of your pans. Use paper towel or a small cloth when stacking to avoid scratches. We also recommend use on medium heat.
Non-stick surfaces are ideal for delicate fish like hake or Atlantic Ocean perch, eggs, crepes and omelettes.
If you want long-lasting and highly versatile cookware that will sear a big juicy steak to perfection, look no further. Stainless steel can be used from stove to oven to table. It is oven safe to 180 degrees, and even higher for some ranges. It can be hand washed or popped in the dishwasher. The surface is okay for use with metal utensils, although we recommend wooden or nylon if you have them handy.
Funnily enough, stainless steel cookware isn’t always 100% stainless steel. At times, it is bonded to a base of aluminum or copper because of their ability to conduct and maintain heat. Then there is Stainless Steel clad cookware, which has an aluminum core throughout.
High heat can warp the cookware and cause food to stick, but stainless steel cookware is sturdy and durable enough to last a lifetime when looked after with love. With its ability to provide rapid, uniform heat, it is a workhorse in the kitchen.
The perfect pan for braising, searing and browning.
As the name suggested, hard anodized cookware is exceptionally hardy and durable. The surface is twice as hard as stainless steel so you can pop it in the dishwasher and use metal utensils without damaging the surface. Clean-up is straight-forward as food comes away easily.
Also, the aluminum core, which is of equal thickness through the base and sides, delivers excellent heat conductivity as the heat spreads evenly and efficiently. Although non-stick aluminum also works well, hard anodized will work better for long because of its strength and durability.
Perfect for stews, slow cooking, sautéing vegetables and more.
Copper was the hot trend of 2017 and into 2018 due to its attractive, rustic look. Copper cookware isn’t just for show though; it is arguably the best choice for precise temperature control and heat conductivity. This feature makes copper an ideal choice for intricate or delicate dishes. If you want to serve up a stunning soufflé or create the perfect Hollandaise sauce, a copper pan could be your new best friend. Even if you like to keep it simple, the fantastic heat distribution is handy for any dish. You do need to remember to halve your normal cooking temperature to account for this efficiency.
Care is needed to protect the interior. Use handwashing, mild detergents, and non-abrasive sponges to avoid damaging the pan lining. Soak rather than scrub any baked-on foods.
The perfect pan for recipes calling for exact temperature control like emulsion sauces, poaching, and blanching.
Whether you are a fan of five-minute meals or haute cuisine, choosing the right cookware is sure to enhance your time in the kitchen.