My first pieces of All Clad cookware

Posted by bernardo bernardo on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 Under: Cooking & More
I must first start by disclosing that I did not purchase this particular set of cookware as a set. I just happened to see that the only review for it was very confusing and did not seem helpful. That said, I do own most of the individual pieces in this set. While I cannot tell you about the chefs pan, stock pot (I have the copper core version of that), or the larger saute pan, I do own the two fry pans, the smaller saute pan, and the sauce pans. I purchased my first pieces about 18 months ago and have been quickly adding to the set as,, and CutleryandMore.Com have had some good sales.

One thing I have noticed is that people will mention in reviews on Amazon is that they got a "great" lightning deal on an item here, but won't say what that price was. I am happy to tell you specific prices. I purchased my set of All-Clad copper core as the 7 piece starter set when it was on sale as a lightening deal for $525.00 in November 2012. However, I already owned several pieces of the stainless series before I bought the All-Clad set. I have had the two fry pans and sauce pans in this set I am reviewing for well over a year. I also got the fry pans as lightning deals from Amazon for $89 and $99 respectively in mid and late 2011. I added the sauce pans earlier in 2012 for $99 and $109 via lightning deals. I just bought the saute pan on Metro Kitchen last month for $79 during a "cyber week" event. As you can see, if you have patience and are willing to wait for the individual pieces, you can eventually get them almost as cheap as the set.

I have also seen this particular set I'm reviewing as a lightning deal for $950.00, but I have seen it other places, including Metro Kitchen for as little as $920.00. Either the Amazon lightning deal or the Metro Kitchen price are excellent for this set if you don't want to wait for sales for individual pieces, but as I already owned most of it from individual sales, I haven't taken advantage of that price. Obviously this is a very expensive brand of cookware. I would actually not recommend purchasing a set outright until you have owned and cooked with an individual piece or two for at least 6 months. Each cook has their own preferences and you may find that what I (and many others) see as the best stainless steel cookware for home chefs isn't for you. Unless you're a trust fund baby or Google millionaire, it will be a sad day for you indeed if you have spent this kind of money and find it isn't to your liking - though even a used set of these on eBay will fetch a good price, so you're not completely out of your money if you do find you don't agree with me.

Now that I've given you info on pricing, I'd like to tell you about how it has cooked for me. Until recently I was in an apartment with a very poor quality, low-end electric stove with burners that were horrible. A few months ago, I purchased a house and after selling the builder's grade stove I upgraded to an LG double oven gas range. The cooking experience for these two ranges were night and day. It was like going from driving a Yugo (electric range) to driving a Lexus (gas range). However, one consistent thing from both ranges is that my favorite (non cast iron) cookware is my All-Clad. I also own hard-anodized Calphalon, stainless steel Marcus Samuelsson (a full set), and some low-end cookware left over from my college days. The Calphalon is difficult to clean, doesn't cook evenly, and the lid doesn't completely sit on the pan properly. The low-end stuff (some Revere-ware copper bottom, some Faberware, and some no-name Walmart stuff) isn't even worth detailing, except to say within a year or so of use, most of it has warped bottoms and lids that don't close). The Marcus cookware is still pretty decent, with no warping and fairly easy cleaning, but it does not have the same level of even heating that I get from the All-Clad pots and pans. For the price, I would recommend the Marcus if you have a lower budget, but if you can spare the funds, the All-Clad stuff, especially the fry pans, are worth the extra money.

The best example I can give is cooking 10 steaks last Christmas for my family. I used my Marcus and All-Clad so that we would have all the steaks finished at once. I was using the old horrible, electric range, and the steaks cooked in the two Marcus pans were not all cooking at the same level and consistency, but the ones in the two All-Clad pans were finished at the same time, and a few minutes ahead of the ones in the Marcus pans. I ended up finishing the steaks from the Marcus pans in the All-Clad pans. I have tested the steaks again on the gas range recently. The Marcus pans performed a little better with the gas, but the All-Clad still had better results, with more evenly cooked steaks. (I deliberately used one of each pan to cook the steaks to see if the results would change with the better stove; there was improvement with both pans, but All-Clad still produced a better food product). Again, I'm not knocking the Marcus pans. They are the best I've found in that price range. But the All-Clad pans were a far superior product, with a much higher price. I bought my entire Marcus 10 piece set for about what I paid for two All-Clad pans and their lids. The saying that you get what you pay for is never truer than when comparing the two cookware brands. Of course nothing, absolutely nothing beat the results I got when I cooked a steak with my grandmother's 60-year old, well-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillet, but since most of us don't have one of those or the ability to steal one, this is about as good as we will get. My grandmother is leaving her cast iron skillet to me when she passes in what I hope will be many, many years down the road, and in the meantime I will "console" myself with these All-Clad pans.

Finally, I have seen other reviews of All-Clad (and stainless steel cookware in general) where the users/reviews bemoan their inability to clean the stainless steel. Three tips should help with that. First, when cooking, try to develop a fond (there are some good YouTube videos with instructions on this). Not only will this improve the taste results you get, but it will also make it easier to clean. Second, if you do find it difficult to remove food, soak the cookware in warm water with mild soap for an hour. That should make it a snap to clean. Finally, if you find you want that shiny new look you had when you first opened your All-Clad (or any stainless for that matter), and soap and water aren't cutting it, use some Bar Keepers Friend. It will not only work miracles on your cookware, you will also notice that if your sink is stainless steel, it's a little shinier too. I use Bar Keepers on my sink, cutlery, and appliances, as well as my cookware. It is well worth the very inexpensive price.

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