When I was in university, I moved a lot from basement to basement where most of my belongings could fit into two large suitcases. I didn’t enjoy this nomadic lifestyle, but I made the most of it by hosting a housewarming party every time I moved into a new place. I shared with my friends that someday I wished to have a permanent address and a large contemporary kitchen. One summer, I received a set of non-stick cookware as a gift from a group of friends. At that time, the cookware was just what I needed to replicate a home that I was dreaming of with a professionally equipped kitchen.
Five years later, I used the most of the pieces from my set on a daily basis, and they served me well with all the dinners I’ve hosted in at my various residences. But my culinary skills became more honed, and I desired a more professional, heavy duty set that could give me more perfect results with a beautiful design and controlled handling.
I started looking around for my ideal cookware set and I came across All Clad at a local kitchen store for professional chefs. Later when I got engaged to be married, I set up a wedding registry with my fiancé at that same kitchen store, adding All Clad cookware pieces that I dreamed of having to complete my set. We received an All Clad copper core frying pan, which I immediately put to good use. Needless to say, we ended up purchasing the All Clad original stainless 10-piece premier cookware set, which served me very well.
Using the All Clad set brought my cooking to another level with professional results, and nourished my passion to start this food/recipe blog.
The All Clad copper core is designed for true connoisseurs with superb heat distribution and an elegant design showing a ring-around of copper near the base. It has five layers: a stainless steel cooking interior, two aluminum layers with a copper core in between, and a polished steel exterior. My copper core frying pan heats so evenly and quickly; it is wonderful for searing meat with picture-perfect results. I’ve also used it to simmer sauces that are prone to clumping or where even heating is important.
The All Clad original stainless steel is ideal for busy home chefs and veteran chefs alike. It has three layers: a stainless steel cooking interior, a highly conductive aluminum core, and a polished magnetic stainless steel exterior.
I find that it delivers exceptional culinary results every time on gas or electric ranges. My experiences with this cookware confirm what many of the All Clad reviews say about this product’s quality. The skillets and fry pans heat evenly and retain their heat, so searing meat results in perfect browning, while the meat releases nicely from the pan when it’s ready, as long as I’ve heated it properly with cooking oil in the pan. The saucepans, similarly, create an even layer of heat on the base and sides, yielding perfect results in cooking everything from a pot of homemade chicken soup to perfectly tender beef brisket. The matching lids fit snugly, and handles are comfortable and stay cool on the stove.
One of the most attractive features of this series is that they can be placed in the oven with a roast, for example, at temperatures up to 500oF.
There are three issues that I should mention, but are minor in my opinion. The cookware is heavy enough to feel indestructible, which may be too heavy to toss with one hand. However, even the larger pieces (such as my 8 qt / 7.6 L stock pot or my 10 inch fry pan) are still manageable with the help of handle grips particularly in lifting a hot pan from the oven. The other issue is that the polished stainless steel interior and exterior will scratch and discolor over time no matter how careful you are. And I am VERY careful. It is just impossible to maintain that newly polished steel finish with daily use. It is important to know that this is not a defect; even new utensils will have some scratches after a few washes in the dishwasher. The kitchen sink will become scratched up after a few weeks of daily use. The good thing is that this cookware is designed not to react with food, and a simple cleaning with Bar Keepers Friend liquid cleanser will completely remove any discoloration from cooking. Bar Keepers Friend liquid cleanser is ideal for stainless steel surfaces and it has always removed any unsightly stains from my All Clad cookware almost effortlessly. I have also found many ways to minimize scratching, such as using only rubber, silicone, or wooden utensils when cooking, and storing them in a single layer instead of stacking.
The third issue is the price of All Clad cookware. Purchasing my All Clad as a 10-piece set worked out to be less costly than buying each piece separately, but the cost of the All Clad brand is higher than the more common brands of cookware available at department stores. My decision to go with All Clad has been a great investment with marvelous returns, as these pieces will last a lifetime provided proper use with the bonus of having the elements of professional culinary outcomes and presentation in my own kitchen.
However, if price is a major concern, I do suggest that you consider two other brands which are respectable substitutes. The Calphalon contemporary stainless 10-piece cookware set is about 2/3 the price of the corresponding All Clad set. It also has a 3 ply construction with an aluminum core in between a brushed stainless steel interior and exterior for good conductivity, and oven-safe up to 450oF. However, I have heard that the Calphalon contemporary stainless cookware is constructed with much softer materials than All Clad which makes it easily dented and prone to staining or discoloring.
The other brand I would suggest is the Cuisinart multi-clad pro stainless steel 12-piece cookware set. This set is about 1/3 the price of All Clad, making it the best value because of price. It also has a 3 ply construction with a mirror-finish stainless interior, an aluminum core, and a brushed stainless steel exterior, and oven safe up to 500oF. I have heard that the Cuisinart stainless steel set is quite prone to discoloration and food sticking that create permanent unsightly consequences even from first use.
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