“No one makes pots and pans or even saucepan sets like the French,” said my first culinary instructor.”
I found this article written by a Dr Giles, a man who loves cooking. In this extract he explains why he uses Le Creuset saucepans and his love of the French!
When I was a culinary Apprentice I was taught that there were only two kinds of kitchen pots and pans a serious cook should consider. The first were made of copper, typically lined with a coating of tin. The second were cast iron. The benefit of each is that they are wonderful conductors of heat. An iron pan will take longer to heat and will hold its heat even after it is off the fire, while a copper pan will be instantly responsive to changes in temperature. These are the pots and pans at the top of the quality pyramid.
Most production restaurant kitchens are full of pots and pans made from aluminum. They’re not bad, but they’re not great. That’s what the owner provides because more expensive copper or iron pieces tend to get stolen. But go into a high-end restaurant kitchen like Charlie Trotters, Tru, etc. and you will see the rows of copper and iron.
These days it’s no longer true that only copper and iron pans are good. Modern pieces are often made from a sandwich of metal intended to capture the best features of classic cookware in a package that looks good and will go through the dishwasher.
One of the problems a cook has working in a household kitchen is that one can easily run out of burners. Right now, I’ve only got four burners on my gas stove. In my new kitchen, I’ll have five. But that’s it. Many times when putting together a complex dinner I’ve stood there holding a pot I had to get on the fire only to realize that all of my burners were in use.
To solve this problem, I switched to cast iron and don’t cook in anything else. Once you get an iron pot hot, you can put the lid on and take off the burner. There is enough residual heat in the iron that that pot will keep cooking even if you take it off the flame. With some juggling you get the effect of multiple stoves.
In my own collection I gave away all of my All-Clad, and switched to a set of cast iron. But I remembered what my first chef teacher said, and I decided to get mine from France. Over the past several years I’ve been acquiring pots and pans from Le Creuset, a French company known the world over.
The big difference when compared with Lodge is that Le Creuset pots and pans are made of iron covered with a layer of porcelain. I think they look better than raw iron, and after a quick blast from a cooking spray, they become non-stick, even if you run them through the dishwasher, something you cannot do with raw cast iron.
Oh…they’re heavy. Very heavy. I don’t let my wife touch them for fear she will hurt herself or damage something. They’re way too heavy to hang on an overhead pot rack, so when I designed my new kitchen I put in two of the floor standing pot racks Le Creuset designed to hold its products. Here’s a photo as I’ve already got them set up.
So if you are looking for good solid cast iron pots and pans then Le Creuset is a good option. You can read the full article here: Le Creuset Saucepan Set