We purchased this from Woot a little over 2 years ago and this is an excellent set of cookware
A few points up front. If you haven’t already, search online for the proper methods of cooking on and cleaning stainless steel, particularly tri-ply. If you aren’t comfortable with the following characteristics common to stainless cookware, then no stainless set will be a good fit.
• Care and maintenance is different from other materials.
It isn’t particularly difficult, but the approach is different.
• The approach to cooking is different:
Use lower heat, heat the pan before adding oil, food, etc.
• Stainless is a relatively poor heat conductor; even so, short handles do get hot.
• To keep the interiors looking scratch-free, you’ll want to use soft utensils (wood, silicone, plastic)
• They cook fabulously: yes, all the good stuff about tri-ply, even heating, etc.
• These are tri-ply, so they are heavier (and cook much better) than cheap, single layer stainless.
• They are better balanced (and cook better) than cookware that has an aluminum encapsulated base bonded to the bottom of the pot (and these can’t fall apart)
• If you have an induction cooktop, or think you may get one in the future, these will work fine.
• The pots are made very well, from both structural and cosmetic perspectives
• There is no question about long-term durability.
I fully believe that our grandchildren will be able to use them 30 years from now
• The short handles on the sides are very comfortable to use.
• They look pretty (although peoples’ taste differ). Some think utility is all that matters.
They could certainly be hung for display, although ours live in cabinets
• The aluminum layer is exposed between the stainless layers at the top edge of the pots.
For this reason, we elect to
• not put them in the dishwasher.
• The bottoms are not massive heat sinks.
Putting a large, cold hunk of meat in to sear may work for one side, but not for the others. Allowing smaller pieces such as steaks to reach room temp before cooking does the trick, but forget trying a roast of any meaningful size.
Neutral (personal taste/needs):
• This is a somewhat unusual combination of pieces (no small pot, for example).
As when purchasing any set, consider which pans you tend to use when cooking.
We have never used the smaller fry pan. ON the other hand, the 4-1/2 qt. dutch oven is unlike anything that we had that we could use on the stovetop. It quickly became the “go-to” pot. The best price we’ve seen recently for this pot as open stock is $100.
• They are made in France rather than in China.
Like any country, China produces very good quality as well as junk. What you get depends on the supplier and how well the buyer monitors that supplier. Brands with good reputations to uphold are likely to be more concerned than most. We also purchased Cuisinart triply that was sourced from China. Slightly different design, and even lower cost. The most noticeable difference is that it is a bit lighter weight. That was to be expected at the price point.
• Some find the long handles very comfortable and easy to use, others not so much.
As with appearance, it seems to be a personal matter.
• The lids, while stainless, are not tri-ply like the pans, nor is there really a reason for them to be.
Unlike glass, they aren’t transparent. Unlike glass, they can go into the oven, up to 500 deg F. And they won’t break when dropped.
• The handles are riveted to the bodies (not welded).
When done properly, both attachment methods work well. And, at this price point, proper execution is expected. Some prefer the heavy-duty, industrial appearance. Rivets are a bit harder to keep clean vs the smooth surface that welding leaves. Also, the rivets are not made of the same material as the pan walls and they tend not to remain as shiny.
• The top lips are straight
This means it is difficult to pour a small amount out of a full, big pot without having it dribble down the side. In our home, this is meaningless in practice. If I need a small amount out of a big pot, standard practice has always been to use a spoon, ladle, or measuring cup.
• The stock pot is just 6 qt.
This is as small as a pot can get and still be considered a stock pot. It would probably be fine for a small family. If you need to make pasta or chili for the gang, however, it will come up short. Pay attention to what is included to determine whether the set will meet your needs. An 8 qt version is available on the mothership for $56. But buying a second 6 qt version as open stock is double that price (go figure).