Having the top high-end best of the best cookware won’t automatically make you a great chef… but it can certainly help.
Professional chefs will confidently be able to confirm that having the right cookware can make all the difference when it comes to cooking, as it can make the entire process a lot easier, faster, and convenient.
The right cookware will also be of higher quality, and the better design will allow food to heat up in a more even way, which benefits the cooking process. It will also be a lot more resistant to warping, lasting a lot longer than a cheaper version would, which actually saves you some money over time.
So essentially, the right cookware not only helps with the cooking process but also makes it easier to achieve higher-quality and more professional results with your food.
In fact, you will very rarely see chefs using run-down, old, or cheap cookware. They know they need the right tools in order to achieve the best results!
Of course, when they’re at work in a top high-end restaurant, they will be using incredibly expensive tools and cookware, which aren’t always available for home use.
So the question is, what cookware do they use when at home?
Let’s get right into it!
What Traits Do Chefs Look For?
Different chefs will use different types of cookware at home, and there isn’t an overall best one, as it depends on what you’re cooking and the style of cooking itself. Especially as different cooking techniques will be better suited to different types of cookware, based on factors such as their heat conductivity. But on top of that, you need to consider your own personal preferences!
Nevertheless, there are a few traits that all chefs will look for in their home cookware:
The material that the cookware is made out of is absolutely key, as it will heavily determine the levels of quality and the end results. Most chefs will swear by stainless steel, as it is regarded as the best overall material in regards to cookware. It is light, durable, and has many properties to ensure the food comes out as best as possible. But let’s take a look at all of the main materials chefs favor:
Stainless steel is the go-to material for everyday cookware, as it is incredibly durable and sturdy, and is also easy to use and to maintain, as it is even dishwasher safe, in most cases.
However, some of its downsides are that some high-protein and low-fat foods are prone to sticking to it, and it is not the best at conducting heat.
Cast iron is one of the cheaper materials, able to retain heat extremely well. This makes it ideal for browning meats.
However, cast iron is slow to heat up, and it requires a lot of maintenance. In order to protect it from rusting and from reacting to acidic foods, it needs to be reseasoned every now and then (depending on the amount of use it is given), and sadly it is not dishwasher safe.
Carbon steel is mostly used for woks, skillets, and frying pans. It heats up really fast and is a great heat conductor.
However, it can easily react with different foods and rust, meaning it requires a lot of maintenance and needs to be reseasoned often in order to be durable.
To learn more about this type of pans, check out “Carbon Steel Pans: All You Need to Know.”
Aluminum is very lightweight, making it perfect for frying pans, saucepans, and similar. It is one of the fastest heat conductors, making it highly responsive to temperature changes, which is very useful for cooking with precision.
However, it is highly reactive to foods, and it does not retain heat very well once it is removed from the source of heat. (For these reasons it is often used merely as the base for non-stick pans!)
Copper is like the Ferrari of cookware. It is incredibly responsive to temperature changes and heats up very quickly, and cools down equally as fast.
However, it is one of the more expensive materials, as well as being too heavy for most everyday cookware. It also requires a good coating, or else it might leave behind a metallic taste in your food.
Some specific brands of cookware will be endorsed by professional chefs, and some chefs will consistently recommend certain brands, from experience. This includes brands such as Lodge for cast iron cookware, Le Creuset for enameled cast iron, All-Clad for stainless steel, and Mauviel for high-quality copper pans.
However, chefs very rarely will stick to a single brand, and will instead get the right cookware items for them, no matter the brand they belong to. For this, you can check out what equipment is essential to chefs.
So don’t feel the need to instantly go to the popular high-end brands. Instead, focus on ensuring quality and durability, and make sure that the cookware is right for your style of cooking and your preferences.
Specific Cookware Lines
A lot of chefs actually have their own line of cookware, which is often available for home use, sometimes at really affordable prices. It makes sense for chefs to use the cookware from their own line, if they have one, as they will have designed it themselves, and it also proves that it works for the best cooking experience.
If you have a favorite chef that you look up to, or want to learn from a chef’s particular style of cooking, it’s a great idea to look into using their line of cookware if they have one!
However, do keep in mind that sometimes these special chef cookware lines can be overhyped, and people buy them for the chef’s face, and not the actual quality of the cookware itself! It might be best to just go for the best-selling line of the same brand that sells them, as they will be proven to be more reliable and effective.
It’s easy to think that you need a specific kitchen appliance for each job so that you have specialized cookware that does the perfect job. However, this will end up being quite expensive, and it will also end up taking up a lot of room in your kitchen. Besides, it’s not necessary at all!
A lot of professional chefs only have a few basic cookware items at home, and they are able to use them in a multi-purpose way to get the most out of each cooked meal.
Do Professional Chefs Use Non-Stick Pans?
Non-stick pans are one of the most popular types of cookware used by normal people at home. They are incredibly convenient and easy to use, and they prevent your food from sticking to the pan, which makes cooking a lot easier.
However, professional chefs actually don’t like using non-sticking pans. Pretty surprising, right? Why don’t they like non-stick pans? Well, there are a few reasons, so let’s go ahead and break them down:
Non-stick pans don’t get as hot as normal pans:
The coating that non-stick pans have, prevents them from reaching the higher temperatures as efficiently, so they don’t usually get as hot as normal pans. For chefs, this can be a huge problem, as it limits the types of food they can cook with that pan, and it restricts them from using the higher temperatures.
Non-stick pans are slower and less even:
The non-stick coating on the surface of non-stick pans provides a type of insulation, which makes them heat up at a far slower pace. This makes the cooking take a lot longer than with normal pans, which is less than ideal for chefs that have a lot to do in the kitchen. On top of this, non-stick pans tend to have a more uneven heat distribution on their surface, which leads to the food being cooked less evenly. This won’t be as noticeable to the average person, but for chefs, it will be a massive downside that ruins the end result.
Chefs don’t need the non-stick feature:
The main advantage of non-stick pans is that they make it easier to prevent the food from sticking. But here’s the thing, chefs don’t need that advantage, so they’re left with just the downsides.
Non-stick pans don’t have any fond:
Fond is the cakey material that is left at the bottom of a pan after it has been used to cook food at really high temperatures. A lot of chefs love using pans with fond, as it adds an extra layering of flavor to the food they cook. However, non-stick pans are unable to create any fond, due to the coating they have on the pan surface.
Non-stick pans aren’t as durable:
The coating on non-stick pans wastes away over time, usually throughout 1 to 3 years, depending on the make and model, which will eventually render the pan unusable. This means that non-stick pans are a lot less durable than normal pans, and they have to be replaced way more often.
What to Read Next
Now that you know what brands and traits to look for, check out our list of the most essential cookware that every home cook needs in their kitchen.