Chef cookware for pro jobs
The premium price of professional cookware reflects its sturdier construction and use of superior materials. Commercial pots and pans typically resist heat and heavy usage a lot better than less expensive alternatives. In particular, many professional frying pans have space-age non-stick surfaces that hold up in even the most difficult conditions.
Commercial cookware and professional bakeware are also bigger and able to accommodate a larger volume of food than you'd ever need to make at home under normal conditions. Given these high-volume applications, they also tend to incorporate designs that promote even heat distribution.
Materials Used in Chef Cookware
Here is a closer look at the five main materials used in the manufacture of professional cookware:
- Aluminum. Easy to clean and highly responsive to increases or decreases in temperature, aluminum is an inexpensive and high-performing option. Commercial pots and pans made from 3000-series alloys are less prone to warping than cookware made with purer aluminum.
- Cast iron. Compared to aluminum, cast iron does not conduct heat quickly. However, it does retain its heat better, making it an excellent choice for soups, stews and any other dish that is cooked slowly over an extended period of time.
- Stainless steel. The main benefit of stainless steel is that it is completely "flavor neutral": cooking with stainless steel will not affect the taste of the final product in any way (which is not always true of other metals and finishes). Unlike aluminum, stainless steel will not dent or warp, though it must be carefully hand-washed in warm water to maintain its lustrous appearance.
- Clad cookware. This type of cookware is a hybrid of stainless steel, offering a ferrous outer coating that is excellent for inductive heating and a non-ferrous inner layer for flavor neutrality. While it is one of the most versatile alternatives available, it is also one of the most expensive.
- Carbon steel. The primary advantage of carbon steel is that it performs extremely well at high temperatures, making it a favorite choice for frying pans and woks.
As with chef knives, there is considerable range between the least expensive and most expensive options on the market. If you're unsure which to buy for your restaurant, consult your kitchen manager or head chef. He or she will have the experience to know which option will best meet your needs and budget.