No less than six chefs we spoke with declared their unending love for Lodge, and if you already own its skillet, consider stocking up on its equally beloved griddle and its “double” Dutch oven. “Bacon, eggs, hash browns, handmade tortillas, pressed sandwiches, searing meat and fish.
If you’re the kind of person who likes a quick, no-fuss breakfast that you can clean up in a jiffy, you’re going to need a dependable nonstick frying pan. Robert Guion, the chef and owner of restaurant Public Display of Affection in Brooklyn, swears by his All-Clad.
“I use the All-Clad three-quart because it’s perfect to cook one or two portions of risotto,” says chef Jamie Knot of the Saddle River Inn & Cellar. Chef Brandon Jew of Mister Jim’s and Mamahuhu loves the Camacho, which has been produced in Japan by Tuamotu Pottery since 1864.
“The pot can go over a low flame on the stove, but recently I took it camping with me and was able to cook rice over an indirect campfire. “A large sauté pan with two-thirds-inch sides is the most important pot you should own,” says chef Tony Palace of Jackson’s Eatery.
Chefs typically use the same style and type of pots and pans at work that they do at home. We’ve included many of the same types of pieces you’ll find in any chef’s kitchen cupboards, in addition to what kind of cookware they prefer working with, whether it’s copper, carbon steel, cast iron, or aluminum.
Most of the pros tend to lean more toward cookware that’s made out of cast iron, carbon steel, or copper. The kind of material the cookware is made out of often depends on the type of the pot or pan.
Chefs do not recommend using cookware that’s made out of aluminum if you often cook acidic foods. But we guarantee that you’ll also find cookware that’s not in your kitchen, but should definitely be on your list whether you’re a serious cook or a casual one.
Some professional chefs prefer to try newer cookware technology, such as carbon steel, while others will stick to their personal favorites such as cast iron skillets. You don’t have to run out and buy a wide range of pot and pan styles.
Often, many chefs admit that all you really need are a few good saucepans, the perfect skillet, and a large stock pot. Your basic frying pan features rounded edges and a flat bottom.
Skillets are typically larger, heavier, and designed to cook a higher volume of food. Pro Recommendation: Any chef will tell you that no kitchen is complete without a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
This type of cookware is very heavy and features a seasoning that’s made out of oil and baked several times. Seasoning the skillet gives it a type of nonstick surface that makes both cooking and cleaning much easier.
The cast iron skillet is also very versatile and can go straight from the stove right into the oven, with the ability to handle higher than average temperatures compared to other types of cookware. The saucepan is used to cook sauce, soup, boil eggs, veggies, or pasta, and it’s also often the go-to pan when it comes to reheating food.
Stainless steel can also be a great choice if you’re on a budget and don’t cook delicate dishes often. The brazier pan is another important staple in a commercial kitchen, but they’re also great for home use as well.
This pan is typically made out of either aluminum or stainless steel and is available in a variety of sizes. Pro Recommendation: Chefs often choose stainless steel braziers for home and commercial use.
These sturdy, large capacity pans are durable, feature a decent heft, and are easy to clean. Griddle pans are perfect for commercial kitchens, providing a large nonstick cooking surface.
Typically, these pans feature a large square shape and are equipped with a handle. These pans are perfect for cooking eggs, hot dogs, and pancakes in larger volumes.
Pro Recommendation: All chefs can agree that you should steer clear of Teflon at all costs. Teflon cookware is coated with a nonstick interior that’s designed to prevent food from sticking to the surface.
However, when the cookware reaches five hundred degrees it begins to emit harmful fumes. Griddles, like cast iron skillets, must be seasoned in order to develop the type of nonstick coating that can be crucial if you’re frying eggs, or you want to cook your pancakes to perfection.
This type of wok features a nonstick surface that’s comparable to that of Teflon, without the use of harsh chemicals. Versatile, lightweight, and easy to clean, you’ll be surprised by how many uses the traditional wok has.
In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a chef that doesn’t have their own favorite cast iron griddle or skillet at work and at home. This type of cookware material is very durable, but its heavier design may make it unsuitable for some users.
Carbon steel is said to be a better alternative since it offers the many of the same benefits as cast iron, but is much lighter. A better choice if you have a gas oven since the open flame tends to burn the sides of the wok.
The enamel coating gives the cookware a nonstick surface, which means you won’t have to worry about seasoning the pan. Each of these materials can offer different benefits depending on the type of food or dish you’re cooking and even the style of the pot or pan.
However, the pros do not recommend using Teflon or other types of pans that are coated with artificial nonstick surfaces. Whereas a single frying pan and a couple of pots is usually enough to meet the needs of a single person, a professional chef will have a wide range of pots and pans, each designed for a specific cooking skill.
Since they have a shallow bottom, you can only place a little oil inside a frying pan. Pro Tip: Professional chefs recommend using cast iron, copper, and carbon steel pans.
Skillets are bigger, heavier, and thicker versions of frying pan and are designed to cook food at a high temperature. Pro Tip: One of the favorite cookware of chefs is a cast-iron skillet, made up of an alloy or iron and carbon.
Additionally, cast iron skillets should never be washed with soap as that can erode its protective surface. Over time, your cast iron pan will give you that distinctive seasoning that imparts a unique flavoring to your food.
Pro-Tip: Professional chefs recommend copper sauté pans as the material heats up quickly and evenly, cooking dishes at the right temperature. Pro-Tip: Pros recommend using saucepans made of ceramic or ceramic-coated material, which are naturally non-stick, or copper, which heats food evenly.
They are a versatile cookware and can be used to slow-cook, braise, roast, sauté or proof food inside an oven or on a stove top. The pans are beautifully made so that you can use them to serve food straight from the oven to the table.
Pro-Tip: Professional chefs recommend using stainless steel brazier pots, which are durable and have a large capacity. These pans are versatile and can be used to make eggs, pancakes and hot dogs as well as grill chicken, sausages and hamburgers.
Pro-Tip: Most chefs are unanimous that you should steer clear away from Teflon, which emits toxic fumes and leaves flakes of coating behind when the temperature reaches 500 degrees. A safer choice is cast iron griddles that need to be seasoned to create a non-stick patina.
Pro-Tip: Many pros use non-stick carbon steel woks to cook as they are light weight and easy to clean. A pressure cooker is a deep-bottomed pan and comes with a lid that seals tight and prevents water vapor from escaping during the cooking process.
This type of pot is used to tenderize tough meat and can reduce cooking time to over 50 percent. Food in pressure cookers requires a lot of water to generate steam and needs to be cooked in high temperature.
It is highly durable, tough and can withstand a lot of impact, making it great for the bustling life of a professional kitchen. Most chefs prefer stainless steel brazier pans and stock pots.
Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and hence cooks food evenly. The best part is that most aluminum cookware is quite affordable, making it a great choice for professional kitchens which see heavy wear.
However, they do not recommend using cookware with artificial nonstick coatings, like Teflon, that can be harmful to your health. If you want your kitchen to look like a professional one, take your time going through the merits of the different type of cookware, match them up with your style of cooking, and make the right choice while shopping.