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4 best saucepans, according to top chefs

Saucepans can be made of various materials, from copper to stainless steel

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 06 January 2020 18:41
The best saucepans, according to top chefs (Stock)
The best saucepans, according to top chefs (Stock)

Apart from knives, a reliable saucepans may be one of the most important items in any chef’s kitchen.

After all, a saucepan, typically a deep pan with a long handle and lid, is a requirement for making everything from the most basic of sauces to perfectly cooked quinoa.

But, as with any kitchen tool, the choices can be overwhelming - as both home chefs and professionals must consider factors such as size, grip, and material when investing in the cookware.

To help with the selection, we asked top chefs to reveal their favourite saucepans - this is what they said.

As one of the most recognisable names in the industry, it is understandable and expected that numerous chefs named Le Creuset as the maker of their favourite saucepan.

“They provide consistent heat distribution and are fun to work with,” Matthew Whitfield, head chef at The Montagu Arms, told us. “When you buy a pan from Le Creuset, you know it’s going to stand the test of time and be in your kitchen for many years to come.”

John DeLucie, chef partner at Lumaca NYC agreed, adding that he also “loves” Le Creuset cookware.

“They are durable, heat up fast and look great,” he said. “They’re expensive, but the value is fantastic and they last forever!”

Oliver Marlowe, owner and chef director at The Hunter’s Moon also relies on Le Creuset saucepans for getting the job done.

“There just isn’t better cook/stoneware out there and I want them all,” he said.

A testament to the brand’s durability, Alistair Craig, head chef at Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa, told us that his favourite item from Le Creuset is a shallow casserole pan given to him “nearly twenty years ago.''

“I use it pretty much every day and although it may look a little battered and not as shiny as it once did, it is a pleasure to cook in,” he said.

When it comes to saucepans, many chefs prefer ones made of copper, as the metal is a perfect heat conductor - meaning more even cooking.

“I love the Mauviel copper pan,” Mauro di Leo, head chef at MAIA, told us. “We use them throughout at MAIA.

“Copper is amazing - second only to gold as a heat conductor, they get sauce to boiling point in no time and super importantly, these pans keep the temperature even across the surface. For aesthetics and functions, that’s the pan for me.”

According to Guillaume Gillan, executive chef at Bōkan 37, his favourite is the “smallest copper saucepan from Mauviel”.

“I think most chefs dream of working with Mauviel pans,” he told us. “It retains heat for such a long time, it’s easy to clean, maintain and [it’s] unbreakable - extremely important qualities for a kitchen.”

All-Clad is another brand worth checking out, according to chefs, as it offers affordable yet reliable options.

According to Paul Wahlberg, executive chef and owner of Wahlburgers, his All-Clad saucepan ties for favourite with his antique copper ones.

“They’re my favourite because they have good heat conductivity, heavy gauge, they’re less likely to burn and are a good size for finishing sauces,” he told us.

Guillaume Thivet, executive chef of Mister French NYC also recommends the brand’s cookware because it “distributes heat perfectly, which makes cooking fun, reliable and perfect”.

If you aren’t set on a traditional saucepan, you may consider investing instead in a wok version.

A Kadhai is an Indian style wok that can be used as a saucepan (Williams Sonoma) 

According to Manish Mehrotra, executive chef at Indian Accent, his favourite saucepan is a Kadhai, or an “Indian style wok”.

“It’s one of the most versatile and indispensable items in my kitchen,” he said. “The wide surface helps control the heat distribution, and its thick, heavy bottom ensures the food is slowly and evenly cooked.”

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