please recommend a starter set for up to about $150

gellchomJanuary 8, 2008

My son is really starting to love to cook, and he is shopping for a set of cookware. I thought I would get him that for his upcoming (March) 22nd birthday. Any recommendations? I'd like to keep it under $150, so obviously I'm not looking at the top of the line -- he can get that later -- but if you think it's a mistake to set the budget that low, let me know.

I have always liked both Revere Ware with the copper bottoms (but mine are old; I understand the new ones aren't as good) and Calphalon.

What do you suggest?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Don't get a "set" pieces that he needs and will use.
You don't say how old he is and where he lives.
I would start with a 6 inch non stick skillet for eggs and maybe a grilled cheese sandwich.
Then go for an inexpensive pair of clad lidded sauce pans...1 qu and 2 qu...I am figuring that you will have spent about $75 so far....and I would look for a deal in a small Dutch oven in enamel cast iron...hoping you can find that for about $75...if you shop well....and that leaves you with about nothing for a big stock pot or corn boiling soup pot...
Not going to make it for $150...I would buy him one 2 good pots and let the rest come another time.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:40PM
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He is turning 22 and currently lives in Boston, but he will probably be elsewhere next year for graduate school (don't know where yet). He has a couple of pots and pans already, at least one ten inch skillet; I can't remember what else.

Also, he keeps kosher, so he will need double of most things. That's why I figured a set would be the most economical way to get him started for now. I know lindac is right that in the long run you do better with individually chosen pieces, but for now I thought a set of something decent would do, and he can fill in and replace with better pieces later on, using these things as back up or passing them on. The whole thing started with his e-mailing me for my opinion on an e-bay listing for a good price on a set of new Revereware; it made me think that I would get him cookware for his birthday.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Go with a set of tri-ply clad from Sam's Club. First check out Consumer Report magazine. Every piece your son will ever need may not be here, but he will be able to get by.

CR doesn't allow us to view their recommendations online, but you could glance at this site for some safety tips and a couple good quality, inexpensive choices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports cookware safety and quality

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Lots of good advise above, especially Lindac!

My 2 cents, If you have a "Linens and things" near you they sell Chef Emeril cooking sets for reasonable prices especially if you have one of there 20% off coupons (big blue thing)! This set is very close to all clad quality and does a very decent job of providing quality cooking cookware ( I bought this set after a lot of research). A set is now about $200.00, with the 20 % coupon you're talking $160.00. There is nothing out there (Quality) that can be had for that amount even close to this amount (copper clad bottom by the way).
You'll still need a good Dutch Oven and a set of "No Stick) fry pans, 3 different sizes at SAM's for about $24.00 for set if I remember correctly.

For the dutch oven I would recommend a Lodge or Wagner brand 5 or 6qt with a "GLASS TOP" (trust me)! I am not sure what they cost now but I really believe they are better than the porcelain clad models (they chip), and once you have a regular cast iron Dutch seasoned correctly it will be something that will become his life time friend and will last forever with minimal care!

If there is any way I can help you more (short of recipes) please don't hesitate to ask. For the recipes, you would be better served by the forum experts.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 5:33PM
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Do you have a restaurant/institutional supply place by you? In California we have Smart & Final. They sell aluminum cookware for a song. I don't believe the Alzheimers/aluminum connection has been verified, AND, if you think about it, most restaurants COOK YOUR FOOD in aluminum, so I have no problems with the stuff.

Here is my absolute favorite 3 qt. pan for $14. I don't leave acidic (tomato) stuff sitting in it, thats the only 'care' I take. Also, I don't put it in the dishwasher. I was going to get a copper pan but the price/performance ratio didn't justify it.

I'd look at the Revere for 5 qt pots with steamer inserts for pasta and steaming. The bottoms seem to be too thin for me for other cooking. Plus they go in the dishwasher.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 qt saute

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Thank you all so much. I will have fun shopping. And he will have fun cooking!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Just saw the magazine with Consumer Report picks, daughter needs a set; best at top of list, descending order to bottom:
Kirkland Signature (Costco) # 783643 14 pieces $150
Analon Titanium 10 $300
Analon Advance 8 $200
Uncoated Kitchen Aid Gourmet Essentials
Brushed Stanles 10 $150
Calphalon Contemporory 8 $400
Emerilware Staninless 10 $200

Kitchen Aid KFP 710 food processor $80
We're going to check out the Sam's Club set also.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 5:07PM
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Thanks, sharing --

I looked at the Costco set on line. It is priced at $179.99, but that does include shipping, which I imagine would not be cheap. It looks like a pretty good set. Thank you so much for finding that info.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 10:32PM
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If anyone was around to read this they would die laughing but I can't help bieng an HSN fan. I have purchased cookware from them. Wolfgang Puck paid just over $100 for the main pieces plus utensils. They were both good pieces and not expensive. You have enough time to wait for a special or you could just buy the pieces separately. The command performance gets some good reviews too. They have a cooking presentation every sunday at noon or one eastern time. You can also read the reviews of the products from those who have purchased it which I highly recommend before you buy.

I also have purchased cookware from Brylane Home and it too turned out to be good cookware. They aren't expensive. Check out the website if you don't get the catalog.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 5:01AM
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Here is the set I got from Brylane Home a few years ago and is still in good shape.

Heres another link for a stainless steel set. I haven't tried it but it has the thick bottom like most you see. Each one is $99

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Brylane home

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 5:10AM
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Does anyone know anything about Cuisinart's hard anodized line? Bloodbath and Beyond has a couple of sets that are in range (after the blue coupon).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Does anyone know anything about Cuisinart's hard anodized line? Bloodbath and Beyond has a couple of sets that are in range (after the blue coupon).

I have a 1 1/2 qt Cuisinart Chef's Classic H/A nonstick saucepan that I use for things like oatmeal. I bought it to replace an old All-Clad and didn't want to spend a lot of money. It's okay for that, but I can't comment on how the skillets perform. It is definitely more lightweight than the premium stuff.

You might check out the reviews on Amazon.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 11:05AM
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I got my Mother a nice set of Wolfgang Puck stainless cookware from BJ's (warehouse store) for the Christmas before last.

It's a great set.

I was going to get one for myself, but Amazon had a killer sale on a slightly smaller set of Farberware Millennium stainless last summer.

I bought that and ended up throwing out almost all of my old cookware, especially the worn non-stick.

I replaced the nonstick with two small, CHEAP Ikea frying pans that I use only for eggs.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 11:07AM
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I took suzyq3's advice and checked the customer reviews of the Cuisinart set on Amazon. They were excellent, and there were several different sets available. So I think that will do.

I'll have to make a decision soon -- his birthday is March 17. (Begorrah!)

Thanks, all! I hope others were helped by this, too.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:26PM
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Hi gellchom,

Pots,pots galore.....
There has been a warehouse sale for Surgical Steel 18/10 cookware, 5 ply but it is here in British Columbia. Quality pieces of the Carl Weill brand at affordable prices but I guess the shipping would cost a bit as the weight is really heavy.... Unless you are just near the BC - US border. I see your price range is for 150.00 but this set Costs 199.00 / set of 12 would be a lifetime of use, lifetime quality. Look up for other choices at the website of In case you like what you browse in the website, I will try to look up for the last newspaper ad (hope I haven't recycled the newspaper yet) they had for particulars of any upcoming sale and contact of their BC store.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 2:45AM
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Well I googled the Le Creuset Stainless Steel but the cheapest I could find was an 8 piece set for 335 on ebay. I think it looks beautiful (but its made in China too)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:25AM
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JC Penney has both the Cuisnart and the Kitchen Aid Stainless for 150.00

If you do a google for JC Penney coupons sometimes you can find them for a little off or free shipping.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Well, when I went to Amazon to order the Cuisinart set, I read more ratings, and I decided against the set. People are happy with it but said the set isn't good with high heat. *I* wouldn't be happy with that!

So I went with the Costco set. Note that they charge a surcharge for nonmembers. But it was still a good buy, I think.

Thanks, sharing/caring.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:01PM
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You probably did good to pass on the Cuisinart. I have a set of cuisinart pans I bought used and cheap to tide me over becasue I am going to demo the kitchen in the spring. They are OK but certainly do not perform as well as all-clad ro demeyere (which I was previously using).

the poster who mentioned the cheap ikea non-stick is on point. non-stick pans only last the life of the coating I do not undestand paying premum for a fancy pan when it will last only a few years. The Ikea non-stick fryingpans work nicely and when the coating wears out you can toss them without feeling bad

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:39AM
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Here is a follow-up for all of you:

My son received the cookware last night -- it came much earlier than I'd expected, and as the carton had the contents printed right on it, there was no point in his waiting until his birthday to open it.

He LOVES it! He was so excited, he not only called to thank us right away, he called again this morning to thank me AGAIN now that he's had a chance to unpack them and take a good look.

It's great to have a kid who cooks -- it makes it so easy to buy him gifts.

Thanks to all who helped me.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 3:29PM
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