Emerilware vs Cuisinart stainless cookware - opinions please

mmkmmkJune 15, 2008

Emeril Stainless or Cuisinart Classic Stainless??

Or something else????

I thought I had it narrowed down. I was going to get the Emerilware (set of 10 pcs. about $150 after all discounts applied). Even though I am not real interested in the 2 frypans (in either set- I would use non-stick more often) or the stock pot(I have one already), I am mostly looking at the sauce pans and saute pans. Emeril has 2 sauce, but one is actually a "casserole" and doesn't even have a long handle. Cuisinart has 2 but the overall quality didn't seem as good but was slightly cheaper. I would probably want 3 saucepans. I thought I could always buy some openstock, but where?? I bought the Emeril set last night but I haven't quite decided if I am going to keep it.

If I just bought open stock and got the sauce pans that I really need what store would I go to? I do not want high end, but it doesn't look like BedBathBeyond, Linens n things or Macys carries too much of a variety of openstock pieces.

I agree with the idea of don't buy the whole set buy pieces - but can you get emeril in open stock? I looked a little online but didn't really see anything.

Please give me your opinions, everyone always is so helpful and I really don't know much about this cookware stuff ...but I'm learning!

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I wouldn't buy either brand. Frankly, both Cusinart and Mr. Lagasse have recently allowed their names to be used on some very shoddy products, sad to say.

Check out the consumer complaints about Emerilware here:

I recently threw away a 10 inch Emerilware fry pan. The handle got hotter than blue-blazes, and was so narrow and slippery that, when I grabbed it with a hot pot holder, I couldn't keep it frmo turning and dumping the food. This never happens even with my heavy Lodge cast iron fry pan.

Worse, the bottom of the pot is a flat sandwich of stainless with some heat conducting metal inside. There is a copper band to around the outside to make you think that the filler is copper, but it is actually aluminum. It's a fake--just like Emeril Lagasse (a successful restranteur and TV personality whose talents are more along the lines of Ron Popeil than of Jacques Pepin.)

The layers of the sandwich are stuck together with some kind of solder. Inevitably, the become loose. Then one day the aluminum melts and comes squirting out: "Pleased to me you, I'm molten aluminum--may I burn your shoes?" This happens even if the pot is full of water at the time--the air gets between the layers and the heat can't get to the water. Surprise!

Even before the pan melted down, it was a bad pan. The stainless is a bad alloy (chromium and nickle are expensive, ya'know) which discolors easily and is impossible to clean.

Shame on Allclad for building this half-clad junk and shame on Emeril for selling it. If my name was on this cookware, I'd move to Bulgaria or try to buy back every peice that was ever sold. But Emeril Inc. is all about the bucks.

I've owned a few cuisinart pans: some were good and some weren't. It depends on who made them for Cuisinart and when.

Instead of buying a matched set of pans, all made of the same materials, why not buy the best type of pan for each cooking task? For example, frying and searing meats, you can't beat cast iron. I have a Lodge 10-inch fry pan that beats the hell out of any fancy stainless.

The trick with cast iron is to season it first in a HOT oven: coat it with vegetabl oil then place in a 500 F oven for an hour (not 350 F which the manufacturers tell you for liability reasons). Even if it says it's pre-seasoned, season it.

What type and size of pan you need depends on the task and how many people you cook for. An exception is a stock pot and roasting pan, which both must accomodate a whole turkey or large fish. here are some suggestions:

Frying or searing meat: cast iron
Frying or stir-frying vegetables: large, non-stick coated pan with reasonably thick, rounded bottom.
Boiling, blanching, etc : cheap single-layer stainless--as long the handle is oven-proof doesn't fall off
* One 4-qt pan with lid
* Two 2-qt pans with lids
* Two 1-qt pans with lids
Braising: 12-inc
Covered Roasting: oval roasting pan with cover: enamelware is fine unless you plan to use it a lot. (These days, many home cooks use disposable aluminum roasters, which work fine.)
Open roasing: heavy gauge stainless roasing pan or disposable aluminum roaster
Melting chocolate or heating milk: double boiler
Pancakes and scrambled eggs: aluminum griddle with non-stick coating
Omlettes and crepes: cast aluminum, flat-bottom pan with non-stick coating (I actually use cast iron, just to enjoy the looks on the faces of people accustomed to doing everything in non-stick pans).

Depending on what you cook, you might want to add a pressure cooker, deep frier, or automatic rice maker.

For non-stick pans, Silverstone or the newer triple-coated is better than the older single-coat Teflon. But any pan with a non-stick coating should be considered disposable, to be replaced when the coating wears off.

I'd stay away from Calphalon or any aluminum pot that claims to be "hard anodized": such aluminum oxide coatings are very thin and easily scractched off, and cannot be restored. You rarely see Calphalon in commerical kitchens. Titanium is a great metal, but ridiculously expensive: I only use it for backpack trips.

An expensive pan really only pays for itself when you are sauteing something that tends to burn, making thick sauces or custards, or doing some task that is probably better done in a double boiler. For things really requiring even heat, I'd buy a 10-inch, straight sided, flat-bottomed saute pan that either has real copper on the bottom or aluminum that is completely enclosed in stainless steel. Spend what you save on the other pots on this one.

I've been very happy with cheap Culinary Essentials stainless that I bought ten years ago at Costco. They are stainless with an aluminum wafer completely surrounded by a stainless bottom. But if I had to do it over, I wouldn't buy a set of matched pans: I'd buy the best-of-kind for each task as recommended above. That's what I use today: my stainless fry pan gathers dust while I use the inexpensive cast iron one. Hope this info helps you make up your mind.


Here is a link that might be useful: ConsumerAffairs.com

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 8:46PM
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I think you can buy Cuisinart open stock on Amazon.com. I got a large skillet that way, and although I'm no chef, I like it except it's so heavy. But they all are. I would not buy Emeril. Just because it has a celebrity's name on it doesn't make it good.

Have you checked out the cookware at Costco? I remember hearing good things about their brand which is something like Kirkland. You have to buy a set, but it's reasonably priced.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:50PM
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