Do chefs use nonstick pans?

momto4kidsNovember 1, 2006

I've been taking cooking classes lately given by chefs at different restaurants. I just realized last night as I was pulling out a nonstick skillet...none of the chefs I've seen use nonstick pans. We've certainly fried or otherwise prepared foods that I would normally pull out a nonstick pan for at home. Just wondering if they use them, and if not, why?

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kitchendetective

I have never been in a "serious" professional kitchen that contained non-stick pans. (Mind you, I am basing all this on about 6 kitchen visits, total, so I could be totally wrong). I have been in diner and family restaurant kitchens where I have seen them. Restaurant-supply places do sell them. The problem, I surmise, is that professional kitchens do a lot of high heat cooking and use a lot of metal utensils as these can be sterilized readily. The Teflon coating is not made for high heat use and the coating does not hold up over time. Therefore, the pans would need to be discarded and replaced frequently.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 1:06AM
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gardenlad

You might find them in smaller professional kitchens, such as in a country inn type place. But most chefs avoid them for the reasons KitchenDetective notes. Plus, of course, the potential health hazards.

In addition, most restaurant kitchens use multiple copies of their cookware. You or I might have one or two 8" skillets. The restaurant might have 20. They want them to be as much as possible the same design, and as maintainance free as possible. Nor do they want to be replacing them all the time. Often they are stacked, and scraped against each other, and used upside down. All of which mitigates against nonstick coatings.

The big exceptions would be the TV celebrity chefs. But most of them have vested interests in the cookware because of tie-ins with the manufacturers. Was Emeril really such a big fan of AllClad before they stuck his name on a line of products???

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 6:54AM
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kitchendetective

What G-L said. And the fact that the people who choose the pots and pans are not the ones who have to wash them. ;)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 9:39AM
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momto4kids

Thanks. I was just curious. I kind of thought it was just as you said. Now I'm going to go off and dream of having someone else to wash my pots and pans!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 9:58AM
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jessyf

Ya got four kids. Train 'em. (darfc)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 2:23PM
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boba

Dishwashers are not good for non-stick pans, they tend to remove a thin layer of Teflon. Chefs use Teflon pans if they do not have to carmelize meat etc., It's very difficult to carmelize anything in a Teflon pan. Chefs of old never used microwaves, today they are readily used both in restaurants and especially at home with no ill effects. There's too much paranoia, remember "No one leaves this Earth alive". Also, we are living longer with all the pollution, ozone layer depletion, mercury in fish, toxic water, blah, blah, blah.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 12:51PM
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deanb

Anthony Bourdain recommends in his book "Kitchen Confidential" that you have at least one non-stick pan for things like delicate fish filets. I loaned the book to someone, I can't remember who, so I can't quote him but I think he was talking about commercial kitchens as well as home.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 9:11AM
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gardenlad

I keep hearing that sort of advice. Usually it's to have one non-stick to cook eggs. This is the first time I've heard it for fish.

But I don't understand it in either case. I use my stainless or cast iron for both, and have never had either of them stick.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 9:22AM
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lindac

A non stick pan allows you to cook your fish or chicken with less fat...
Pro chefs also use aluminum pans/skillets.
My new favorite "fry an egg" pan is a commercial aluminum 8 inch, long handled non-stick coated and silicone covered handl pan....with sloping sides that allows me to flip an egg or jump some sliced mushrooms with ease!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 11:06AM
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gardenlad

>A non stick pan allows you to cook your fish or chicken with less fat... I dunno, Linda. Years back, when I used non-stick, I still used about the same amount of oil/butter most times.

Creating a non-stick coating is just one of oil's purposes. It also adds flavor, creates a finish (have you ever really tried to brown---or even sear---something in a non-stick pan without oiling it?), and in other ways contributes to the final dish.

If somebody wants a non-stick pan, that's their business. But for me, their many drawbacks just aren't worth their dubious benefits.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 12:48PM
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lloyd_2live4_com

High volume professional kitchens only use nonstick for specific situations and that is uncommon. Nonstick pans *always* lose their nonstick properties. The coating flakes off into the food and it is just bad.

However, that is not all that there is to this question. The question asked if they use them, not if they use them primarily in high volume kitchens. They do use them for small preparations. Note cooking shows. In them, they use nonstick almost exclusively. Julia Child was a staunch advocate of them as well.

So, the answer is the higher the volume of cooking, the less they are used. But for normal home use, it is preferred.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:39PM
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johnliu_gw

I recall when Cooks Illustrated tested non-stick pans, the pans lost their ''non-stick'' quality after a number of uses. That number (which I don't recall, varied by brand) was large enough that a home cook might not be bothered, but was small enough that a restaurant chef who might make 100 omelettes per day would soon be cooking with sticky non-stick. Plus, most restaurants are not that concerned with minimizing the amount of oil used. I don't usually care for non-stick pans but do own one, for crepes.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 8:32AM
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arley_gw

Julia Child liked them for steaks and for omelettes; I for one like cast iron for steaks, but do keep a few nonstick pans around for eggy stuff.

Jacques Pepin used them as well.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 9:46AM
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