Choosing the Right Pan: Tips for Chef
When you visit the cookware section of the store, you’ll find different types of pans. Some come in various colors and designs, while others are nonstick pans or Saute pans. You’ll also find stock pots, a casserole dish, and aluminum cookware. With this wide selection of pans available, it may be difficult to find the best option for your kitchen as a chef. We will go over the various types of pans and their preferred uses to give you a head start.
What Are the Different Types of Pans?
Each pan in the kitchen has a unique purpose: to make the cooking process smoother. Some are more suitable for everyday cooking, while others are best for induction cooking. Here are some types of pans for cooking.
The skillet is an excellent cookware material for daily use. This all-purpose cookware is versatile and essential for any chef's kitchen. You can use it to fry eggs, grill chicken, or even make skillet cake. It comes in different materials, such as cast iron, and even has an enameled cast iron design.
The wok is another versatile cookware and it can be used for a wide range of dishes. Wok is perfect for stir fry dishes because of the wide edges. It is also deep enough to be used for noodles and soup. Steel is the most common cookware material for making wok stir fry pans.
The saucepan is one of the best cookware materials for your kitchen. It is used to simmer liquids as it cooks food evenly. These pans are also oven safe since they do well at high temperatures. They often come in cookware sets, and some have nonstick properties.
The sauté pan is often confused with the saucepan, but they are quite different. This pan is for high heat cooking, where you need to flip the food and not just simmer it. It is designed with a low lip to make flipping easier for the chef.
Pan Materials for Various Purposes
Now that we have gone over the categories of pans you’ll need, here is a deeper dive into the materials used for them and their purposes.
Cast Iron (Pros & Cons)
Cast iron is one of the most popular fry pan on the market. You can find cast iron skillet and other cast iron frying pans. It may be more expensive than others on the list, but there’s a good reason.
- Cast iron has a nonstick surface without any nonstick coating that can be toxic if exposed to excess heat.
- Cast iron cookware is extremely durable and can be passed down from generation to generation.
- Enameled cast iron cookware often has perfect heat distribution, so you’ll get the best results for every meal.
- Cast iron skillets are versatile, making them great for cooking delicate foods, vegetables, meat, burgers, and even eggs.
- Cast iron frying pans are heavy, so you’ll need a lot of effort to drain them if needed.
- Cast iron pans also need more effort when it comes to care. You must season your cast iron pan regularly with oil to maintain nonstick coatings.
- Also, you need to clean the cast iron skillet with care and avoid abrasive cleaners.
- You cannot use the cast iron skillet to cook acidic foods.
Stainless Steel (Pros & Cons)
The stainless steel cookware is another popular cooking and roasting pan for chefs. This stainless steel frying pan is not a nonstick cookware like the others above. Still it is an essential piece of cookware for any kitchen.
- The stainless steel pan is durable and lasts a long time with proper care.
- Stainless steel pans are also affordable compared to others on the list.
- Unlike other cookware brands, stainless steel is dishwasher friendly.
- Stainless steel is oven friendly as well. You can shove it in the oven if it doesn’t have rubber handles.
- Some cheap stainless steel pans struggle to retain heat, and this leads to warping of the pan and its handles.
- Stainless steel cookware are not nonstick pans. This restricts the number of foods you can cook with the pan.
- You cannot use a stainless steel fry pan for slow cooking or as roasting pans.
Copper (Pros & Cons)
These types of pans stand out because they are perfect conductors of heat. Copper cookware has great heat distribution and is also a nonstick pan. However, it has some drawbacks, even for an experienced chef.
- Copper cookware is mostly well-designed and aesthetically pleasing. The sauce pan fits perfectly in a beautiful kitchen.
- The heat distribution and retention of this cookware material are second to none.
- Like cast iron, this cookware material is reactive. If you cook acidic foods on the cookware material, it will likely have a metallic taste, which ruins the food.
- Copper grill pans can discolor some foods and make them look unpleasant.
- The price of the cookware material is higher than most on this list.
- Copper cookware materials need lots of maintenance, from cleaning to polishing, to help them maintain their beautiful appearance.
Non-Stick (Pros & Cons)
Nonstick cookware is one of the best types of pans for all uses. It is easy to use but is not entirely without any drawbacks.
- The non stick pan is great for slow cooking and produces excellent results.
- This slow cooking pan is also affordable compared to the cast iron fry pan.
- It is easy to handle and maintain.
- The Teflon coating in the nonstick cookware can be toxic.
- You cannot use high heat with the nonstick cookware because it releases forever chemicals that can be dangerous.
- Non stick stir fry pans are not good induction cooktops and may not cook food evenly.
- Except you get high quality nonstick cookware, it may not last very long. Soon, the coating wears off.
Maintaining Your Cookware Sets and Pans
There are a few things you can do to maintain your cookware sets in your kitchen.
- For both pots and pans, avoid leaving them overnight with dirt in them. If they are dishwasher safe, use it.
- Most nonstick cookware requires plastic spoons as opposed to iron because it can scratch easily.
- Don’t soak stainless steel pans because they can rust.
- Enameled cast iron pots are not dishwasher safe.
- Stainless steel may not do well with excess heat and may even start to bend.
- Dry your stainless steel and enameled cast iron pots thoroughly before storing them.
- To season your enameled cast iron pans, apply oil inside and outside the pan and place it on the stove at up to 500 degrees F.
- Treat any burns on your stainless steel and cast iron pans immediately so they don’t stick.
- Use sauté pans for the right purpose to avoid damaging them.
As a chef, there are many types of pans at your disposal. If you have lots of experience, a cast iron Dutch oven may be a good option. However, you need to be ready to care for the cast iron material by seasoning it often. Cast iron isn’t the only pan that needs extra care. With a copper pan, you must be wary of acidic foods to avoid a metallic taste in the food.
Stainless steel also has its perks, which include affordability, but it may not be as durable as the cast iron option above. The best option for you depends on what you’re looking for. So consider features like high heat tolerance, cookware materials, cooking style, oven safe, and whether it has tall sides.
Elevate your culinary style with our premium chef apparel collection! Discover the perfect blend of comfort and sophistication at Everyday Uniforms. Our extensive range features top-notch chef pants for men and chef pants for women, meticulously crafted for durability and style. Dive into the culinary world with confidence in our tailored men's chef jackets and women's chef jackets, designed for ultimate performance in the kitchen. Whether you're a professional chef or a home cooking enthusiast, our outfits seamlessly marry fashion and function. Unleash your culinary prowess with attire that matches your skill—shop now and redefine your kitchen experience with Everyday Uniforms!