Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Open Office Hours

Open Office Hours

Eric Wynkoop - Open Office Hours

This event was on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to ask anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



What are the best pots & pans to use, is non-stick good to use or parchment paper or silicon mat?

— Linda Ostrofsky


So we have what looks like a couple of questions here. and you know, I don't think there is a best category of pots and pans. That's not my opinion or I should say that I am of the opinion that there isn't a best category of pots and pans. um, you know, first of all If you want to or need to use whatever you currently have then please use whatever cookware you currently have. Okay, it's not a requirement that you go out and buy new pots and pans for our courses. However, you might be motivated to do so, okay, and you know, if a full set is within your budget then consider that if buying one piece or two pieces, you know is a better place to start. That's perfect as well. All right, you know in terms of things to consider. When you're choosing cookware, I you know ease of cleaning, you know, maybe to some extent gosh, you know, none of them are particularly difficult to clean, you know with soaking. For example, if you have some Persnickety food, that's kind of stuck to the surface. Non-stick pans certainly clean up pretty easily. Okay. However, let me share my thoughts on non-stick cookware before I proceed with the rest of my response here. And that is I don't recommend buying a full set of non-stick cookware at least based upon my experience to date and that's because non-stick cookware with use will acquire micro scratches on the surface such that over time. food begins to stick And so, you know, you'll end up having to you know, replace pans from from time to time. And so I consider a non-stick pan to be a disposable item in my kitchen and you know, I'll use a pan for as long as it lasts whether it's a couple years or or something more and then I'll replace that one or maybe two pans but all of the other pans in our cookware inventory are going to be of some other material, okay? Stainless steel pans are pretty Hardy, you know you can bang them around and you know, there's no enamel to chip off. They don't tend to dent. I mean unless you're really going to town on them, but they're pretty strong and on the inside you can scrub on them. And again, they tend to have a long shelf life. And in fact, they'll probably last you a lifetime if you buy a decent quality set, okay. You know in terms of buying a stainless steel cookware set, you know one, you know quick tests that my I try to do at the store is I'll look at the pan and where the handle attaches and I'll just kind of see if I can if I can wiggle that handle to see how you know thick and strong the gauge of the metal is and what that attachment point looks like usually they're gonna be spot welded. But if there's much movement at all, I steer clear of it because that is going to be the weak point. I have experienced in a couple of occasions spot. Well, it's breaking and also handles that have bent and so I recommend pans that are really sturdy ones that you know, if you really kind of give it a good attempt to to tweak that handle that it doesn't really give Much or at all. Okay, that's a important test for me anyway. All right. Now most all stainless steel cookware. These days will have some sort of a base layer. That's stuck to the pan. Okay, and that base layer May consist of you usually multiple layers of aluminum. And copper in order to evenly conduct heat across the bottom surface of that stainless steel pan, because otherwise stainless steel is not such a good conductor of heat. It's not really even and so that sort of a base layer is applied to even that out. Okay, you know, otherwise, you know other cookware you got Cast iron enamels or or not that works really? Well, it just takes some practice to use it really as any cookware does okay and you know, I've got friends and colleagues that don't want to use anything else but cast iron well if possible and I can appreciate that, you know, but for other Cooks it gets very heavy and that's something to think in my to keep in mind when you go to the store to look at cookware pick it up, you know with the hand that you're going to be sauteing with or otherwise moving the pan around with across the stove top and then keep in mind that once it's filled with food. It might be two three four five pounds heavier than it is in this empty State and so think about that user friendliness. Okay copper cookware looks great. It conducts heat really? Well tends to be expensive. Okay, and most of what you find today at least in the US market is lined with stainless steel because stainless steel is easy to clean. It's very hearty. If you buy the old school tin lined copper cookware, keep in mind that at some point it'll need to be retinned because the tin will wear down over time. Okay, and that's that's a process that's required really just once every many years just depends on how much cooking you do and you know, how how you handle the pants more specifically? Okay, and then there's earthenware pots. There's Stone containers and then, you know all of those work nicely as well. They just requires some practice, you know, in terms of heating and the pants. In other words not to do to quickly becomes very important when you're dealing with Earth Earth and where pans in order to minimize temperatures shock and the introduction of cracks, okay, but you know, otherwise, excuse me. second you know stainless steel pans are probably the most popular and prices really are found across the Spectrum you can Buy what I think is a pretty decent set of stainless steel cookware at Costco, you know under the Kirkland brand not their stainless not their nonstick product, but they're just plain old stainless steel probably in the neighborhood of a couple hundred bucks and you can probably you know, easily find other cookware, you know, where you add a zero to that number and essentially get the same sorts of of products. So it's really up to your budget. It's up to you know, what sort of and image that you want to or need to present to to friends and family and you know, that would dictate what you might buy. Okay, but keep that in mind, you know as you look around for cookware. Thank you.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction