Stratospherically expensive All-Clad pots are among the most coveted cooking equipment on the planet, and for good reason: they last forever! Here’s how to slice their price.
SHOP WISE | My family and I have been in a horribly abusive relationship with our All-Clad Master Chef pots and pans (pictured below) every day for the past 15 years. Poor things! We cook on an open burner gas range and routinely scorch their bottoms; we’ve also allowed them to cook dry and blacken more times than we’d care to mention (gotta love built-in smoke detectors).
When we’re not busy subjecting our aluminum-alloy-clad collection to trial by fire, we’re absentmindedly popping it in the dishwasher, something the manufacturer cautions against because aluminum alloy will discolour; hey, we can vouch for that.
But you know what? Over all these years, our All-Clad has continued to perform beautifully—and spiff up like new whenever we need it to using ultra-fine Scotch Brite hand pads (they must be ultra-fine grade). These pots are going to last my lifetime—and probably that of my kids’.
Master Chef (MC2) pots are All-Clad’s entry level line (I prefer their “classically commercial” look), but they’re still shockingly expensive. An All-Clad sauté pan with lid, for example, can range anywhere from $175 to $600.
Where To Find All-Clad For Less
One way around All Clad’s stratospherically high prices is to shop at Cookware & More, an online outlet that sells full warranty AC irregulars (a.k.a. seconds with miniscule imperfections) at seriously discounted prices. Visit cookwarenmore.com. Another is to purchase Tramontina cookware.
Try Tramontina TriPly
In 2009, highly regarded Cook’s Illustrated rated Tramontina 18/10 stainless steel triply-clad cookware comparable to AC in most every respect except pot size (Tramontina’s are slightly smaller) and price (Tramontina’s eight-piece cookware set is an unbelievably low $149 at Walmart). I have handled this cookware and like it a lot. And, as much as I’d prefer never to shop at Walmart, if I didn’t already own some All-Clad, I’d give Tramontina a shot. Let’s see, $28 for a Tramontina sauce pot with lid (pictured directly above) on walmart.com versus $137 for the All-Clad version on williams-sonoma.com. —C. Rule
To read the Cook’s Illustrated Tramontina review, visit cooksillustrated.com, get a free day pass and search for cookware reviews. For more on All-Clad, visit www.all-clad.ca. Visit Cookware & More at cookwarenmore.com. For more on Tramontina, visit tramontina.com. Walmart in Bellingham carries Tramontina 18/10 stainless steel triply-clad cookware sets; visit www.walmart.com. For a good comparison of the heat distribution on All-Clad and Tramontina skillets, visit seriouseats.com.
Photos, top to bottom: All-Clad, All-Clad, Walmart