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School Me on Cookware & Knives

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  • Jul 12th, 2018 12:59 pm
[OP]
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Jun 12, 2010
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School Me on Cookware & Knives

Looking for some insight on setting up a kitchen in my new place. What are some brands to look out for, what products do I need (I know this is subjective - I'm a fairly novice cook, but am looking to learn and would like some quality, cost-effective gear to work with), any good deals out there?

I've seen the big cookware sets from Costco (~$200) - are these worth it? They also have the J.A.Henckel knife block set that looked enticing, but not sure if I need that comprehensive of a set nor do I know if they're good quality or not. My budget is around $300-400, and perhaps $500 max to spend on a decent set of beginner cookware for the kitchen including knives, pots, pans, etc.
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Nov 22, 2015
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wiffle wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 12:40 pm
Looking for some insight on setting up a kitchen in my new place. What are some brands to look out for, what products do I need (I know this is subjective - I'm a fairly novice cook, but am looking to learn and would like some quality, cost-effective gear to work with), any good deals out there?

I've seen the big cookware sets from Costco (~$200) - are these worth it? They also have the J.A.Henckel knife block set that looked enticing, but not sure if I need that comprehensive of a set nor do I know if they're good quality or not. My budget is around $300-400, and perhaps $500 max to spend on a decent set of beginner cookware for the kitchen including knives, pots, pans, etc.
With your budget, I'd be looking at getting the following:

Tri-ply 18/10 stainless steel cookware set (5qt Dutch oven, skillet, pots)
5 or 7qt enameled cast iron Dutch oven
Paring knife
Chef's knife
1000/4000 grit combo sharpening stone.
Bread/tomato knife (any cheap one will do)
Deal Addict
Nov 15, 2008
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Lodge Logic cast iron grill pan https://www.amazon.ca/Lodge-L8SGP3-Logi ... B0000CF66W this is for smoky grilling a chunk of protein

A 30 cm wok plus lid which can take the place of fry pan, dutch oven, stock pot, etc. Very versatile until you figure out what other pieces you might want. In the meantime you can make stir fries, eggs, soups, curry, stew, fry a chop, etc. all in the same thing. It's too big to make KD and Sidekicks and stuff like that; you need a 3 qt pot for that. Anyway, cheap wok, here's one for $44.99 today only that would work http://www.thebay.com/webapp/wcs/stores ... 272993--24
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Feb 6, 2003
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Get cookware that is 3/5-ply or clad, which means that there is copper/aluminum inside (stainless steel alone is a terrible heat conductor). Make sure it goes all the way up the edges rather tapering off at the top or just having a thick plate soldered to the bottom. Thicker is better as it's more resistant to warping and thus developing cold/hot spots. Better to get a whole set as buying them individually is super expensive. A good set will last you a lifetime. I picked up a $200 Paderno set from Costco 5 years ago and it's still fantastic.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
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IMO some good advice in this thread thus far

Pots & Pans ... another vote for Paderno (Made here in Canada) or Lagostina. You can buy open stock individual pieces or a full set. Sets go on sale often at Cdn Tire. Individual pieces you’ll find on line or odds & ends at the likes of Winners / Home Sense.

If you don’t want to commit to a full set right now... figure out which one you are aiming towards, and just buy pieces that will complement it / add to it... not necessarily duplicate.

So a pasta pot with strainer (pot alone can double for a soup pot for now)
A double boiler with insert (bottom can double as a bigger sauce pan for now)
A small sauce pan (every kitchen needs more than one of these any how).

Non Stick - Everyone needs one non stick frypan. Perfect for Breakfast... buy big enough to do the likes of Eggs, Omlets, Bacon, French Toast or Pancakes. You’ll find you’ll also use it for Pork Chops or Veal Scalopinni.

Dutch Oven... look for enamel on Cast Iron. There are plenty of big names... Lagostina, Paderno, Cuisinart, Martha Stewart, Emile Henry, Le Creuset. Honestly, they are all about the same. Buy what your budget / style allows. We have 2 (small & large) Kitchenaid brand that we picked up at Cdn Tire for less than one of the fancier imported name brands. Works exactly the same. Perfect for stews and braised meats. Start stovetop and transfer to the oven to finish low & slow.

Ovenware ... Dishes that are oven safe... that also go in the microwave, freezer & dishwasher (cannot usually be used stove top). And can still look stylish on the table. Think Caseroles, Lasagna Pans, Pie Plates etc. Big names here tend to be Corningware & Pyrex. Buy them as you need them. Again Cdn Tire is a good source.

Knives etc ... The basics are a paring knife (or 2 or 3). A Tomato knife. A medium Chefs knife for chopping etc. A bread knife. And a pair of kitchen shears (good for opening food pkgs, cutting raw items, deboning chicken etc). Add a Knife Steel or Stone, and you are all set.

You can buy a small knife set on sale complete with block (ie Henckels). Or to start just pick up individual items at Cdn Tire, Winners / Home Sense etc. Ikea Marketplace is also a good spot to get knives and cutting boards (colour code their useage).

To complete your start up kitchen, you’ll probably also want to add...
Dry Measuring Spoons & Cups - Liquid Measure Cups - A Utensil Set (Flipper, Slotted Spoon, Reg Spoon) - a Cheese Grater - A Sieve / Strainer - and a Salad Spinner

Well thought out decent basics will last you years / decades... add to them over time as your skills improve and money allows.
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Aug 16, 2010
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I've been cooking for years and 95% of my stovetop cooking is spread between 2 saute pans (1 12", 1 8") and 3 sauce pans (various sizes). IMO, those big cookware sets are a waste of space (though 200 is very cheap for a cookware set). I'm partial to Heritage Infusio 2.0 and Heritage The Rock pans which are capable of induction cooking as well. https://www.starfrit.com/en/kitchen/coo ... qpm1ehvmp0

That same 95% of my cooking includes one 8" chef's knife - the Global G-2. https://www.williamsfoodequipment.com/g ... w0QAvD_BwE
I do have a knife set but the vast majority of my knife work is with the chef's knife.

At the end of the day, I think you can spend MUCH less than $500 for cookware that will get you through most jobs by picking and choosing high quality pieces instead of buying sets.

Side note. Lots of people like cast iron pans and they are great for cooking. But I've always felt they're way too heavy for me so I never used them.
Last edited by DiceMan on Jul 10th, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Feb 8, 2015
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Agree with Diceman. Have been using a Global G2 last 2 months and am impressed. Versatile, balanced, razor sharp and sharpens up quick and easy with the waterwheel sharpener that was included. Bought it on sale $80 incl. sharpener. https://www.amazon.ca/Global-2-Piece-Kn ... =global+g2
Pans I prefer the cast iron ones. Great as long as they're properly cared for and maintained.

Have owned all sorts of pots, pans and knives and found most items ended up sitting in the drawer or cupboards. Global is the only knife I use cuz it works so well.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
As said, you generally don't need a set. You'll find you only need and use a few pieces. Yes, some times you need other ones but buy those as you find a real need for them.

I can get by on a couple of knives in general. No need for something like this

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Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
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magoot wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 4:39 pm
Agree with Diceman. Have been using a Global G2 last 2 months and am impressed. Versatile, balanced, razor sharp and sharpens up quick and easy with the waterwheel sharpener that was included. Bought it on sale $80 incl. sharpener. https://www.amazon.ca/Global-2-Piece-Kn ... =global+g2
Wow, you got your Global at a good price. I paid over a hundred bux for mine years ago and didn't get any sharpener!!! It did prompt me to get an expensive EdgePro sharpener which gives me a shave-ready razor edge, though.
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A chef made a recommendation to me once - don't pretend to be a professional. Victorinox makes great knives and their prices are extremely reasonable. Our Victorinox knives are great (to us) and a fraction of the price that most knives run.
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TrevorK wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 10:12 pm
A chef made a recommendation to me once - don't pretend to be a professional. Victorinox makes great knives and their prices are extremely reasonable. Our Victorinox knives are great (to us) and a fraction of the price that most knives run.
I will also give an up vote to Victorinox knives. I got one for my wife and she loves it. I just need to get better at sharpening it. There is a Victorinox knife store in Niagara Falls New York that actually had the knifes cheaper than they are on Amazon.
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Jul 7, 2017
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Another +1 for Victorinox (also (co)labelled as Forschner) - I have 4 larger ones in my collection of which the smallest - an old wood-handled one found in a thrift shop - is my favorite. The steel is softer than J.A. Henckels and Wüsthof Dreizack so easier to sharpen/keep sharp.

To OP: One thing you'll need to do is to take care of your knives. Treat the edge gently. Never wash in a dishwasher. Wash by hand and dry immediately. Use a steel before each use.
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
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DiceMan wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 9:32 pm
Wow, you got your Global at a good price. I paid over a hundred bux for mine years ago and didn't get any sharpener!!! It did prompt me to get an expensive EdgePro sharpener which gives me a shave-ready razor edge, though.
I was lucky thanks to RFD. Knife works really well but am most impressed with the G2 sharpener. Previously used stone and steel...using G2 sharpener to a paper cutting edge takes about 1 minute.
Thanks to OP http://forums.redflagdeals.com/amazon-c ... #p29314023
Newbie
May 22, 2009
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Capital City
Easier to save money on knives with a decent sharpener and a bit of weekly upkeep. I've found we use our stainless steel pots and skillets a lot more than the cast iron ones. Don't spend a ton on non-stick, none of them last more than a few years, ceramic wears down even more quickly. Ikea does a lot of things well and some things not well, but it takes time to know for yourself what items you want to be really good, and what you can just accept.

We've got lagostina pots and pans, lodge cast iron, tramontina non-stick, staub enameled cast iron and victorinox knives. I can vouch that all of these things are good, and may be overkill in all reality.

It's weird buying stuff that lasts forever. It's easy to assume that whatever I'm buying now will be better in a couple years, especially for electronics, but also for almost everything out there. Then I get some stainless steel pots and a cast iron skillet and it's like, take care of this and you'll have it in 40 years. Hard to state how removed I am from looking for that in a product.
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Oct 26, 2002
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I have to agree with the global knives. Over the last few years I've added 4 to my kitchen and love each one. Costco has a couple of sets at reasonable prices. My main one is the 7" Santoku and I use it daily for everything. The pairing comes in handy for somethings and I have a couple other specialty ones for certain things. Any cheap bread knife will get the job done. https://www.costco.ca/CatalogSearch?key ... bal+knives

Also have a set of Kirkland ss cookware that is great, its like new still after years of use. And the Rock, I have a set of 2 that I use for most of my frying, the heavier, higher quality set from Costco. They are much better than the one I bought at Can Tire.

You can easily do all that on your budget.
That's my 2cents worth

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