If you want to invest in some new pans for your kitchen, you may wonder what professional chefs use. A recipe and skills are not the only factors that influence the dish’s quality. Professional chefs, including Michelin chefs, greatly depend on their cookware to make excellent meals.
Chefs require high-quality, impact-resistant, durable pans that withstand rough and constant use with minimum care and maintenance. They use a variety of pans and prefer stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel, ceramic and cast-iron pans.
They are best for professional use due to their durability and construction quality. The article below explores the type of pans professional chefs use and help you invest wisely in cookware that will last.
Carbon steel pans
Although new in professional kitchens, the French swear by carbon steel pans to handle high temperatures well. Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron and more durable. These pans are also non-stick but overparticular about the foods you can cook on them.
For instance, you cannot expose them too acidic dishes for too long such as tomato or lemon-based dishes.
However, Michelin chefs love to use them to make multiple dishes at once.
Stainless steel pans
Stainless steel pans are a common favorite for professional cooking. They are almost indestructible since they can withstand high heat and do not rust. They are also very easy to clean and dishwasher safe, making them great for professional cooking and restaurants.
In addition, stainless steel pans are great for cooking various dishes since stainless steel is an inert material or chemically inactive.
Professional and Michelin chefs prefer to cook sauces and sauteing with stainless steel pans. However, they do not use them for deep frying. They also go for thicker stainless steel pans over lighter ones for durability. The thicker the base, the safer it is since they are less prone to overheating and warping.
The drawback is that stainless steel creates heat spots and may not heat food evenly and burn it. It is also not non-stick. Thankfully, most professional cookware brands add aluminum and copper layers to their stainless steel pans, making the base sturdier and improving its heat tolerance.
Ceramic cookware is not completely ceramic. Instead, they are metal pans coated with several layers of ceramic. Besides being a natural non-stick material, professional chefs also use ceramic pans for their durability. Unfortunately, this ceramic layer degrades over time, losing its non-stick properties.
Ceramic pans withstand high heat, making them great for various cooking tasks. In addition, it is easy to hand clean and quite long-lasting. You should also avoid using metal utensils with ceramic cookware to avoid scratching the ceramic coating. Instead, use wood, nylon, and silicone utensils.
Fun tip; Masterchef uses ceramic pans.
Cast iron pans are heavy, tolerate high heat, and distribute heat evenly, hence a great choice for efficient cooking; with proper care, they can last a long time.
Unfortunately, cast iron cookware rust when not dried well, so professional chefs do not use them extensively in restaurant kitchens. Instead, most pros use them for frying eggs and making fried rice, but we recommend them for domestic use due to their need for maintenance.
Aluminum pans are one of the most commonly used cookware in professional kitchens. It is an excellent heat conductor, hence cooks food evenly and quickly. It is also very lightweight; professional chefs can handle and maneuver them easily.
Furthermore, they are affordable, hence great for professional kitchens which experience heavy wear. Enamel-coated or anodized aluminum pans are more resilient and visually appealing than plain aluminum pans.
The downside of using aluminum pans is they react to alkaline or acidic food, making them darken in color and form pits when used for a long time. Uncoated aluminum also allows food to stick to it badly.
Most professional chefs rarely use copper cookware in restaurants. They are quite pricey, but Michelin chefs and professional chefs agree that they are worth investment. They are great for preparing delicate sauces, lean meats, or veggies, particularly since they have excellent heat conductivity and spread heat more evenly than traditional pans. This also reduces the risk of scorching as it regulates its temperature more easily.
Copper cookware is also easy to clean and doesn’t require re-seasoning like cast iron. They are resistant to corrosion and quite appealing in appearance.
Unfortunately, the downside to copper if a highly reactive metal and prone to releasing toxic metals into your food. As a solution, copper cookware brands line their pots and pans with either tin or stainless steel.
Tin is impressively non-stick, but it has a very low melting point of around 230 degrees Celsius, the reason why tin-lined copper must never be pre-heated. They are also unsuitable for high-heat sizzling and searing. Tin is also soft and wears down easily from harsh dish soaps and metal scourers, losing its luster and efficacy.
On the other hand, stainless steel is a better coating for copper cookware due to its high durability. However, your food can easily get stuck on the coating.
Another downside to copper cookware is they are not dishwasher safe. If you invest in copper cookware, go for thicker, stainless steel, or aluminum-lined copper pans, as they are more stable and sturdier.
Most chefs do not use non-stick pans in professional kitchens. Other restaurants keep a few non-stick pans for egg dishes and delicate fish. But the temperatures and speed that chefs work at a restaurant kitchen are not suitable for non-stick coatings.
However, most professional home chefs use non-stick pans and produce excellent dishes. Non-stick pans are highly fragile. You should only use them on electric hobs with wood or silicone spatulas, but most pros use gas hobs with no time to select what spatula they use. Although some can withstand the oven, most non-stick coatings will peel at temperatures that professional chefs use.
Alternatively, professional chefs use different non-stick pans, such as well-seasoned cast iron, carbon steel pan, and aluminum pans with ceramic non-stick coating.
What pans do Michelin chefs use?
Michelin chefs use a vast range of pans for producing different recipes. The choice for each dish will depend on the quality of construction and material of the pan. Most top chefs swear by quality layered stainless steel cooking pans.
Others prefer premium-quality copper pans for their excellent heat conductivity and ability to stay hot for long. Some Michelin chefs like Alinea and Le Bernardin also go for carbon steel pans in very affordable price ranges.
Gordon Ramsay, a Scottish-born chef, is arguably the most famous chef globally, known for his volatile kitchen demeanor and exceptional British cuisine. He has been awarded 16 Michelin stars throughout his career, but he holds seven.
He speaks highly on the ScanPan brand and uses their cookware in his MasterClass cooking series and the All-Clad brand in his Hell’s Kitchen series. Both brands have great quality pans with thick bases that distribute heat evenly.
They make ScanPan cookware with pressure cast aluminum and a 5-layer non-stick coating to produce a harder and more durable product. These pots and pans can also handle alkaline and acidic foods.
On the other hand, All-Clad is a professional cookware brand. Their products are of stainless steel with a core layer of aluminum. The exterior steel layers enhance durability while the aluminum core conducts heat fast and evenly.
Ducasse holds 17 Michelin stars, making him the current living chef with the most Michelin stars in the world. In addition to being famous for world-class French cuisine, he is one of the few chefs who have sent food into space. Ducasse swears by De Buyer copper and stainless steel pans.
De buyer is one of the best brands for the kitchen. Their copper cookware line is high-quality for all cooker hobs, including the induction hob. These pans have a thick base that prevents scorching and excellent heat conduction for extremely even heating. Similarly, when it gets hot, it remains hot, making it brilliant for searing steaks.
Anne-Sophie is the only female chef with the most Michelin stars, holding eights across her five restaurants. Her style of cuisine is very delicate and renowned for regaining three Michelin stars for her, Maison Pic in Valence.
She vouches for the French brand Cristel for their high-quality stainless steel cookware. Most Cristel products are hybrids; the manufacturer folds a thin layer of magnetic stainless steel over the aluminum disc to make the cookware induction-friendly. The designs of their cookware also allow the food to cook evenly.
Clare is a Northern Irish chef, the first and only British woman to win three Michelin stars in the United Kingdom, and the fourth British chef in history. Gordon Ramsay made her head chef of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, inheriting the Michelin stars and maintaining them.
She is also the owner of Core by Clare Smyth in London, England. She is a gamechanger in the world of fine dining, which is male-dominated; half of her team, front of the house, and in the kitchen are female.
Although Clare speaks proudly of the KitchenAid Stand Mixers, she uses her copper pans manufactured in collaboration with Royal Crown Derby at her Core restaurant. Copper has excellent thermal conductivity, hence cooking food evenly.
But the solution is to use copper pots and pans lined with stainless steel to get great thermal conductivity, with the safety and adaptability of a non-reactive lining.
He holds 12 Michelin stars, more than any other Spanish chef. He is one of the originators of Basque modernist cuisine – fine dining with centrifuged sauces and foams.
Although he loves his sharp hand-forged Japanese knives, the pan he reaches for most is a 40-centimeter Bra induction paella pan.
It is a sturdy aluminum cast pan with a non-stick coating(Teflon-free) and notable enough to double as a serving platter. He loves using it for pan-roasting whole fish and oversize cuts of meat.
Professional and Michelin chefs curate new recipes every day; therefore, they need the perfect pan for whichever dish they make. For example, a vegetable stir fry may not cook well on the same pan as searing steak. As a result, restaurants use a variety of pans, depending on the dish.
But most professional chefs prefer stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, or ceramic cookware as they are durable, heat resistant, long-lasting, and can withstand constant use.