CopperChef's Sticky "Non-Stick" CoatingIn the interest of fairness, by buying a set of CopperChef pans, I did end up with an induction cooktop, which was major progress. Besides the cooktop, their set included both the 9.5" and 11" "Deep Square Pan," with lids and steamer baskets and some pretty useless utensils.
Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I will offer you some pictures:
|CopperChefXL 9.5" Deep Square Pan, Looking good|
|The ceramic coating comes off on the bottom, just from the cook top|
|Non-stick coating showing wear and tear in the middle|
The truth is different, in my experience, so, even though the website for the product claims expressly that you can cook in it without oil or grease, it did not work out that way in practice. For me cooking vegetables like spinach, poi leaf (Malabar spinach), or callaloo, begins with searing some onions and chilis at medium heat, dry for a few minutes until the onions begin to caramelize. Then I add some 2 ice cubes of frozen vegetable broth and add some chopped garlic, and cook that for another five minutes, before I add the vegetable. Sometimes I may first add some beans and/or some split lentils or chick peas (and more water) to make a sauce. It all depends.
In the CopperChef pan, in the center area, where the induction heat transfer occurs, the onions started baking on to the "non stick surface" right away, even the first time, and it got progressively worse. The picture above is after about 6 months of regular use. Cleaning up is becoming progressively worse. Effectively, I cannot brown the onions in this pan, I have to stop just before they caramelize, which happens to be 4 minutes on 275F and even then they start to stick. It has become a major annoyance.
Meanwhile I have to say, the 11" Deep Square Pan is very useful to me for steaming my daily bunch of kale, because the steaming tray is huge. Of course for steaming the problem with anything sticking on the non-stick coating is a non-issue. The wear and tear on the corners of the square bottom are the same - it really does seem the cooktop is that abrasive. In short, the CopperChef pans are great for boiling water, but would not count on them for challenging tasks like seriously cooking without oil... never mind what they claim.
Besides these usability problems, we had endless problems with this company just to get the shipment right. The first order had pieces missing and it took something like 10 follow-up orders to correct the first one, during which time they kept sending us the wrong replacements. It took about six months before our first shipment was complete, and by that time the 9.5" Deep Square Pan was essentially worn out.
|Scanpan 4Qt Sauce Pan|
OK, that's the latest on my adventures in plant-based cooking. Remember, the tools do make a difference in your daily routine, so while you may not necessarily need anything special to go plant-based, still, having great tools does pay dividends and make cooking more rewarding.