WHAT PANS DO PROFESSIONAL CHEFS USE? The equipment chefs use in the professional cooking world endures extensive wear and tear.
Amongst the various cooking utensils, non-stick pans are infamous for their delicate coating and inability to handle high heat.
Therefore, one may question whether professional chefs use non-stick pans.
The reality is that most professional chefs opt for materials such as cast iron, aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel over non-stick pans.
These materials are more durable and better equipped to handle continuous and heavy usage.
However, there are instances where chefs prefer non-stick pans for certain ingredients like eggs or fish.
It’s important to note that some well-known chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay, prefer specific non-stick brands like ScanPan and Hexclad.
These brands have been designed to meet the demands of professional chefs and offer superior functionality and features.
Nevertheless, there are several reasons why non-stick pans are not the first choice in professional kitchens.
Their sensitivity to high heat makes them prone to scratching, warping, and releasing harmful fumes. Additionally, the non-stick coating can wear off quickly and contaminate cooked food.
What Is The Reason That Professional Chefs Steer Clear Of Using Non-Stick Pans? Top of Form
Pans are a crucial component in a professional chef’s culinary toolkit, serving a variety of functions, including frying, sautéing, sauce-making, and dessert preparation.
Although non-stick pans are prevalent in home kitchens, they are less frequently utilized in professional kitchens for various reasons.
There are several reasons why non-stick pans are not preferred in professional kitchens.
Firstly, non-stick pans have a shorter lifespan when compared to other pans made of materials such as stainless steel or cast iron.
This is because non-stick pans have a coating that can wear off quickly when exposed to high temperatures and abrasive utensils.
Secondly, non-stick pans and other types of pans cannot withstand high temperatures.
This limits the types of dishes prepared in non-stick pans, particularly those that require high heat, such as searing or blackening.
Lastly, using non-stick pans in professional kitchens may pose a health risk because the non-stick coating can break down and release harmful chemicals into the food.
The Durability Of Non-Stick Pans Is Questionable
Non-stick pans are generally not built to withstand heavy use, as the non-stick coating is typically delicate and prone to deteriorate at high temperatures.
Therefore, subjecting these pans to extended periods of heat is not recommended, as the non-stick surface can break down and become ineffective.
Professional chefs, who often cook at higher temperatures and with more frequency than the average home cook, require cookware that can withstand their rigorous cooking needs.
Delicate non-stick pans are only sometimes suitable for their cooking requirements, as they are prone to damage during cooking and cleaning.
Abrasive cleaners can easily dislodge the non-stick coating, rendering the pan useless.
As a result, chefs may find it more practical to invest in more durable and reliable cookware that can withstand the rigors of professional cooking rather than having to replace several non-stick pans each time they become damaged.
Non-Stick Pans Don’t Produce Fond
Fond is a thick, syrupy brown glaze or crust that develops at the bottom of a cooking pan after prolonged exposure to heat.
This residue results from the sugars in the food breaking down and sticking together.
If the cooking temperature is high enough, this residue caramelizes into delicious brown bits that add a unique and distinctly nutty flavor.
It is worth noting that non-stick pans cannot form fond as they cannot reach the high temperatures needed for the sugars to break down.
This ultimately leads to a reduction in the flavor and overall appeal of the food being prepared.
Despite this, some chefs prefer to use non-stick pans for specific tasks. For instance, they may use a non-stick pan for cooking delicate eggs that break easily.
Similarly, fish can stick to a pan and lose its skin if not well-seasoned.
It’s important to mention that professional kitchens often use high-quality non-stick pans made by internationally acclaimed brands like ScanPan and Hexclad, which invest a lot of research and planning into their non-stick cookware.
These pans are strong, sturdy, and can withstand heavy use without losing their non-stick properties.
When used in cooking, the food prepared in them is as flavorful as that cooked in other pans.
Using Metal Utensils With Non-Stick Pans Is Not Recommended
Non-stick pans are known for their convenience and ease of use but have significant drawbacks. The delicate surface of these pans is vulnerable to scratches and dents, which can be a big problem.
When the PFOA or Teflon coating is scratched, it releases harmful toxins into the food, posing a risk to human health.
As a result, non-stick pans require careful handling and should be kept away from metal spoons, tongs, and spatulas.
However, this can be a significant challenge in a professional kitchen where chefs need more time to handle things carefully.
They require cookware that can withstand rough use without compromising the quality of the food.
This is why chefs prefer cookware made of hard materials such as cast iron and carbon steel.
These materials can withstand rough use and do not release harmful toxins into the food.
In fact, with proper seasoning and continuous use, these pans develop a natural non-stick herb that works just as well as non-stick coatings.
This makes them a more widely preferred option for delicate recipes.
Furthermore, chefs can use metal spatulas, tongs, and other utensils to stir ingredients in aluminum, copper, and other pans without damaging their surfaces.
This gives them greater flexibility and freedom in the kitchen without worrying about damaging their cookware.
Non-Stick Pans Can Pose A Risk To Food Safety
Non-stick coatings, regardless of the brand or type, pose a risk to food safety.
This is because when these coatings are exposed to high temperatures, they deteriorate and emit harmful chemicals that can harm one’s health.
Among the chemicals released, some are known to cause cancer, making using non-stick pans potentially dangerous to human health.
Moreover, the degradation of the non-stick coating can negatively affect the food’s quality, which is particularly concerning in professional cooking environments where the dish’s quality is of utmost importance.
Considering these drawbacks, non-stick pans may not be optimal in specific professional settings.
It is crucial to assess non-stick cookware’s potential risks and benefits before using them.
What Are Some Alternatives To Non-Stick Pans?
After discovering that professional chefs don’t commonly favor non-stick pans, it’s worth exploring alternatives.
Considering that, we’ll consider some viable replacements for these pans.
Cast Iron Pans
Most culinary experts have a cast iron pan in their cooking arsenal, owing to its exceptional functionality and valuable properties.
Cast iron pans are known for their efficient heat distribution and resistance to high temperatures. They are excellent for hot food, resulting in a deeply caramelized crust.
Preparing a cast iron pan must be seasoned with a layer of oil.
This process seasons the pan and creates a non-stick surface, allowing for the use of minimal oil while preventing food from sticking to the surface.
Cast iron pans also offer the benefit of moving directly from the stovetop to the oven, making them an excellent choice for pasta bake and frittatas.
However, these pans are notorious for their weight and difficulty in handling. They require special care during washing and storage, as exposure to moisture can lead to rust.
Rough handling can also dislodge the natural seasoning layer, thus affecting their non-stick properties.
Carbon Steel Pans
Carbon steel pans are popular in professional kitchens because they can quickly heat up and cook food thoroughly.
In comparison to cast iron pans, another popular choice, carbon steel pans, are lighter in weight and easy to handle.
Additionally, they can withstand high cooking temperatures without warping.
As you continue to use carbon steel pans, they will develop a natural layer of seasoning or black patina.
This layer provides a naturally non-stick surface, making it easy for food to come off the pan.
However, it is essential to be cautious when cleaning carbon steel pans, as using abrasive cleaners can dislodge the seasoning layer, causing them to lose their non-stick properties.
If this happens, the pans will need to be seasoned again.
One drawback of carbon steel pans is that the iron in the alloy can react with acidic ingredients.
Therefore, it is essential not to leave acidic foods in these pans too long to prevent adverse reactions.
Aluminum is famous in professional kitchens for its lightweight nature and high durability.
This metal is widely utilized because it distributes heat evenly and thoroughly, making it an ideal option for cooking various dishes.
Furthermore, aluminum pans are incredibly easy to maintain and clean, making them a convenient choice for busy chefs.
These pans heat up quickly, making them the go-to option when chefs need to prepare dishes rapidly and cannot afford to wait for cast iron or carbon steel pans to heat up.
In addition, aluminum pans are lighter than cast iron and carbon steel, making them effortless to maneuver around the kitchen.
However, it is worth noting that continuous use can cause aluminum pans to lose their original shine and develop pits when exposed to moisture or water.
This makes them unsuitable for dishwasher use.
Apart from aluminum pans, professional chefs may also experiment with different materials, such as copper, ceramic-coated, or anodized aluminum pans, for other cooking tasks.
They typically try out various materials to find their favorites for specific purposes.
Stainless Steel Pans
Stainless steel is a type of metal that is made by combining several elements, including chromium, nickel, silicon, and carbon.
It is a safe material for cooking, and its high-temperature resistance makes it ideal for use in cookware.
One of the notable features of stainless steel pans is their beautiful metallic luster, making them easy to handle.
They are also lighter than other types of cookware, such as cast iron and carbon steel pans. Due to their thickness, they are often oven-safe, which adds to their versatility.
Despite their many benefits, stainless steel pans have a drawback because they do not have natural non-stick properties.
This means that unlike other types of cookware like carbon steel and cast iron, stainless steel does not develop a patina with seasoning.
Consequently, food may stick to the base, and chefs may have to use more oil to prevent this.
Nevertheless, stainless steel pans are dishwasher-safe and resistant to rusting.
They are popularly used for preparing sauces, stir-fries, and other recipes in professional kitchens due to their durability and versatility.