So I finally want to invest in the highest quality cookware that will last a long time if taken care of. What does /ck/ use? What's top of the line for someone who cooks more than one meal a day every day. ( I put alot of wear into 100 tier cookware).
I use sitram for most of my stuff except the cast iron which is various lodge and staub.
The sitram is ok but in retrospect I should have gotten all clad. My dad has all clad and it's pretty fantastic. I only got the sitram because I wanted to be a special snowflake.
Well, there's this idea that a thick slab of aluminum with stainless lining is the best general-purpose cooking surface, I'm sure you've heard that before. Yes, there are other materials that excel at specific tasks, and if you want a good setup you want that too. Not just one type of pan. But most of your cookware should be aluminum with a stainless liner. You understand this already, I'm sure.
The thing with sitram is that the thick base doesn't extend all the way up. It's really thin metal on the sides. Which is fine for induction, but I use gas. So I get this burn ring on a lot of my pans, really infuriating especially when you're trying to make a pan sauce.
All clad has thicker sides, so although the base is a hair thinner, it's a better all around performer.
Keep in mind, a brand is just a brand, there are different lines within each brand, so don't take everything I say as gospel. Do your own research.
I don't know about "top quality", but if I had to start over, then I'd buy this equipment:
I adore that saucepan, and while I have a Zojirushi, I wish it had a steamer compartment.
Beans or curry in the pot, and rice in the rice cooker. Keeps it warm for 12 hours, and cooks all different kinds of rice. Brown rice takes a long time to cook (almost 90 minutes last time I counted), so I make enough for the entire day. White rice will cook in about 20 minutes, but I also sometimes like to make enough for the entire day and keep it warm.
The 10 inch is about $15. Large enough to sear a piece of meat. Rice and steamed vegetables on the side, of course.
Also in case you were not aware, all clad is hated by hipsters much like shun knives, because it's too popular. Hence my decision to go with sitram. Try not to let hipsters guide your decision making. Popular doesn't necessarily mean good, but it doesn't automatically mean bad either.
shop at a reputable hospitality supplier store and buy commercial grade, heavy based stainless steel, cast iron, these even if neglected don't take much to bring back to new condition if done right.
Sets usually suck for two reasons. First, you usually end up with oddball or at least non-ideal sizes. Second, different makers do different things better than others. It makes more sense to buy each type of pot/pan based on who makes the best of that type.
Personally, I use:
Cast Iron: I have some new Lodge and a couple hand-me-down Griswolds. They both work equally well.
Nonstick fry pan: Restaurant store brand like Eagleware or Tramontina. Costs a fraction of the fancy brands and is much thicker.
Stock pots or large saucepans: cheap stainless with a disc bottom. Stockpots from high end makers are expensive as hell, and you don't need the heat conduction up the sides so the cheaper ones are just as good (as long as the base is thick)
Stainless fry pan: Here's where I spend some money. Demyere, All-clad.