All-Clad frypans, $39.95 to $79.95 (on sale) at Crate & Barrel
Sure, you could knock together a meal using practically anything. But a gentleman's kitchen equipment better be functional, durable and smart. This series outlines modern classics as determined by the country's best chefs.
You're still cooking with the worn-out and bent pans from the set you got at a big box store years ago. The non-stick coating is tattered and the plastic handle's probably loose.
Upgrade to a versatile stainless steel pan. "Any pan from All-Clad is a superstar but I use the 10-inch fry pan for everything," says Kevin Callaghan, chef and owner of the popular Acme Food & Beverage Co. in Carrboro, NC. "It goes from the stovetop to the oven and back again 40 times a night and has done so for more than five years, but it still looks like new."
The pan has a superior conductive cooking surface due to the triple-ply construction of American-made metals. Pure aluminum is layered between nonreactive stainless steel for a heat diffusing base that allows ingredients to brown nicely. The three layers are bonded together in a process called cladding to guarantee a level cooking surface, eliminating buckling and preventing "hot spots" that can result in uneven cooking. That and a quality one will last you decades. If not longer.