This One Tool Improved My Cooking

HexClad nonstick hybrid wok

This One Tool Improved My Cooking

I’ve made nearly every quarantine meal in this pan

It started, like so many things in my life right now, on Instagram. I was scrolling through cooking videos, trying to find easy but exciting things to cook, when I noticed a cool looking pan. The inside had a honeycomb pattern and it was being used to sear a piece of meat. A quick scan of the captions and hashtags lead me to HexClad. Ever heard of it? I hadn't either. But I wasn't—well, I'm not—much of a cook.

In fact, before the pandemic, anything cooked in my kitchen would have been embarrassingly basic. But not anymore. Why? Because I invested in this one pan. And by invest, I mean upgraded from the tattered skillet with a loose handle I'd been cooking with for far too long. And by pan, I really mean wok.

But let's go back a few steps. Of course, there are plenty of options when you want to purchase cookware. Cast iron is classic. And stainless steel is sexy. But they always seem better suited to serious cooks. I need a nonstick pan. One that guarantees mess-free scrambled eggs, the easiest of grilled cheeses and something to cook meatballs in. But, of course, for all their promises, most non-stick pans have their limitations.

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HexClad nonstick surface
HexClad nonstick surface

Not this one. No, this is nonstick without using Teflon—which is why it's become a favorite among chefs, including Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of LA's Jon & Vinny's. Instead, it utilizes a try-ply stainless steel with an aluminum middle layer to deliver consistent heat (on gas, electric and induction stoves). The patented laser-etched hexagon surface creates a series of peaks and valleys, which prevents sticking or damage to the pan but allows for restaurant-quality results. That unique texture also helps prevent hot spots, so everything cooks evenly.

What's more, this thing is virtually indestructible: Even metal utensils won't scratch it. Plus, it's dishwasher safe (because, really, who's hand washing?) and oven safe up to 500 degrees. Meaning you can sear a steak and finish it in the oven or sauté up some pasta and veggies and then bake a layer of cheese on top.

HexClad wok with food
HexClad wok with food

That's what I do. As well as a range of stir-fries. Because even though the brand sells a range of different pots and pans, I've found that all I really need is the wok. Unlike a lot of cumbersome woks, this 12-inch size fits perfectly on your burner and is deep enough to hold a lot of food. The bottom is flat so you can do a lot of what you'd do in a normal pan (like sear meat, roast a chicken or make risotto), but the walls are curved enough to get some serious air when you flick your wrist for a chef-style pan toss.

Since it never lets me down, I'm more confident about trying new things. And I've found that the more you experiment when you cook, the better you get. The better you get, the more you enjoy the process of cooking and eating. Now, a year into cooking for myself, I couldn't imagine going back to the rudimentary stuff I was heating up on that old ratty pan.

$199 / $179 by HexClad

HexClad Nonstick Hybrid Wok

FYI

A DuPont chemical scientist trying to create a new refrigerant in 1938 accidentally invented the compound patented as Teflon. In 1954, they discovered it could be used for nonstick cookware.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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