Like music in the kitchen
They say a bad workman blames his tools, but the truth is poor quality cookware can make you feel like you’re cooking with one arm tied behind your back. Anyone who loves being in the kitchen will know that the cookware you use is just as personal to you as an instrument is to a musician. My entire career has been based around figuring this out and choosing the right instruments, and finally I can share a pan that I feel has my grip, a pot that lifts and cleans like heaven, and a non stick pan that understand how precious my ingredients are.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – What are the different cookware materials and what are they suited for?
Ceramic and glass
Cookware made from glass or ceramic responds really well to oven baking and is ideal for dishes that require slow and even heating like a casserole, bobotie or pasta bake.
A classic preference (and my choice for the JAN Homeware Collection) stainless steel is beloved for its timelessness and extreme durability. An added benefit is that it’s usually dishwasher safe! Stainless steel quickly adapts to temperature change making it perfect for stove top cooking.
Uncoated Cast Iron
Able to withstand extreme heat, and retain heat when temperatures are reduced, cast iron is a firm favourite for one-pot and rapidly cooked meals like meat roasts.
Enamel Coated Cast Iron
This option of cast iron is popular for its versatility, heating evenly and retaining heat from stove top to oven, perfect for baking and stewing. Enamel coated cast iron is also the easiest material to clean.
Yes, cooking surfaces do affect the efficiency of your cookware
It’s important to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your cookware and a big part of that is making sure it is well suited to the cooking surfaces in your kitchen.
Great for stages of load shedding, gas stoves are suited to most pots and pans but as a general rule thicker pans like cast iron or stainless steel retain heat so will take longer to heat up or bring to boil than a thinner option, like copper or aluminium.
Almost all materials are suitable for an electric stove where flat bottom cookware is preferable to ensure even cooking.
Most pots and pans are compliant but you should avoid copper or products with a copper base as they can leave a stain on the stove if over-heated. Again, a flat bottom pan will be best suited to ensure contact with the ceramic plate and even heat distribution while cooking.
Induction cooking is done with the direct induction heating of pots and pans rather than indirect thermal conduction like older stove tops.
Cast iron, enamel coated cast iron, and most types of stainless steel cookware are induction compatible. (If you have an induction stove do not choose steel ware that has a high nickel percentage as it can affect the magnetic element of the stove top).
Aluminium, copper and glass cookware won’t work unless they have been specifically modified for induction cooking.
Halogen stoves and hobs use infrared light to generate heat at a faster rate than a regular stove. (The heat generated is similar to a gas stove, but is powered by electricity).
Some pots and pans might not work optimally unless they’ve been specifically modified for halogen cooking. Check the packaging of your cookware to ensure it is compliant if you have a Halogen stove top.
Your cookware should suit your lifestyle
Make your life easier and kitchen more organised by asking the following questions before you purchase your cookware:
Is it dishwasher-safe? The JAN Homeware Collection is made from stainless steel meaning it is not only extremely durable, and beautiful to look at, but also a great material to clean after cooking. The collection is also entirely dishwasher safe so you have one less thing to worry about for the post-dinner clean up.
What shape is it? For example, look for a flat based pan if you’re using an electric, ceramic or halogen stove to ensure even heat distribution throughout.
Is it non-stick? Cut down on cleaning time with cookware that boasts a non-stick surface, like the JAN Honeycomb Frying Pan. Meticulously crafted using a micro-etching process that covers the pan in a honeycomb texture that is made to last, the pan has a completely non-stick surface for even the trickiest, or stickiest, of dishes.
Is it oven-safe? To release all of the flavour and to efficiently make use of your cooking time, some dishes like pork chops, seared salmon or baked vegetables benefit from a quick flash in the pan before being popped in the oven. Where possible look for multi-purpose cookware that can go from the stove top to the oven, just like the Jan Homeware Collection which is both oven and dishwasher safe.
After years of flashing a flame in a pan, broiling up a bobotie and creating the crêpes of my dreams, the JAN Cookware Range finally ticks all of my requirements as a professional chef while still looking beautiful enough for your home kitchen.