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A few years ago, I happened to be in the kitchen during an event where none other than Thomas Keller was running the pass, conducting the orchestra of culinary professionals around him. On the night they were pushing hard to serve a multicourse menu to more than 100 people in the dining room. He wasn’t leading a crew of Per Se or French Laundry staffers, but disparate crews from around the country. As the team went to plate a course, a young cook came up to Keller with stacks of dishes. He asked her, “How many plates do you have here?” She responded, “About 25.” There was silence and a stare. Then Keller responded “24? 26?” Another more seasoned cook quickly leaned in and informed her, “You need to count them exactly.”
For Keller, when he’s cooking, precision matters. Those little details matter. The only American chef with two Michelin three-star restaurants is not about approximates, he wants definite. So it came as no surprise to me that when I tried Hestan’s new line of cookware, Thomas Keller Insignia, it was outstanding.
One way I put the sauté pan through the paces was cooking mushrooms. With their high water content, my collection of fungi can tend to steam instead of brown. But with the pan’s excellent conductivity—because of its tri-ply stainless steel construction—it was able to apply even high heat to the entire surface of the pan to promote better browning. For meat, I was able to get a hard, even sear as well, outperforming other brands I currently have at my disposal. And when it came time to clean, there was another little detail that came in handy: The rivets for the handle are flush with the inside of the pan, making scrubbing that much easier.
You can buy the cookware line in seven-piece or 11-piece sets, or buy each pan separately, from an 8.5-inch sauté pan to a 12-quart stock pot.