Quest for the holy grail (of pans)

by Jax on October 16, 2013

TefalPans.pngOn our last boat most of the galley and interior was furnished in one big shop at John Lewis in Southampton (handy, good quality – everything we needed in one place from pots and pans to bedding and quite a lot in between). So, when we sold that boat almsot lock stock and barrel, I wasn’t too concerned as I thought it would be easy to nip back to John Lewis and re-stock with all of the useful things that we had before…Wrong! Obviously first time round I had just enjoyed beginners luck.

Let’s take my pans for instance: I had bought (if my memory serves me correctly) Jamie Oliver/Tefal pans with folding handles. I couldn’t find anything like this in the store. When I enquired the assistant told me: ‘Oh, yes, I remember those. They were really popular. But we don’t stock them anymore’.

The clue is in the ‘really popular’ bit! They were brilliant. Now what was I to do? Storage space for pans is limited in most galleys – and some other homes, I remember a student flat that I shared in London that had a smaller ‘kitchen’ (cupboard) than any boat galley I have experienced – I needed my pans with folding handles. I was beginning to regret having let them go.

After some research it transpired that Tefal do in fact manufacture a range of pans with removable handles and many other useful features, but the range was only available in big Carrefour supermarkets or a few other more limited stockists abroad. During a trip to Spain I trawled around every large Carrefour I could find, to no avail. There was a small amount of stock, but not what I wanted – the holy grail of pans.

On the way back from France in an empty van hired to transport the entire contents of a boat (from storage in a lock up in Brighton across the channel to the new yacht in Cherbourg), we made a detour to Carrefour in Caen and my quest was finally successful.

At customs in Portsmouth the officers surveyed our big ‘France Cars’ van with glee. I think they were suspecting a cargo of wine and cigarettes. ‘What are you bringing in?’ ‘Just a few pans’, I responded. ‘Pans?’ they repeated in a disbelieving fashion, so they directed us to a search bay – claim confirmed – big empty van with a few pans rattling around in the back.

The pans, which have ‘red Thermo-spot technology for optimum cooking temperature’, have seen a lot of use over the last 18 months and are lasting well. The non stick coating has a lifetime guarantee and claims that it is for use with metal utensils (except whisks and knives) – still, one or two crew members have been threatened with the cat o’nine tails for venturing near the pans with steel cutlery or the wrong type of scourer, but no harm done (other than people thinking I’m an obsessive compulsive control freak, but I can live with that, it’s pretty close to the truth).

They are very easy to clean (the pans, not the crew members), and importantly they fit very neatly into a small space. With the edition of a silicon steamer I can use them for pretty much everything I want to. Oh, and they have something called ‘anti-warp’ technology on the base for resistance and durability and are suitable for induction hobs (which is important and another post…)

I bought 4 stacking pans, 3 lids, a frying pan, 3 plastic lids (i thought I’d use these for storage – I never have, not once, my fridge/freezer is just not big enough for storing things in pans), a straining lid (which I do use, and it doubles as a splash guard as I haven’t found a decent one of those), 2 handles – interchangeable between all of the pans, and a magnetic knob for the lids – also interchangeable.

On subsequent trips to France I have also added from the same range a wok, and a spare lid knob (in case I lose one and can’t get hold of another in future). It might sound like quite a lot, but it doesn’t take up very much space.

As a recommendation, it didn’t seem a very good one considering they were not widely available, but I can happily report that they are now on sale at John Lewis UK John Lewis
I came across them by chance when I was browsing. It seems that there have been some slight revisions to the design to improve the range – collapsible lid handles instead of removable knobs for example. Well done the Tefal boffins and good old John Lewis.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dan Hacking October 16, 2013 at 09:05

I can’t believe that I’ve just lost 5 minutes of my life reading about 4 stacking pans, 3 lids, a frying pan, 3 plastic lids….it’s amazing what I didn’t realise I didn’t know about pans ;)


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