Engineering doesn’t belong in cooking! Well, engineering created the cooking equipment we use, so it would be silly to ignore its role in cooking. A large part of designing anything is material selection. Materials have certain properties that make them good for some purposes and bad for others. There is no super material that is good at everything: light, strong, heat transfer, cheap, holds an edge, etc. When choosing cooking tools, consider both the material and the purpose of the piece. This will instantly tell you if it can perform the intended function. Of course, how the tool “feels” cannot be explained with numbers. That’s where testing comes in.
To demonstrate we’ll compare a cast iron frying pan to an aluminum one. Cast iron is a poor conductor of heat compared to aluminum. Why would you use cast iron as a material to make a frying pan? You want heat to move into the food you are cooking, right? The fact that it’s a poor conductor of heat, compared to aluminum, means it will slowly release heat at an even rate into what you are cooking. Searing is one of the cooking methods that surprisingly takes advantage of this cast iron property. For example with tuna, cast iron will sear the fish, but because of its low heat release rate, it will not over-cook the outside layer. The aluminum pan, which excels at conducting heat, will transfer heat so rapidly it causes the outside layer to actually over-cook.
“I am sold,” cast iron sounds perfect. There is the flip side. A side effect of cast iron’s poor heat conductivity is hot spots. If you are an experienced cook these can be managed, if not, you will learn how burnt food tastes. Other properties of cast iron as compared to aluminum are that it takes twice as long to reach cooking temperature and it’s super heavy. You can see there are reasons to use either type of material. What becomes more important is fitting the pan to the person’s skill level and cooking style.
What this points out, is that cooking tools don’t just happen. There are reasons why certain cooking tools are made out of certain materials. We noticed that all the currently available cooking sets do not consider these factors and deliver mediocre results. They might have an attractive price tag, but you will soon find yourself throwing most of it away or wondering why you have three frying pans that can’t fry properly.
Engineering principles are used to research and test all the items needed for everyday cooking and then crossed referenced it against real life cooking knowledge. The results determined the right items with the right features. The value of a cooking set is not achieved by sacrificing quality, but rather by eliminating redundancy and making correct design choices. The result is high quality cooking sets that let you cook right out of the box.