Cookware is an important part of anyone’s kitchen. Without the right cookware it really makes it difficult to cook quality meals at home.
There are a variety of different materials to choose from when buying cookware. The first is stainless steel. This is the most popular and for good reason. Stainless steel cookware is strong, durable and is easy to clean. If it contains a layer of aluminum or copper in the base then it is even better as it provides even cooking and prevents hotspots.
The second type of cookware is cast iron cookware. Cast iron cookware is a favorite for many people. It is strong and almost indestructible. It also cooks foods extremely well but it does have its drawbacks. It’s heavy so takes a bit of muscle to remove from the stove particularly if there is a lot of food in it to begin with.
Cast iron also requires seasoning so there is a little bit of maintenance involved to keep it working as it should. A popular alternative to bare cast iron is enamelled cast iron. This type of cast iron cookware has the best of both worlds. It has all the attributes of bare cast iron, however you don’t need to season it and clean up is a lot easier.
A third material commonly used in the manufacturer of cookware is hard anodized aluminum. This is a very popular choice as this type of cookware is non-stick making for easy cooking and even better – easy clean up! Hard anodized cookware is also quite strong.
Copper is another material used to manufacturer cookware. Copper is the choice for chefs who understand the benefits of copper. Copper is quick to react to temperature changes making it ideal for delicate sauces and gravies. It also cooks evenly preventing hotspots. The disadvantages of copper are that it can be expensive to buy and also difficult to maintain. That beautiful shiny copper needs to be cleaned regularly in order to keep it looking as good as the day it was bought.
I never tire of receiving cookware samples to review, so when a box arrived and was sitting on my desk I couldn’t wait to open it. Inside I was happy to find a Manpan stir fry wok.
If you’ve never heard of ManPans before then you’re not the only one. We have been running this website for a few years now and it was only when a representative of the company contacted us that we found out about them.
So who are they? Well, ManPans is a brand of Lloyd Industries and Lloyd Industries supply commercial cookware to restaurants and commercial kitchens. However, their Manpan line of cookware has been developed with the specific purpose of supplying chef quality pans to consumers.
As I lifted the pan out of the box I was surprised at how light it was. I am so used to cookware like All Clad and Cuisinart Multiclad where the clad bases make the pans feel solid and weighty.
My other initial reaction was that the pan looked a bit rough around the edges. Almost as if it hadn’t been packaged properly and had scuffed during transport.
Okay not a good start, but stay with me here as although these were my initial thoughts, there are explanations for each of them…and things only got better from there.
What’s in the Box
We received a 10in stir fry pan with a steamer and lid. Both the lid and steamer can be purchased separately.
Where is it made?
It’s not very often that you find a pan that is manufactured in the US but this is one of them. This pan is made in Spokane, WA USA.
What is it made of?
Many will be pleased to know that this pan is 100% PTFE and Teflon-free!!
The pan is constructed from hard anodized aluminum so it conducts heat well and means you don’t need to use high temperatures to cook.
Amazing Non-Scratch Surface!!!
The surface of the pan is coated with what the company calls Gem-X2 which they describe as a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish. Apparently it is resistant to scratching, chipping and flaking. They are so sure of the high standard of the finish that they claim that you can rub a coin across the coating and it will not scratch the surface and in fact, it will wear down the coin instead. I found this a bit too good to be true but decided to take up the challenge and give it a go.
This was harder than I thought…I hate to see cookware with scratches but for the sake of this review, I knew I had to do it. So out came the coin and away I went scratching at the surface. I tried it first on the bottom surface of the steamer as I didn’t want to ruin the pan itself.
It was pretty amazing actually. After a lot of effort with the coin, the surface did have what looked scratches although they were quite faint. BUT as soon as I rubbed the scratches with a damp cloth they disappeared. I did it again and again and scratched even harder but each time the scratches just rubbed off. In fact they just came off by rubbing the area with my thumb.
I then tried it on the pan itself and had the same result.
I checked the pan a day later to see if the scratches ‘suddenly reappeared’ but no they were gone for good and in fact I couldn’t even find the spot where the scratches were to begin with.
And for those that need to see the results take a look at the pics below:
The pan has deep curved sides and is not as open as the tradtional style wok that we are used to …but we need to remember that we are looking at an American style wok here not a traditional wok… so we won’t get into comparisons between the two.
However, for those that aren’t aware, a traditional wok has a wide opening and a small handle on each side. The bottom is curved and requires a stand for it to sit secure on the stove top. An American style wok, on the other hand, is known as a stir fry pan. It has a flat base and one long handle and sometimes a handle helper. So although they are basically designed to do the same job they are quite different in their construction.
I find that this is a great pan to move food around in as the sides are deep and curved. It is surprising just how much food you can fit into this 10in pan. And the flat bottom ensures that the pan stays secure on the stove top.
Does it generate enough heat?
The goal for any stir fry pan or wok is to generate a lot of heat. This is so foods cook quickly and evenly – a low heat tends to cause the foods to stew in their own juices which means that the meat can become tough and vegetables soggy and unpalatable. For this reason we really wanted to focus on this aspect of the pan to ensure it made the grade. If it didn’t there really was no point reviewing any further.
So what did we find?
We’re happy to say that the pan did exceptionally well in the heat department. I actually used my own stovetop for testing. And we used it on a hot plate that is renowned for not generating a lot of heat so we were surprised that the pan did so well. The pan got hot quickly and maintained good solid heat the entire time.
I would tend to think that because this pan doesn’t have a thick base is what makes the difference here. It means the pan heats up quickly and maintains the heat during the cooking process.
Can it be used on a ceramic stove top?
Yes definitely – the pan is safe to use on ceramic stove tops.
Can I use the Manpan in the oven?
Yes, these pans are oven safe to an amazing 700F…not that there are many home ovens that get anywhere near to that temperature but at least the option is there if you need it. Just be aware however that the lid is only oven safe to 400F.
What is the handle like?
The handles stay cool on the stovetop but ensure that you use oven gloves if using in the oven as they will get hot. It also feels quite comfortable to hold.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this pan arrived with what looked like scuff marks. You can see an example of what I mean in the image. These were examples of marks found on the steamer but there were also minor marks on the pan itself.
I attributed it to poor packaging, however on checking the manpan website I found the following:
“We believe the Gem-X2 finish quality of our pans gives you the most beautiful cooking results imaginable. Our exclusive manufacturing process leaves an occasional harmless streak, smudge or rack mark on the cookware and we don’t overfinish them with unnecessary pretty coatings. We call these our “beauty marks”.”
I guess when your priority is to supply cookware for industrial applications where the performance of the cookware is the top priority then a few ‘beauty marks’ on the final look of the cookware isn’t an issue.
This may work with those in the industry but I just wonder about home cooks. I must admit that I was initially disappointed at seeing the scuff marks but on the other hand I quickly got over it after using the pan and assessing its performance.
Being eco-friendly is definitely something this company is good at. Here’s what they had to say about their cookware:
“Since we manufacture, anodize and finish all our pans in one US location, we save carbon by reducing transportation. Our anodizing process is very clean both in sewage and air quality and receives high marks from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Our finishing technology contains no petroleum products, no PFE or PFOA, is water based and completely non-reactive. From manufacturing to our finished product, we are truly embracing the most eco-friendly cookware available.”
You can read more about it here…Man Pan Eco Green Manufacturing
Does it come with a warranty?
Yes, the pan comes with a lifetime warranty for any defects in material and workmanship. Plus if you aren’t happy with the pan for any reason you can return it in 30 days for a refund.
Our Final Analysis
If you’re looking for perfection then you may be disappointed if the pan happens to turn up with minor scuff marks or discolortions. People tend to expect everything to be just right when they purchase something new so I can only think that this may be an issue for some. Just be aware that this in no way detracts from the ability of this pan to do the job intended.
Overall if you are looking for a green eco friendly pan that stir frys exceptionally well then we definitely recommend this pan. It’s strong but light, it looks good, feels good and does a beautiful job at generating the required amount of heat for cooking stir frys.
>Watch a Video to see the pan in action – ManPan Videos
>Read more about Manpan Eco Green Manufacturing
>The Manpan Homepage
>Read more about the ManPan Stirfry Pan.
>Check out prices here.
This is a very ‘Rachael’ set with her trademark favorite color orange. If you like orange you will love this set – and it is also quite a good safety feature as it makes you more aware of where the handles are positioned on the stove top and so you automatically turn them in for safety.
The stay-cool handles are also attached to the pans with double rivets making them extra strong. They are easy-grip silicon and angled high so it doesn’t hurt your wrist to lift a full pan.
Stainless steel is not known for its’ ability to heat up quickly and evenly. However the Rachael Ray 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set has a thick, flat aluminum base which makes up for this deficiency and it is great when you’re cooking as you don’t get hot spots that cause the food to stick and burn.
It also has a nice satin finish rather than a shiny one which is aesthetically pleasing – it looks really good. The slight rounding of the interiors from the base to the side makes them work like professional chef’s pans and gives great results.
The edges of the pans are slightly flared which makes it possible to pour from them without annoying drips. Dishwashing is not recommended but to be honest, because the bases are so thick, you don’t need a high heat so not much sticks to these – so hand washing isn’t a chore.
If anything does stick, just give the pan a good soak in hot, soapy water and use a non-scratch dish scrubber. Bar Keepers Friend will get rid of even the most stubborn stuck or burnt on food.
The glass lids are great for seeing what’s happening to the food but the drawback with these is that there is no vent in the lid. This means that as steam builds up, it clouds the glass so that you can’t see the contents and you do end up having to lift the lid off anyway.
A helpful bonus with this set is that the lids for the sauté pan and the Dutch oven also fit the 10 inch skillet so you don’t waste time hunting for lids. The set is compatible with all stove tops, even induction and is safe in an oven up to 400 degrees. All in all, a great ‘starter’ set for a reasonable price, which you can add to as there are many other matching items available.
Where Can I Buy the Rachael Ray 10 Piece Stainless Cookware Set? Amazon
What have a Medical Doctor and Waterford Wedgwood got in common? They have collaborated to produce an innovative line of cookware. Dr Andrew Weil M.D. says “I believe good health begins in the kitchen and together, we have created the first authentic healthy lifestyle brand to provide consumers the tools they need for optimal food preparation.”
Who is Doctor Andrew Weil?
Doctor Weil studied botany at Harvard College. He then went to Harvard Medical School but instead of taking a residency there, he completed his internship in San Francisco at Mount Zion Hospital, followed by a year working for the National Institute of Mental Health.
He became a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs and spent four years travelling throughout South America, publishing his first book ‘The Natural Mind’ in 1972. The book explores the idea that the body creates its’ own natural highs, which medications access, rather than create. Doctor Weil has written or co-authored ten books.
Honors received by Doctor Weil
• He has appeared twice on the cover of TIME magazine (in 1997 and 2005).
• Doctor Weil has the honor of a mushroom named after him! In 1995, Mycologists (mushroom experts) Dr. Gustan Guzman, Fidel Tapia, and Paul Stamets honored him by naming a newly discovered mushroom, Psilocybe weilii.
• In 1997, TIME also honored him as one of the 25 most influential Americans.
• He was inducted into the Academy of Achievement in 1998
• In 2004, the New York Open Center honored Dr. Weil as having made “extraordinary contributions to public awareness of integrative and complementary medicine.”
• In 2005, TIME magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
• In the same year, Smithsonian Associates awarded him the John P. McGovern Award in Behavioral Sciences.
• In 2006, Dr Weil was award the honor of “Pioneer in Integrative Medicine” by the Institute for Health and Healing in San Francisco.
• Forbes on-line magazine listed his web site as one of the three “Best of the Web” in their “Alternative Medicine” category.
Doctor Weil is now focusing on healthy living and general health care, with a particular interest in the health concerns of the growing population of older Americans. In his book ‘Healthy Aging’, Dr Weil examines the aging process from all aspects – physical, social and cultural. He advocates that people do not seek to reverse the process but focus on having good health, “serenity, wisdom and its’ own kind of power and grace.”
Why is Doctor Weil’s Cookware Healthy?
Dr. Weil believes that cookware should have the advantages of aluminum without it coming into contact with your food. His cookware range features 5-ply bonded 18/10 stainless steel for optimum heating with a core of aluminium to ensure an even distribution of heat. The unique part of the design is a rolled and sealed rim the makes sure no aluminium ever touches the food.
The cookware also has riveted handles that stay cool and has been ergonomically designed so that it is perfectly balanced for all types of stove tops, including induction.
Dr Weil’s Range of Cookware Includes:
Why is Aluminum Considered Unsafe?
Many people are scared to use aluminum cookware as they believe it may cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Back in the 1970’s, some researchers in Canada reported the finding that people who had died with Alzheimer’s had unusually high levels of aluminum in their brains. It sparked controversy – was aluminum the cause of Alzheimer’s, or the result of it? Many people were alarmed by this and threw away their aluminum cookware.
More recent studies would seem to indicate that the increased levels of aluminum were due to the Alzheimer’s itself. Brains which have already suffered damage from Alzheimer’s will allow unusually high levels of aluminum in.
This is not difficult as aluminum is everywhere. The most common elements on Earth (in order of prevalence) are oxygen, silicone and aluminum. It’s in air, water, soil and consequently in the plants and animals that we eat.
The Weil Foundation
Dr. Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from royalties from sales of Spring Switzerland cookware directly to the Weil Foundation. This is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the support of integrative medicine through training, education and research.
Dr Weil’s Website