We’re standing in the Cook Culture demo kitchen with every burner lit and the oven on full blast, and Chef Cosmo Meens is twirling an imaginary revolver like he’s Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral. “It’s just such a great grip, it’s like a pistol, you’re flipping stuff… Bang bang bang!”
There is an incredible range of quality cookware on the market, whether you’re looking for cast iron, copper core or even non-stick, and with so many options it can be tough to nail down which series is right for you or the person you’re gifting to. My first instinct is always to separate things by price and get the best I can based on my budget — but the most expensive doesn’t always mean the best. And if you ask Cosmo, that’s exactly what he’ll tell you about his favourite line of cookware: Zwilling TruClad.
When I dropped by the shop this week, Cosmo was in the midst of prepping for a private class. As more pots and pans were conscripted into his stovetop ballet, I noticed a trend. Though we have a lot of options for cookware in the test kitchen, Cosmo always seemed to gravitate to the TruClad. It makes sense, as they’re the same pans he uses at home and in his restaurant, the Hot & Cold Café. But I was wondering: with a full lineup of Demeyere and Sensation at his disposal, why not use the best of the best?
It started with the early days of cooking school, with a teacher who taught him to handle pans with both hands. “I thought it was sort of lame at the time; I can do it with one, you know, strong young guy.” But over decades of kitchen work and repetitive stress, he’s never forgotten the lesson and often goes back to it for bigger pans. The unique grip on the TruClad gives plenty of space for both hands and takes lot of strain off the wrist and elbow, even as its hollow construction keeps it nice and light. “It’s beautiful for it because it gives me room for both thumbs and still feels good. When you’re working with a frying pan, the way it feels in your hand, very similar to a knife, is very important.”
The feel is one thing, but even heating is really the main draw to quality cookware, and the TruClad only has three layers as opposed to some of the more expensive brands. Doesn’t this mean more hotspots and burning? Not according to Cosmo. “It doesn’t heat up like a cheap pan,” he said. “In some ways I actually like it a little bit better. You have to maybe watch them a bit more, but I like it because you get results faster, when you turn it up and down the heat shows faster.” Just like we found in the All-Clad vs. Sensation test with Mike Williams, a heavier, thicker pan can often take longer to respond to heat changes. If you’re willing to keep an eye on your pans and maybe be a little more active in tossing, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of quick changes in heat and faster warmup times.
The final word? “It’s probably the best value I’ve seen in a high end pan for the price and quality,” said Cosmo. “I got a whole set of them.” And this coming from a guy who collects vintage cast iron!
To learn more about the TruClad’s 3-layer construction and outstanding performance on induction ranges, drop by a Cookworks or Cook Culture store near you. Or, of course, you could just hold out hope for Christmas morning. - Sol