Expert Chefs - Cookware Design Advice Sought
Q: Hi Expert Chefs - I'm working on the design of a whole new range of cookware for a major cookware manufacturer, for sale in the US and Europe. I'd like to gather your opinions, as end-users, about the design criteria. So, if you'd like to add your input to the project, could you please answer some or all of the following? For your interest, when the project 'goes public', I will e-mail all respondents, with video stills (pcx files) and motion video (Quick-time mov files) of the results. Wouldn't that be nice? The questions: 1. The client has asked the range to comprise the following: a) "16cm, 18cm, 20cm saucepans (that's 6.3', 7.1', 7.9' base diameters) - would fit the standard hot plate sizes". Firstly, are these diameters right? and secondly, is three enough? What about you ideal height for each - and would it vary depending on diameter? b) "26cm, 29cm fry pan (that's 10.2', 11.4' base diameters) - could be saute pan as well". Again, what do you think of the sizes? and secondly, can a pan be dual purpose? What should the depth be? c) "20cm omlette pan." What about this size? What about the depth? Isn't this the same as a fry pan, just a different handle? d) "4.5pt, 7.5pt, 12pt casserole round/oval - lids as dishes." Do you prefer round or oval? Is three sizes too many? Should all three sizes have the same depth for dish & lid, making the area bigger each time? Is there a sensible minimum depth for the dish? e) "35cm (13.8' diameter) deep roasting dish & lid." How deep is deep? Is the diameter right? f) "Support piece Grillit 26cm (10.2' diameter) round or oval." Which shape, round or oval, is the most useful? g) "Support piece Steamer - to fit inside 7.5pt casserole." Right size? 2. In general, what material do you prefer - stainless steel, aluminium, cast iron etc? 3. Specifically, which material do you prefer for each pan? - Most manufacturers sell all pans made in the same way eg. stainless steel with a laminated aluminium base across the range, both fry pans and sauce pans. I think it would be good to maybe have different materials for different pans - say stainless steel with a laminated aluminium base for a fry pan, but say thick aluminium for a sauce pan. What do you think? 4. What about handles? Do you like wood / metal (say, part of the body) / plastic? What's a good choice for you, both practical and attractive? 5. The manuafacturer has identified the following design considerations: a) "Pouring / venting / draining - left & right handed." b) "Stackability / Easy storage". c) "non-stick is not necessary except in fry pans and milk pans". - Have you got any comments on these? 6. What brand do you like at present and, maybe, why? I hope you didn't find that lot too taxing and I'll be back to you soon!
A: How about making sodium-filled cookware. The valve stems on some sports car engines are hollow and filled with sodium metal. At operating temperature, the sodium melts and convection currents in the liquid metal take the heat away from the valve head faster than solid metal would. A pot or pan containing an internal pocket of sodium metal should distribute the heat faster and more evenly than even a good heat conductor like copper. Of course, the cookware should be rugged enough that the sodium is never released, especially in the presence of water. I hope you mean 6.3". 6.3 feet is pretty big, though for a 4-quart version, it'd only need to be about a twentieth of an inch high. ;-) OK. I'd think you want saucepans to have roughly a square profile, maybe slightly squat. 6.3" seems a bit large for the smallest. Typically, cookware lines go down to 1 or 1.5 quart saucepan sizes. At 6.3", it would only need to be about 2" high... more like a saute pan. I'd think you'd want 4-5" diameter for the smallest.
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