Saladmaster Cookware...worth The Price?
Q: I'm a somewhat new subscriber to this newsgroup so I hope this topic hasn't been previously discussed to the point of tedium. Specifically, I'm looking for some persons who have had experience with saladmaster cookware or who are knowledgeable about cookware in general to comment on the quality of saladmaster cookware and whether it is really worth the price. For the benifit of those who have not heard of saladmaster let me give you a brief summary. Saladmaster, out of Dallas, makes numerous pieces of cookware from pots and pans to electric skillets to grinders and knives. Their big selling features are the TP304 surgical quality stainless steel (which doesn't release harmful metal particles into the food and is therefore healthier than other cookware) and the five inner layers of aluminum alloys which give uniform heat. The electric skillet also has a liquid inner core which eliminates "hot spots". As far as I can tell the cookware is excellent quality and I would even consider getting a set if it weren't for two problems. The first is that it is not sold in stores but by sales people who operate "house parties". The house parties consist of the host couple inviting over a number of couples(4-8 depending on how many your dining room table can hold) for a free meal put on by the saladmaster representative. The salesperson cooks the meal infront of you all the while discussing the merits of saladmaster over other cookware. Their big emphasis is on health and they perform various "experiments" to prove that this cookware doesn't hold food particles from previous use and doesn't release harmful metal particles into the food (such as teflon pots can). At the end of the meal they have each couple choose the pieces they would get if they could and then proceed to try to sell them one of various packages. It is really a high pressure sales pitch and customers are told that the special deals are only good for that night and if they wait until the next day they won't get the same deal, etc, etc. The host couple gets a free gift for having the party and I believe another gift for each of the couples who actually purchase a set. The second problem is the price. These are not cheap and bought individually are *very* expensive. Their aim is to sell packages which start at about $2200.00 (Can, includes taxes) for a 15 piece set to about $5000.00 for the largest set. While 15 pieces sounds like a lot they count each pot and lid seperately. Also, in each set they include little used items such as an egg poacher which includes the base and four egg holders each counting as a seperate piece. They also give you free gifts from a given list for buying that evening, but again the offer is only good that evening. So the question that begs to be asked is whether or not the saladmaster cookware is worth the money. I tend not to think so, but I'm not an expert on cookware and may be overly skeptical. Also, what type of cookware do professional cooks use and what is the price range? Thanks in advance for you responses.
A: You'd be better off spending your money on widely available commercial cookware either from a restaurant supply house or through retail channels. For aluminum encased in stainless steel, All Clad and Chantal both have very good offerings. For copper encased in stainless steel, Cuisinart also has a great set of pots and pans. You can often buy these in sets, but open stock is available. I like open stock because you can purchase only the pieces you need. IMHO, $5000 is an insane amount to spend on cookware. You can get a commercial stove for that much! Spend your money on a reputable company with quality products. Don't go for a pressure sell--you'll most likely end up a loser. I've been through this sort of pitch once before, when a salesman tried to convince a neighbor he needed one of their $100 smoke detectors in each room and hallway of his house. You can be sure they are trying to sell you several times more stuff than you need at several times what it's worth. Comparable or superior cookware can be found in any department or restaurant supply store. In particular a single guy doesn't need that much to start getting serious about cooking, unless he's planning to throw some very large dinner parties. The same goes for those gadgets you see on TV infomercials
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