Cooking delicious meals starts with having quality cookware in your kitchen. But with so many brands and materials to choose from, how do you know which set is right for your cooking needs?
Should home cooks consider spending up for commercial-grade stainless steel pots and pans from Chefs Foundry like the popular P600 series?
The Chefs Foundry P600 10-piece cookware set aims to bring the durability and performance of restaurant kitchen cookware into home kitchens. In this in-depth review, we’ll closely examine if these American-made pots and pans live up to their promise.
Below we’ll cover everything potential buyers need to know about Chefs Foundry and the P600 series including:
- An overview of the Chefs Foundry brand and P600 cookware lines
- Key features and specifications of the P600 series
- Hands-on test results cooking with the P600 set
- An honest look at the pros and cons
- How P600 cookware compares to competitors
- Whether the price is justified for home cooks
- Where to buy Chefs Foundry pots and pans
- Care and maintenance tips for stainless steel
So whether you’re an avid home cook ready to invest in your first high-end cookware set, or simply researching your options, read on for the complete review!
An Introduction to Chefs Foundry Cookware
Chefs Foundry is a relative newcomer to the cookware scene having just launched in 2019. The company was founded by home cooks and product designers who wanted to make commercial-quality, American-made stainless steel cookware accessible to regular consumers.
The cookware is designed in San Francisco and handcrafted in Wisconsin using modern techniques and equipment. Chefs Foundry focuses exclusively on clad stainless steel cookware purpose-built for the needs of home cooks. They offer both PRO series lines designed for professional durability, as well as HOME series for more affordability.
Within the PRO series, the P600 collection is the flagship line that showcases the best of Chefs Foundry’s cookware design and performance capabilities.
Overview of the Chefs Foundry P600 Cookware Series
The Chefs Foundry P600 series is crafted with 6 layers of stainless steel and aluminum encapsulating an aluminum core. This clad construction provides fast and even heating across pan surfaces which is ideal for searing and browning foods perfectly.
Here are some key features and specifications that make the P600 collection stand out:
- Encapsulated aluminum core – Runs fully from base up through sides for superior heat conductivity and energy efficiency compared to traditional disc bottom designs.
- 6 layer metal composition – Magnetic 304 stainless steel exterior wraps around alternating layers of 410 stainlessness steel and aluminum. Provides durability, fast heat-up, and corrosion resistance.
- Brushed finish exterior – P600 has a brushed finish rather than a polished mirror finish. This is easier to maintain appearance over time. Interior is left unlined.
- Riveted handles – Riveted steel handles provide a solid grip and stay cooler than the pan body thanks to the rivet buffer.
- Vented glass lids – Tight fitting lids have vented glass inserts to conveniently view food as it cooks while allowing steam to escape.
- Oven and broiler safe – Pan bodies are oven safe up to 600°F and lids up to 500°F.
- Dishwasher safe – Makes cleaning convenient.
The 10-piece P600 set includes:
- 8” fry pan
- 10” fry pan
- 2qt saucepan with lid
- 3qt saucepan with lid
- 5qt stockpot with lid
- 8qt sauté pan with lid
This configuration provides a versatile starter set to handle daily stove-to-oven cooking. With care, the P600 cookware should provide a lifetime of use even with daily wear and tear. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Testing the P600 Series Hands-On
To better understand the performance and ease of use of the P600 series, I prepared several meals putting the set through its paces:
Unboxing and First Impressions
The set arrived well packaged with each piece individually wrapped. At first touch, the pots and pans have noticeable heft and feel very solidly made. The brushed finish looks classy and minimalistic. All handles are firmly riveted and comfortable to grip with either a hand towel or oven mitt.
The sizes felt well thought out giving a versatile range for cooking tasks. With the lids removed, you can see the beautiful alternating layers of metal sandwiching the aluminum core. Overall fit and finish is outstanding, essentially flawless. This set makes a sophisticated first impression worthy of the premium price.
I first tested heating performance by boiling water in the 3qt saucepan. It came to a rolling boil rapidly and evenly across the pan bottom. The ring at the base of the pan never got significantly hotter than the sides, a great sign of how responsive the aluminum core is.
Next I cooked some skin-on chicken thighs to evaluate searing capability. The pan achieved an even sizzle across its surface once pre-heated over medium high heat. The thighs browned nicely without sticking. Again no noticeable hot spots.
Throughout the heating tests, the steel handles warmed up but never got uncomfortably hot, allowing grabbing them with a dry hand towel when needed.
Simmering, Searing, Frying, and More
With the initial heating tests passed with flying colors, it was time to cook full meals! Here were some of my experiences:
- Simmering – The 2qt saucepan made quick work of simmering marinara sauce. I noticed the unlined cooking surface helped enhance fond development from the meat and tomatoes. This is excellent for making pan sauces.
- Pan frying – Sunny side up eggs slid out easily with minimal added fat needed thanks to the smooth interior. Fish fillets also cooked up with a beautiful crisp exterior and tender interior.
- Deep frying – The stock pot worked well for frying up a batch of chicken wings. I’m always a bit nervous deep frying with pricier pots, but the P600 handled it like a champ.
- Searing – The 10″ pan excelled at searing steaks with a crisp, flavorful crust and juicy medium rare interior. Smashing burgers also led to tasty fond for making pan sauces.
- Braising – Braised short ribs achieved fall-off-the-bone tenderness in the sauté pan thanks to its thickness and core conducting heat evenly.
- Baking – Cookies browned nicely without hot spots when baking in the oven at 375°F. The glass lids were helpful for occasionally checking on their progress.
Across all the cooking tests, the Chefs Foundry P600 cookware performed admirably. It withstood high heat searing and oven baking without issue. The unlined cooking surface was fantastic for fond creation, especially helpful when deglazing for pan sauces.
Overall the set passed my tests with flying colors in terms of heating performance, ease of use, and versatility across cooking techniques. The construction quality shined through to deliver on its promise of commercial grade durability.
The Pros and Cons of the P600 Cookware
After extensively using the Chefs Foundry P600 set, here are the key pros and cons I found:
- Commercial quality and performance rivaling pots found in restaurant kitchens
- Quick, even heating thanks to full aluminum core
- Unlined interior ideal for fond development when making pan sauces
- Sleek brushed exterior with excellent attention to detail
- Stay-cool handles are comfortable and offer solid grip
- Oven and broiler safe at high temperatures
- Versatile set to handle diverse cooking methods
- Quality and durability to last years or decades
- Easy to clean smooth interior
- Fair pricing relative to comparable sets
The Potential Cons
- Requires some seasoning and maintenance like commercial pans
- Unlined surface can be reactive to acidic foods over time
- No non-stick coating offered for eggs or fish
- Significant investment for cookware
- Handles get hot when pan roasting in very hot oven
Considering the materials and construction, the pros outweighed any potential downsides for me. The P600 meets the performance and durability promises delivering a set built for daily use and lasting for years.
The biggest considerations are the unlined interior requiring more seasoning and maintenance compared to ceramic or enamel coatings, as well as the price putting it out of some home cooks’ budgets.
How Does Chefs Foundry Compare to Other Cookware?
The P600 series goes toe-to-toe with other leading premium cookware when it comes to heating performance, versatility, and durability. The commercial-grade quality punches above its price point. Here’s how it stacks up to some top competitors:
All-Clad – Very comparable performance and quality with differences being aesthetic choices. Chefs Foundry aims for a more contemporary matte look vs highly polished All-Clad.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro – Similar clad metals design with differences being the exterior (brushed vs polished), handles (steel vs. cast), and details like lids. Chefs Foundry edges out with extra oven safety and made in America.
Calphalon Tri-Ply – Almost identical performance with Chefs Foundry having the edge in handle design and lid quality. But Calphalon offers excellent value especially for lower stove heat.
Demeyere Industry5 – The true equivalent meeting commercial standards. But at 2-3x the price. Chefs Foundry gets points for being an affordable alternative.
Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad – A solid budget option but the lower grade metals and less durable design make the P600 worth the step up for serious cooks.
Cuisinel Cast Iron – Great for specific tasks but not as versatile across cooking techniques. Cast iron requires more special care. Stainless wins for being dishwasher safe.
For shoppers seeking commercial level performance, Chefs Foundry stands out by delivering professional quality at just a fraction of the cost of brands like Demeyere. The P600 gives higher end sets from All-Clad and Calphalon a run for their money while handily beating lower cost options.
Is the Price of the P600 Series Worth It?
With a 10-piece Chefs Foundry P600 set priced around $700, it’s certainly not an impulse purchase. The investment buys you authentic commercial grade cookware made to high standards in America.
For home cooks preparing multiple meals daily and wanting maximum versatility, the price becomes more reasonable. Similarly, avid cooksfocused on quality and willing to treat pots and pans as a long term investment will appreciate the value.
The P600 set really shines for intermediate to advanced cooks looking to upgrade from entry-level pots and pans. The performance gains are noticeable. While not cheap, with proper care these could be the last pots and pans you need to buy.
For beginning cooks who make simple meals occasionally, the price is difficult to justify. And for cooking mostly with basic techniques like steaming, cheaper aluminum and non-stick sets work fine.
So while not a good fit for all budgets, the P600 cookware delivers excellent value for serious home cooks wanting commercial grade pots and pans without commercial pricing.
Where to Buy Chefs Foundry Cookware
The P600 series and other Chefs Foundry cookware is available direct from their website ChefsFoundry.com. Bundles and open stock pieces can be purchased directly.
Select third party retailers also carry Chefs Foundry include Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, Bloomingdales, Amazon, and Crate & Barrel. Stock and prices can vary.
For the 10-piece P600 set, expect to pay around $700 from either the company website or third party sellers. Open stock prices range from $99 for a fry pan up to $275 for the 8qt sauté pan.
Chefs Foundry also offers lower cost HOME series cookware if the PRO line is outside your budget. While not 100% commercial quality, the HOME series provides excellent performance for under $400 for a set.
Caring for Your Chefs Foundry P600 Cookware
Like all quality stainless steel cookware, the P600 series requires some care and maintenance to keep performing its best over years of service. Here are some tips:
- Season pans with a thin coating of oil before first use and after washing. This helps protect and condition the cooking surface.
- Use lower heat settings to preheat. Stainless conducts heat so efficiently high heat can lead to hot spots.
- Avoid abrasive scouring pads that can scratch interior over time. Soft sponges or simmering water in pan to loosen residue is safest.
- Hand wash to inspect after each use. Promptly hand drying prevents water spots. The dishwasher is fine but harder on its long term appearance.
- Use cooking oils for fish and acidic foods. Stainless can react with acids like tomatoes. A small amount of oil prevents this.
With basic care, your Chefs Foundry pots and pans will provide many years of outstanding performance. Treat it well and it will deliver delicious meals for decades to come!
Verdict: A Top Contender for Serious Home Cooks
The Chefs Foundry P600 series delivers outstanding cooking performance, durability, and versatility worthy of commercial kitchens. Home cooks who want professional quality will appreciate these American-made pans that can tackle daily cooking demands.
While not cheap, they are an excellent value considering the quality, lifetime warranty, and made in America production. For cooks serious about good equipment, the P600s should be on your short list to consider.
The unmatched heating responsiveness makes cooking a joy. Searing, simmering, and sauteing all happen efficiently letting you achieve restaurant quality results. Yet the brilliance of the Chefs Foundry design is melding commercial durability with home kitchen practicality.
So if you’ve been dreaming of owning commercial style stainless steel pots and pans, the P600 series will impress. Their performance and longevity justify the investment for avid home cooks. Give Chefs Foundry strong consideration if wanting pro-caliber gear that enhances everyday cooking.