I went to Sam's Club a couple of months ago, fully intending on buying a cookware set. I wasn't sure which to get and I must have walked up and down the aisle 10 times. A man that was giving out samples finally asked if he could help me. He said he was a Chef and when I told him what I wanted, he highly recommended Wolfgang Puck's 18 piece Cookware Set. The set was selling for $99.98 and I had 2 $50 gift cards I received from a rewards website I belong to. The total set was going to cost me pretty much the 7% sales tax of $6.97.
I had always wanted a professional cookware set and still had a few teflon pieces, but our home has a flat top stove and they say it's best to get pots that are completely flat so the heat distributes better throughout the pan. Until I got this set, I was using pans that my mother passed down to me and needless to say, they were way over used and the teflon in the large pans were all starting to peel.
A word of caution to bird owners: If you were not aware, teflon pans are dangerous to birds that are in your home and even moreso if the teflon is beginning to crack or peel. The teflon releases a poison that will possibly kill your bird. And any teflon pans that are peeling just aren't safe to cook with for your family any more either. Get rid of them.
These Wolfgang Puck pans have an aluminum core, so they heat up hot and I tend to forget and have started to burn a few meals but caught it in time.The heating in these pans is great - just remember to keep the heat setting around medium and your food will be fine.
I liked that several of the glass lids had a colander strainer built into the band on the lid.
They are oven safe up to 400 degrees with the lids. However, I haven't used mine in the oven yet.
My 18 piece set includes:
An omelet pan
1 quart saucepan with pour spout and colander cover lid (strainer)
3 quart saucepan with pour spout and colander cover lid (strainer)
5 quart dutch oven with glass cover (my favorite piece)
8 quart stockpot with glass cover
8 inch omelet pan
11 inch sauté pan with glass cover
All of the utensils and handles of this set fit into the hand wonderfully. The pan handles do not get hot while cooking and even thought the glass lids don't have a steam hole, I have never had a problem when removing a lid to check on the food in the pan. Just always use caution when lifting a lid of trapped steam.
The whole set is dishwasher safe, but we always hand wash everything.
The pans are marketed as non-stick and there is a slight coating on the pans, but they are stainless steel professional grade pans. So if you keep the heat controlled, you will not have a problem of the food sticking. But in cases when the food DID stick, we just soaked the pan in a little soapy water and waited a little bit and then they wiped out beautifully.
I can't begin to say how much I love this set and I use at least one piece of it every day.
I also love the whisk because the mixing wires are nice and wide. All of the utensils have nice long handles too.
Update On May 25, 2010: These pans are really easier to clean than I originally thought. Of course you still have to control the heat and not turn the burner up too high or the food will burn. That's not really bad though because that just means the heat is being distributed evenly and that you don't need a high flame or high setting.
They come out of the dishwasher looking like new, so I am very pleased with them.
Update On Jun 21, 2010: This set of pots and pans came in handy when my sister just visited. I think every one was used during that week and the clean up was very easy.