Kitchn Love Letters

I’m a Former Pastry Chef, and This New Stainless Steel Cookware Line Is the Only One I’m Using from Now On

published Feb 2, 2023
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All-Clad G5 Graphite Collection
Credit: Williams Sonoma

Here’s the deal: If you’ve ever owned a piece of All-Clad cookware, you know that the brand truly does make some of the best, long-lasting, high-performance, stainless-steel cookware on the market. If you’ve never cooked in one, allow me to provide a little insight. I was lucky enough to grow up with a few of these essentials in my house as a kid, and when I moved into my first apartment, my parent’s gave in to my relentless pleas to pretty please inherit my favorite of our family cookware: the beloved D3 Sauté Pan. And, I’ve been cooking in it ever since — it’s been a mainstay of my kitchen adventures for over two decades now. It still looks practically brand new, is pretty much nonstick when it’s hot, and, true to its name, is without a single stain.

When I heard All-Clad was releasing a new line — the G5 (also called Graphite) Collection — I had to take it for a spin. Call me an All-Clad fangirl if you wish, but I was interested to see if it was possible to improve upon my trusted 20-year-old pan and, if so, how in the world did the cherished cookware brand do it? So, I got my hands on the new 3-Qt. Sauté Pan (the same size and shape as the aforementioned D3) to see what the difference was.

Straight out of the box, I was shocked by how lightweight this pan is. I mean, thinking back to childhood, we needed multiple people to lift the stack of pans in the drawer to retrieve any piece of cookware that was near the bottom — but not anymore, I guess! I could stack 10 of these sauté pans and probably lift the whole pile singlehandedly.

This lack of heft is all thanks to an innovative new use of a graphite core (hence the collection’s name), replacing the brand’s traditional heavy, yet effective, copper core. In switching core metals, All-Clad discovered a few things. First, the pieces of cookware turned out to be a whopping 80 percent lighter than their copper counterparts. Second, graphite is even more conducive to quick and even heat distribution than the brand’s previous pieces. Third, it eliminates the potential for hot spots (which result in uneven browning and the occasional burning) and cools rapidly, making cleanup even easier than it was before.

Now, having experience with the pan, I can tell you: All of All-Clad’s graphite revelations are truly noticeable. I whipped up some tofu katsu the other night, and I was actually amazed at how fast the grapeseed oil got to frying temp. While I usually would’ve been waiting for the oil to heat up as I cut, prepared, and breaded my tofu, the pan was fry-ready before I even had a chance to dip the first piece into my favorite GF breadcrumbs. Furthermore, when pan searing a piece of miso-glazed salmon, I flipped the fish without any skin sticking and with a totally even, golden-brown crust along the bottom (truly an uncommon occurrence with a large piece of fish that spans a good length of the pan).

Credit: Stella Totino

In terms of cleanup, what they say is true here as well. No matter how messy my meals get (red sauce, caramel, risotto, etc.) I’ve had zero complaints in lifting residue from the surface of this pan. A simple suds and a rub a dub and it’s as good as new. Plus, at 3 quarts, it’s being large enough to cook a main dish for a family of four, but it’s still not too cumbersome to handle in a sink full of soapy water.

Look, I know the price of this pan is no small thing. For starters I would never advise anyone to spend their hard earned dough on anything that wasn’t absolutely worth the moolah. And, while there are tons of totally stellar pans out there (like the rest of this collection), there’s no doubt that this particular purchase will prove itself time and time again. I’m a huge proponent of the sauté pan in general; its tall walls prevent splatters and retain moisture when the top’s on and its wide, broad base give ample room for basically any culinary activity. I’d argue the sauté pan is the OG all-in-one-pan — it takes on the functionality of a multitude of different cookware pieces. But, if you’re going to invest in one, let it be this one, it’s truly the best pan that’s ever graced my stove.