Cookware Buying Guide


We don’t need to tell you how important it is to have a good, thorough range of high quality cookware available in your kitchen area.  Make sure everything is up to industrial standards, capable of plenty of use, easy to clean, with heat resistant handles to protect from scalds and burns and large enough to cope with the demand of a restaurant/pub or bar.  Cookware encompasses a huge plethora of different equipment including pans, bakeware and serve-ware and comes in a number of different sizes, shapes and materials. Able to cope with a multitude of tasks it’s often difficult to narrow it down to exactly what you need for professional equipment.  To make it easy for you, this guide will help you and Alliance has plenty of high quality, premium performance items available on the website to cope with your requirements.

Which Material?

Black iron is excellent value and made out of steel.  The disadvantage is it does run the risk of rusting and it is more difficult to clean than other materials.  If you choose black iron, make sure it is completely dried after washing as otherwise the material tarnishes.  When using black iron first use a layer of salt inside and heat it up high, then remove the salt and replace it with cooking oil.  Heat this until it smokes, once it starts smoking, the pan is ready to be used.  Beware, if you wash black iron in soapy water then the salting process must be repeated. 

Aluminium is the most popular material in catering kitchens and it is another cost-effective choice.  It is inexpensive and does not corrode.  Additionally it heats up well.  However, like any material it has its disadvantages and one of these being that it sometimes has a reaction to acidic foods and can therefore taint the flavour.  It also can’t be used on induction hobs.  For the best results, choose aluminium pots and pans with a thicker base as this helps to spread the heat evenly.  For open-top cooking choose bases of 3mm to 4mm but for hard use, you will need heavy-duty pans with bases of 7mm+ as these perform brilliantly.

Stainless Steel is becoming increasingly more popular especially with hotel kitchens and restaurants. There are many reasons for this, namely:

  • Stainless steel does not tarnish.
  • Stainless steel is easy to clean.
  • Stainless steel is hygienic.
  • Stainless steel does not stick.

Again, look for stainless steel cookware with a layered base, the heavier duty your needs, the thicker the base.

Copper used to be the favoured material in traditional kitchens but these cookware items are less popular nowadays, replaced by stainless steel.  Copper is constructed with tin to protect food from copper cross-contamination.

Non-Stick you should have a few items of non-stick cookware available because it is ideal for delicate dishes such as eggs, omelettes, fish etc. and a non-stick frying pan is perfect for low-fat cooking.  If budget is key, look for non-stick coated aluminium.

Stoneware these are still very popular and come in a variety of different colours so they are often used on buffets and serveries.  Stoneware keeps food hot for a while and can withstand very high temperatures during cooking - right up to 250°C.  However, while they are suitable for the dishwasher, microwave and oven they are not suitable for use on the hob.  To get food stains and stubborn food off of stoneware, soak in water but never use scouring pads because these will scratch the inside.

Enamelled Cast Iron pots are suitable for oven to counter as they often come in attractive shapes and colours.  You cannot use these for frying as they often stick.  These are made out of strong cast iron and coated with enamel preventing rust.

Points to remember:

  • Look for hardwearing, long lasting and durable materials.
  • Have a variety of different materials.
  • Include non-stick in your collection.
  • Look for oven to tableware items.

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