What Pans Do Professional Chefs Use? (Including Michelin Chefs)

Image of a professional chef using a pan

Pots and pans are indispensable in a home kitchen. However, this cookware is equally important in a professional kitchen as well. When a chef cooks, it is not only the recipe or skill that translates into the quality of the dish. Professional chefs greatly depend on their cookware also to produce delicious meals. Since they are experts in cooking and use the best equipment in the market, it makes sense to go by their choices when furnishing our kitchens. So, what pans do professional chefs use?

Professional chefs use a variety of pans, like frying pans, saucepans, sauté pans, skillets, brazier pans, and griddle pans. They prefer stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel, ceramic, and cast-iron pans. These are better for professional kitchens due to their durability and construction quality.

Let’s talk about this in greater detail now.

How Do Professional Cookware Requirements Differ From Domestic Cooking?

Professional cooking is very different from home cooking. Not only is the very approach different but also the scale and equipment used.

Restaurants cater to many customers every day. So, chefs must function quickly and efficiently. They must use large equipment and high heat to whip up dishes at a rapid pace to meet customer demands.

Hence, chefs need high-quality, impact-resistant, durable pans that withstand rough and constant use. The cookware should be able to endure constant use with minimum maintenance and care. In this regard, the following types of construction material work best.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is almost indestructible because it can withstand high heat and does not rust. An additional benefit of this material is that it is very easy to clean. Since stainless steel is an inert material, you can use it for cooking all types of dishes.

Most stainless-steel pans are dishwasher safe as well. Hence, stainless steel is a great choice for professional cooking.

Professional chefs prefer to use stainless steel pans for preparing sauces and sautéing. They do not usually use it for deep frying.

However, professional chefs prefer thick stainless-steel pans over light ones. The thicker the base, the safer it is to use. The thinner versions are prone to overheating and warping.

You may also find stainless steel pans with the base having layers of copper or aluminum. These additional layers make the base sturdier and better equipped to withstand high heat.

2. Carbon Steel

Most professional chefs prefer carbon steel to cast iron pans. Not only are they more durable, but these pans can endure rough handling. You can knock and drag them on stoves without causing any damage.

They are easy to handle and clean. Carbon steel pans will also deliver the characteristic charring or smoky flavor like cast iron.

3. Cast Iron

Cast iron is heavy and tolerates high heat. It distributes heat evenly and lasts for a long time with proper care. Hence, it is a good choice for efficient cooking.

However, cleaning can be a problem as cast iron rusts when it is not dried well. So, professional chefs do not use it extensively in restaurant kitchens. They may use it for frying eggs and making fried rice. However, they usually recommend it for personal use.

4. Ceramic

Professional chefs generally prefer ceramic pans over their non-stick counterparts because they are more durable.

Ceramic is a natural non-stick material. It tolerates high heat and can be used for a variety of cooking tasks. It is also very easy to clean and lasts forever with minimum care.

5. Aluminum

Aluminum is very popular with chefs and home cooks because of how convenient it is to use. Aluminum pans distribute heat evenly and enable quick cooking.

These pans are easy to clean. Being lightweight is another advantage. Chefs can maneuver them easily and use them vigorously. Professional chefs may also like to use enamel-coated or anodized aluminum, which is more resilient and visually appealing than plain aluminum pans.

Now that we have covered the most popular materials used by professional chefs in restaurant kitchens, let us also look at the different types of pans they use.

You may already know that different recipes call for different types of pans. So, professional kitchens will be equipped with a variety of pans for various tasks like cooking, sauce preparation, sauteing, shallow frying, and deep-frying. Let us explore these different types of pans in closer detail.

Related Further Reading:

What Saucepans Do Professional Chefs Use?

Saucepans have a circular base, high sides, and a long handle. They can hold a good quantity of liquid.

Despite their name, saucepans can be used for more than just sauce preparations. You can use them to make pasta, stews, soups, and curries. You can also use it for boiling and simmering liquids, and stewing.

You can find saucepans in all sizes, shapes, and materials. Most chefs prefer carbon steel or stainless steel saucepans. Copper saucepans are also a good choice since copper is a good conductor.

What Frying Pans Do Professional Chefs Use?

Frying pans have a flat base and slightly raised sides. You can use these pans for searing, roasting, shallow frying, and deep-frying. Chefs use frying pans in kitchens to prepare a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, omelets, and batter-fried recipes.

Many chefs prefer aluminum and carbon steel frying pans because they are lightweight. These materials are also durable and resilient.

Some chefs also like cast iron frying pans because they heat evenly, and the heavy base is good for uniform cooking. Cast iron pans develop a layer of seasoning with continued use. This layer creates a natural non-stick surface.

For frying or cooking large amounts of food, a skillet is usually preferred. These pans are thicker and heavier than frying pans. They hold larger quantities of food. Skillets are usually made of carbon steel or cast iron.

Related Further Reading:

What Griddle Pans Do Professional Chefs Use?

Griddle pans are frying pans with parallel ridges in the base. The unique design produces a delicious smoky grilled flavor even though it is used on a stove and not a grill. The ridges will also produce beautiful char marks on meat or vegetables.

Professional chefs use griddle pans for cooking pancakes, eggs, grilled meat and vegetables, and burgers. They prefer cast iron griddle pans because of their heavy base and uniform cooking properties.

What Non-Stick Pans Do Professional Chefs Use?

Non-stick pans are more fragile than other pans. Hence, they are rarely preferred by professional chefs. Non-stick cookware cannot withstand high temperatures or rough handling. Hence, they are rarely seen in professional kitchens.

The only exception may be when the menu includes delicate fish or egg dishes. For non-sticky cooking, chefs usually opt for seasoned cast iron pans or ceramic pans.

Related Further Reading:

What Pans Do Michelin Chefs Use?

Michelin chefs use an extensive range of pans for producing different recipes. The choice for each dish will depend on the quality of construction and material used in the pan.

Many top chefs vouch for layered stainless steel cooking pans made from top-quality material. Some of them prefer premium-quality copper pans.

Some Michelin kitchens, like Alinea and Le Bernardin, also opt for carbon steel pans in very affordable price ranges. Surprisingly, some chefs like Gordon Ramsay use high-quality PFOA-free non-stick pans with a heavy base for cooking.