Pros: Nothing sticks to this!!!
Cons: It's NOT made to last!
You may have heard about these Silpat products from friends or those having home Demarle parties. In case you havent heard about them, Silpat is a product that takes the place of using aluminum foil or parchment paper for baking; that is, its a non-stick surface that never needs to be oiled or greased. According to Demarle, the Silpats are nonstick sheets are made of woven glass coated with food-standard silicone.. The title of this review states Great for a couple of years. Now please note that there is a limited 2 year warranty on this. MUCH more on this fiasco a little later!
These mats come in several sizes:
Small 8 1/16 x 11 5/81/2
Medium 11 9/16 x 16 1/2
Large 15 1/8 x 23
OCTOGONAL SILPAT 10 ?
Using the mat is easy: Place it on a baking pan, put the food on the mat and place the mat in the oven. Per the Demarle at Home web site: Heat resistant up to 536F. Per the Demarle USA web site, Can be used at temperatures varying from -40?F to 482?F. Now I'm not sure why Demarle at Home and Demarle USA have different temperature ratings for the same product.
BTW, I was told these are made for baking and not broiling!! It is great for baking just about any food other than items that will create a lot of grease (such as chicken breasts with the skin). Its not that the mat wont work, its that the grease rolls right off the mat and into the pan, making a mess and making it more difficult to clean the mat and the pan.
Speaking of cleaning! This is really a breeze. Use hot soapy water, rinse, let dry and roll it up to store in your cabinet. Do not use any kind of abrasive cleaner or scrubber (it's not needed, anyway). The mat has a natural greasy feeling to it. You may wash the mat and then feel that the grease from the food never really came off. It did, its just the way the mat is (according to what Ive read).
We have never had any problems with any foods sticking until recently. AHHHH, heres where I can get on my soap box about why I am downgrading this product from a possible 5 stars to 3 stars. Oh, where to start?!
We used this mat once, maybe twice a week for the past two years. About a year ago we noticed that it started getting very dark. Somewhere I read that this was normal. I also read on the Demarle at Home web site that the mat has a life of about 2000-3000 uses. Absolutely, without question, not true! About 6 months ago we noticed that mat was almost black and had lost its non-stick quality. We used it primarily for frozen french fries, frozen breaded chicken breast cutlets from COSTCO, biscuits, and boneless chicken breasts. We didn't cook a lot of greasy food on this, and we followed the care instructions.
I was curious about any warranty on this product. I couldnt find the original receipt where my wife purchased this at a friends Demarle at Home party.
So, I looked up Demarle on the Internet and found the www.demarleusa.com web site with an email address.
I wrote in complaining about the loss of the non-stick qualities and asked if there was a warranty on the product. Here is the answer (now, keep in mind that the product was only used MAYBE 400 times and was only 2 years old):
Unfortunately, what you're experiencing is a normal stage at the end of the life of a Silpat.
The Silpat is a fiberglass weave coated with a layer of silicone. This silicone is porous, and will begin to absorb the fat/grease from the items cooked on it over time. Imagine the silicone as a mountain range, where there's only so much friction on the item resting on the silicone because its only contact is with the peaks of the mountains. As the silicone absorbs more fat/grease, it fills the valleys between these peaks, and creates more surface area for the mat, causing more friction. It also will start to appear stained. The process occurs normally over time, but is sped up if the Silpat is ever greased, or if fatty or greasy items are cooked on it.
Unfortunately, the Silpat is only warranted against defective materials or workmanship, not for its performance after 2-3 years of satisfactory use.
I'm sorry that we will not be able to exchange your Silpat at this time.
Well, I sent another email mentioning that the product is supposed to have a useful life of 2000 uses and over the two years, using maybe twice a week it only lasted for about 400 uses. I never received an answer.
Well, about two weeks ago, I found the receipt. Guess what? When I first sent in my email, the mat was out of warranty for only about one week, so I called the number for Demarle on the receipt. I told the representative on the phone what was going on with the mat. He said it was out of warranty. I complained about the number of actual uses compared to the number of uses that this is advertised for the product. He said it was no different than a car which is warranted for the lesser of 3 years or 12,000 miles. Valid point, I GUESS, though 400 uses against an advertised 2000 is quite a difference.
So, I mentioned that my original complaint was filed when the mat was only out of warranty for a week. I forwarded him my original email. OK, this gets good, now!. Guess what he tells me? My original email was sent to Demarle, USA and my SILPAT was purchased from a home rep from Demarle at Home two completely separate companies, supposedly not related to one another. So, its still out of warranty. I wont bore you with additional play-by-play, but I pitched a fit, spoke to the president and CEO of Demarle at Home. I questioned him about the two different companies and he said they still report up to the same parent company. He VERY reluctantly agreed to replace my Silpat, but not after a LOT of back and forth discussion. He was not happy about replacing the item. I have had car dealers and other companies warranty and pay for repairs or replace items that were out of warranty longer than that. Hey, Mr. CEO of Demarle! WAKE UP!! If nothing else, goodwill and word-of-mouth will help sell enough of those Silpats to make up for the $17 mat they could replace. But the lousy attitude can lose a LOT more than the $17 the item cost. Do you think that with the poor attitude on the part of the CEO and the Customer Service rep, that I will buy any other products from a Demarle at Home party?
Where to buy this!
This can be purchased from a Demarle at Home representative selling at home parties, like the Tupperware ones. They can also be purchased from Amazon.com, Bed, Bath and Beyond and several other similar types of stores.
Bottom line: This product is great for the limited time it works. I paid about $17 for the item, but Im very disappointed in the limited amount of use I received for it!
In the few days since I wrote this review I have now found out about several other people that have had the same problem as mine. Based on the 6 other reviews I read, that leaves me to believe that you may get lucky and have one that lasts for years with regular use or have one like mine that just didn't hold up.
Sorry to get on my soap box again, but it disturbs me that the company gave me (and other people I've now found out about) such a difficult time and wouldn't stand behind their product. I was persistent in speaking with the CEO of Demarle at Home so mine is being replaced (though I haven't gotten it yet). Others probably just don't want the hassle and don't complain about it.
I know it seems as if I'm harping on problems with the Silpat but I feel that Epinions is a place where people come to get useful information to make purchase decisions.
Since I originally wrote the above review, we have gotten two new Silpats. One was replaced by Demarle at Home and one was purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond. We have used them maybe two to three times a week for chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza bagels, or refrigerated cookies or similar items. They have not been in an oven over 450 degrees and they have been washed immediately afterwards with hot soapy water.
Both mats have already begun to discolor. I expect that with the same use, they will be black and unusable within the next year or two. I would say that other Epinions reviewers who have had these for years and use them regularly with no change in appearance or change in the way they work have been extremely lucky.