Pros: High quality, low price
I am not a gourmet cook. I tend to make things stick to Honey's sauté pans, That often leaves behind the crust I want on the food. I wanted a sauté pan with a non-stick coating and with heavy enough material to not easily warp while it held and spread the heat of an electric cook element. Walking through Costco one fine day, a set of pans jumped into the cart. It was clear they wanted a new home and we could accommodate them in our kitchen.
Tramontina Pro 3004: 2 Pack Saute Pan Set (8" & 10")
We weren't familiar with the brand so some research on the internet was undertaken after they came home. Costco does have a liberal return policy. What we found out is that, like other quality brands, Tramontina produces several levels of quality cookware. Their top line of Tri-Ply cookware compares favorably with All-Clad at about half the price, for instance. The aluminum non-stick cookware is produced by Tramontina USA at their Wisconsin factory, then packaged and distributed through their facility in Sugarland, Texas. The packaging does note that the handles are made in China. Other of their lines are produced globally. At each level of quality, Tramontina seeks to provide the best at a competitive price. With their Pro line they have succeeded admirably. The Costco price for these was under $27.00. This set carries a lifetime guarantee.
The set consists of two sauté pans, one 8" the other 10". Most cooks would prefer a 12" pan, but for my purposes these two sizes are ideal. The small one just covers the smaller electric element of our stove and the larger does the same for the larger element.. The pan's Aluminum Alloy 3004 is coated inside with a premium non-stick finish. The cookware is NSF certified. The outside is finished in brushed aluminum. The stainless steel handle attaches to the pan with heavy rivets. There is a removable (for use in an oven up to 400 degrees for instance) silicon grip over the end of the handle. This comes in red or blue. The Costco package had blue grips. The pan feels heavy and the aluminum is tapered from thicker on the bottom to a little thinner on the side. We have found the heat to be even with no noticeable hot spots. The packaging recommended an initial seasoning which we accomplished easily and quickly. As with most fine cookware and kitchen cutlery, hand washing is recommended even though the pans are dishwasher safe. Cleanup after use is so easy there really is no reason to risk them in a dishwasher. Any metal pan can warp. It is recommended that these pans not be subjected to fast temperature swings. For example, let them cool before washing.
In use we have really enjoyed the non-stick qualities and even heat distribution of these pans. Only low to moderate heat is needed. The aluminum heats quickly, especially considering the stove's electric element has to heat first. We only use plastic, wooden, or silicon coated implements. Once the pan is cool, a quick wash with warm soapy water and a dishcloth gets even stuck-on foods off easily. We do remove the silicon grip when cleaning and wait until it is completely dry before reinstalling it. If the non-stick surface does get discolored, Bon Ami or Barkeeper's friend will take care of it. It works to brighten the aluminum and stainless steel as well. Of course, harsh cleaners or abrasive cleaning pads should never be used. We recently took a course for beginning cooks. A homework assignment was to make a cheese 3-egg omelet. The instructor demonstrated with a non-stick pan. Our omelet was so easy to handle in our Tramontina that making omelets will become one of the pan's regular uses. We can use the 8" pan to sauté ingredients like mushrooms for the omelet and the 10" pan to make the omelet.
Part of our research on the internet was reviews and blogs by other users of Tramontina professional non-stick cookware. Each review and blurb was uniformly positive. Some had been using theirs for several years with no problems. We believe we will have the same positive results.