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Pans For The 1 % : Tucci Loses Touch With the Masses

Stranley Tucci has released a new line of premium cookware. He’s the star of many movies and his celebrated Searching for Italy CNN series. The reviews for his pans are sterling. But they’re priced as though they were plated with gold!

Tucci Cookware Set - © 2024 - Williams SonomaThe whole, grand slam, 15-piece Tucci/Greenpan cookware set.
Available in Teal, White, or polished natural stainless…

Who is Stanley? A refresher…

Tucci, rightfully, has earned raves and adulation for his several seasons of Searching for Italy. I loved it, and even promo-ed it here. And who didn’t love him in movies like Julie and Julia, The devil Wears Prada, and Burlesque? He’s also authored several best-selling cookbooks.

Moreover, his biography reveals he comes from a restauranting family, and has been entranced by all aspects of food and culture since he learned to spell ‘cucina’. Stanley, himself, is a partner in at least one high-end resto.

Some have gone as far to bestow the title ‘guru’ upon him.

So he defintely has the bona fides to stand behind things culinary he approves of.

Now, he’s a cookware line

But now he may have gone too far, lending his name to a new line of exclusive cookwear, simply and elegantly branded ‘Tucci’.

It was created by the boutique metalworking company Greenpan. And it appears to in corporate the full complement of Greenpan’s patented technologies. Those are reported to include the company’s flagship coating, “Thermolon™, the original healthy ceramic nonstick. Instead of plastic, our coating starts with sand. Thermolon™ is the first alternative to traditional nonstick coatings, the first plastic-free nonstick, and the first nonstick coating made without PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium.”

The Tucci pans also incorporate unique features to optimize heat transfer and distribution. And proprietary handles that never get hot.

“We hold over +150 patents for technological advancements designed to make cooking easier and better for everyone,” the Greenpan website boasts.

No pretenses to pretense…

The Tucci line launched exclusively in the UK at stratospherically exclusive Fortnum & Mason, and in the North America at the equally chic Williams Sonoma.

A detailed review…

Emma Henderson, a star foodwriter for the UK’s The Independant, has published as detailed a hands-on review as one could wish for.

She prefaces her standing-at-the-stove experience by stating her intention to evaluate the Tucci pans based on, “cooking all sorts of things,” while judging , “how well it distributes heat, if anything sticks, how easy it is to use practically (including its size and weight), as well as how easy it is to clean, and lastly, considering its cost.”

Okay. I’m all-in.

Easy to use?

Henderson notes, off the top, that the largest Tucci pan, a huge 33 cm / 13 in. straight-sided, low pan, dwarfs the largest ring on her stovetop. Even the largest ring on her beloved induction cooker. Precluding the use of some of her other pans at the same time, for lack of room. And it’s heavy. As heavy, she notes, as a Le Crueset cast iron casserole dish. It’s called ‘The Stanley’. And at a capacity of 6.3 qt. / 6 L, it could cook enough stew to feed a family (or guest list) of 15 or more!

But it does heat up quickly and evenly. Nothing sticks. And the handles do not get too hot to handle. Except if you finish a dish in the oven.

Easy to clean?

You bet. Henderson says it’s the easiest-cleaning pan she’s ever used. Because nothing sticks.

Easy to afford?

Definitely not!

The Tucci pans are priced individually around the same level as full sets of some other ceramic cookware lines. The biggest, the Stanley, will set you back (officially, MSRP) (US)$199.99. The more practical 12 in. / 30pcm fry pan lists at $179. And the grand slam 15-piece full Tucci collection (with lids) is priced at $1,389.99.

My take

The Tucci line is obviously not for everybody. In fact it appears to be targeted at the very top of the non-professional culinary ladder.

Now, I can appreciate that the pans are chemical-free, and do deliver superior non-stick performance. But I can’t justify such a grand expenditure under any circumstances. Visit any commercial or restaurant kitchen, and you won’t find any non-stick-coated pans. Plastic or ceramic. Except, maybe, if the line cooks can’t do omelets the classical French way.

They – and I – rely on standard, rugged stainless steel pots and pans, such as those made by Vollrath or All-Clad. They’re not sold in department stores, like consumer copycats such as Paderno and Lagostina. But you can get them at any professional restaurant supply store. They all have retail shops. And you’ll find the prices relatively reasonable – especially compared to the Tucci line.

Anybody else out there, among the churning, hungry masses, who’s feeling left behind – Heck, abandoned! – by a culinary hero?

~ Maggie J.