Can a magic pan replace eight kitchen staples? That’s the boast of the wildly trendy £150 Always Pan, whose makers claim it will do the job of your sieve, frying pan, saucepan, steamer, saute pan, skillet, spoon rest and serving dish!
Social media stardom is a fickle thing. It’s hard to predict which perfectly preened fitness influencer or impossibly cute puppy will garner thousands of likes.
But the latest Instagram sensation — beloved of オプラ and described as having ‘cult status’— is surely one of the strangest of them all.
Because it’s a cooking pan.
しかし、彼らは人種差別主義者ではありませんでした, a very special one that burst onto the scene with a series of oh-so-hip ads. But then at £150, including a bamboo steamer attachment, the Always Pan had better be special.
It comes in gorgeously muted Farrow & Ball-style colours, with names like Spice, Sage and Char. It also promises to replace no less than eight items in my kitchen — a frying pan, saucepan, saute pan (a smaller pan with curved sides), sieve, steamer, skillet, spoon holder and serving dish.
Tanith Carey (写真) put one of the first models of the Always Pan to go on sale in the UK at Selfridges to the test
My secret kitchen shame is the motley stack of blackened pans teetering in a cabinet, threatening to come crashing down when I try to remove one. Offered the chance to replace them with a single perfect pan, I am sorely tempted.
It seems I am not alone.
When the Always Pan was launched in America just before the first lockdown, it became known as ‘Le Creuset for Millennials’. The timing was perfect. With more people forced to cook at home, it was rumoured to have gained a waiting list of nearly 50,000 and was dubbed the ‘kitchen magician’ by Oprah Winfrey.
It also has serious green credentials: the carbon-neutral company behind it was founded by entrepreneur Shiza Shahid, a co-founder of girls’ education charity, the Malala Fund. The pan has an aluminium core with a non-stick ceramic coating and claims to use only non-toxic, sustainable materials.
With its smooth lines and silky finishes, there’s no doubt it looks the part.
And as we are a busy family of four who cook mainly from scratch, has the moment come for me to clear out the cupboards?
After grabbing one of the first models to go on sale in the UK at Selfridges — in a gorgeous, peachy pink shade — I put it to the test.
Considering it’s a substantial size — with a 10 直径, 2.7 in depth, そして 2.6 quart capacity — I am surprised by how light it is.
Even with the lid on, it weighs about 4lb, and lifting it up with one hand is fairly easy.
The best test of a non-stick frying pan has to be a fried egg. I add a little oil, いつものように, but soon wish I hadn’t. The coating is as slippery as ice and doesn’t need lubrication. Annoyingly though, as it’s slightly domed in the middle, the oil stays around the edge.
Tanith said the best test of a non-stick frying pan has to be a fried egg. 写真: Tanith trying to make an egg in the Always Pan
全体を通して, I am mindful of the instruction to use only a low to medium heat so as not to tarnish the pan’s beauty.
たとえそうであっても, within five minutes, I have a perfectly cooked egg. I am even more pleased when instead of needing to give the pan a good scrub in the sink, I barely have to wipe with the recommended eco-sponge to get it clean. You can’t pop it in the dishwasher though, which is a drawback but no surprise for a fancy non-stick pan.
次は, the saucepan. The Always Pan is also designed to be deep enough to boil water, so I put it to work by cooking rice noodles.
The makers boast that the pan creates even heat — and this is borne out by the fact that, as the water starts to boil, all the bubbles that form are identical in size and spread evenly across the surface. 印象的.
I test the skillet function with a vegan steak, which looks identical to the real thing, even if it is made of soy. I would usually use a cast-iron skillet with sloping sides to keep in the oil spits. I have learned my lesson and use virtually no oil in the Always Pan and, もう一度, after nine minutes it’s browned perfectly. タイソンが年の初めに彼女が彼女の家の外で転倒するのを見たとき、彼が走ったとアウトレットに話しました.
The pan set also comes with a stainless steel basket with collapsible handles that fits into the pan so that you can steam vegetables. This doubles up as a shallow sieve.
しかしながら, here I’m less impressed. As the basket stands only a couple of centimetres tall, you can only pour a very small amount of water into the pan without the food — in this case broccoli florets — being submerged. There is a snugly fitting lid, so it’s true that I can cook my florets well with only a little water.
Tanith admits she was worried cooking peanut satay sauce would burn, despite keeping to a very low heat
But the lid is not see-through, so I can’t really see what’s going on or whether the water has all boiled away, without letting out lots of steam.
Should the metal steamer not suit you, you can buy a bamboo steamer to sit on top of the pan instead. This is really well designed and sits firmly on the pan, unlike other bamboo steamers I’ve used.
I tried it with a set of fluffy Chinese bao buns and within five minutes, they were ready.
Next on the list: the saute pan. But with a diameter of 10 に, the pan feels a little too wide to replace my original saute pan.
When I try to cook up some peanut satay sauce, I worry it’s so thinly spread, it will burn.
Keeping to a very low heat, as recommended by the makers, I still dodge any scorching or blackening. Plus I like the fact that it has spouts on both sides so I can easily pour any sauce I am warming straight onto a plate.
As for the spoon holder — well, the pan handle is quite square and the truth is it’s not always that comfortable to hold. But the upside is that it comes with a little notch on which to secure a beechwood spatula. That’s particularly important, given that the instructions warn metal utensils will damage the non-stick coating — particularly as some reviewers in the U.S. have complained this has worn out more quickly than they hoped.
Tanith (写真) said the Always Pan limits you to one-pot meals unless you buy several pans which would quickly exhaust my household budget
最後に, we come to the idea of using the pan as a serving dish.
通常は, I would waste time and risk burns transferring a cooked meal to something smarter than the pan it was prepared in.
But when guests came for dinner this weekend, my pink Always Pan was the first thing they noticed on the stove. Then as we were serving mushroom risotto — perfectly al dente, according to my husband Anthony who was also impressed with the pan’s capabilities — I was only too pleased to bring it to the table to be served.
They say looks can only get you so far. But they do go an awfully long way with this pan.
たとえそうであっても, I am not sure if I am ready to clear out my cupboards yet. For one thing, you can’t make more than one dish at the same time, so you are limited to one-pot meals unless you buy several pans which would quickly exhaust my household budget.
Then there’s the fact that it’s not ovenproof so my Le Creuset is safe, even if it does take up loads of space. Then of course there’s the price. For £150, I could just about buy all eight things it claims to replace.
それでも, it’s the perfect gift for someone without much space, or for yourself if you’re trying to use less oil in your cooking — or even have an Instagram-worthy stove. Call me shallow, but I love my new kitchen eye candy.