Demeyere (pronounced Deh-MAI-reh) is a Belgian company founded in 1908 as a family business. 100 years later, the family sold the company to Zwilling J. A. Henckels (itself owned by the Werhahn Group, a German family investment firm that also owns Staub and other high-end brands).
A HISTORY OF DEMEYERE’S PRODUCT LINES
We’ve previous looked at Demeyere Proline Skillets and Resto and Demeyere Atlantis/John Pawson straight-sidewall product lines. Today we finish up by looking at Demeyere’s curved-sidewall (“conic”) Atlantis products.
First, a bit of history. Demeyere builds its product lines in an unusual way. Their philosophy may be summed up as:
- Skillets should be thick and cladded, with aluminum running up the sidewalls so that you can cook on them just as you would on the bottom. The thickness must be very thick to have great heat retention, so that a cold steak or fish tossed in won’t crash the temperatures so much.
- Curved-sidewall pieces should be cladded to ensure even heat distribution for sauces, stews, and other thick liquids, but not so thick as skillets since that’s unnecessary and would make the curved piece less responsive to changes in burner strength. Curved sidewall pieces have larger top diameters than bottom diameters, and this speeds up evaporation. That’s good for sauce reduction and also allows the pan to be used for frying.
- Straight-sidewall pots (such as saucepans, stock pots, and casseroles) should be disc-base only with thin stainless steel sidewalls that have no cladding. Thin stainless steel walls are in theory more efficient for long simmers, as less heat gets stolen from the bottom disc and radiated into the kitchen as waste heat, than if the sidewalls had heat-conductive aluminum or copper. As for even heating vertically as well as horizontally, Demeyere assumes that straight-sided pieces would be used to boil water or other thin liquids, and that the liquid itself will transport heat and smooth out temperature differences. (What about times when you want to make very thick stews, oatmeal, etc. and would like hot sidewalls to lessen the need to stir? Presumably Demeyere’s response would be to use the cladded curvy-sidewalled conic sauteuses instead.)
Within each product type (skillet, curvy, straight), Demeyere has multiple product lines.
- Proline aka Five-Star aka Gold Skillets (I review it here). Demeyere’s top-of-the-line skillet is known by various names, like Proline, Five-Star, and simply “Gold.” The stainless-aluminum-stainless cladding runs up the sidewalls. 4.8 mm in total thickness.
- Multiline or Four-Star or Silver Skillets are not available in the USA anymore. They are worse than Proline–offering only 3.3 mm thickiness–yet cost almost as much.
- STRAIGHT SIDEWALL
- Atlantis (I review it here). Demeyere’s best straight-sidewall product line is Atlantis, with flare rims for drip-free pouring, “Silvinox” treatment for a harder, slicker, “more stainless than 18/10 stainless” finish, stainless steel lids on all pieces, comfortable cast stainless steel handles, and 2 mm thick copper discs for quick and even heating. The copper disc is the same diameter as the pot or pan, so as to avoid temperature discontinuities at the edges of the pot or pan.1
- Pawson (I review it here). Pawson is an inferior variant of Atlantis. In 2008, Demeyere hired architect John Pawson to reimagine Demeyere Atlantis. This resulted in Demeyere John Pawson, which was a clone of Demeyere Atlantis, but with slightly better covers, much worse handles, no holes for hanging, and a higher price. I would not buy another Pawson piece ever again; just get Atlantis which is better and cheaper.
- Apollo. Apollo used to be sold in the USA many years ago as a slightly lower-priced, somewhat worse alternative to Atlantis. The good news is that Apollo had Silvinox treatment. Otherwise, Apollo was inferior to Atlantis. Apollo used ~4.8 mm thick aluminum discs that were less responsive than the copper discs in Atlantis, and the Apollo discs were significantly smaller than the diameter of the pot, like almost every other disc-base product line. This allows thermal discontinuities at the edges of the cooking surface. On gas this means the possibility of a scorched ring around the bottom surface. On electric/induction this means a ring of undercooked food unless you continually stir. Apollo also lacks flare rims for drip-free pouring, and some pieces use Pyrex lids instead of stainless steel lids. If you’re interested in Apollo-like cookware (thick disc bases that don’t reach the edges), I’d recommend Sitram Profiserie or Paderno Grand Gourmet (Series 1100/2100) instead. If you want cookware with thick aluminum or copper disc bases that go all the way to the edges, I’d recommend Demeyere Atlantis, Fissler Original Pro/Solea, or Cuisinart Professional Series Stainless instead.
- CURVED SIDEWALL
- Atlantis. Demeyere’s best curved-sidewall product line is Atlantis. Curved-sidewall products are called various things by Demeyere, usually “conic,” “simmering pot,” or “Dutch oven.” The stainless-aluminum-stainless cladding runs up the sides. The 5.1 quart and 3.5 quart pieces are 3.3 mm thick (2.2 mm of which is aluminum). Smaller pieces are 3 mm thick (2 mm aluminum).2
- Pawson (I review it here). Pawson is an inferior variant of Atlantis, and the sidewalls don’t go from horizontal to vertical in as smooth of a curve as with regular Atlantis pieces; this makes for more of a corner where food can be trapped as it’s harder to whisk or stir into the corners. In 2008, Demeyere hired architect John Pawson to reimagine Demeyere Atlantis. This resulted in Demeyere John Pawson, which was a clone of Demeyere Atlantis, but with slightly better covers, much worse handles, no holes for hanging, and a higher price. I would not buy another Pawson piece ever again; just get Atlantis which is better and cheaper.
- Apollo. Same thing as Atlantis, except that Apollo curved-sidewall pieces have less comfortable handles, no flared rims for drip-free pouring, and some lids are made out of Pyrex glass instead of stainless steel. This means that unlike straight-sidewall pieces, Apollo and Atlantis have equal thermal performance.
Here is Demeyere’s video presentation of Atlantis (and Proline skillets):
THE SUMMARY SO FAR, AND THE PRODUCT BEING REVIEWED
Demeyere’s second-best product lines (Multiline for skillets and Apollo for everything else) cost almost as much as Demeyere’s best product lines (Proline skillets and Atlantis for everything else). Given such small price differences, it’s pointless to buy Multiline or Apollo even if they were still available.
I no longer have an Atlantis curved-sidewall piece, so I’m basing this review on memory (of my 2.6-quart Demeyere Atlantis conic sauteuse) and on my Apollo 5.1-quart curved-sidewall conic sauteuse. Even though I’m using an Apollo sauteuse, it’s still relevant for Demeyere Atlantis Conic Sauteuses because there are only a few differences: Atlantis has better handles, flared rims, and a stainless steel lid instead of a Pyrex glass lid. Everything else is the same (thermal performance, thickness, shape, Silvinox surface treatment, rivetless handle design, etc.).
This is what a Demeyere Atlantis conic sauteuse (4.8L/5.1 quart) looks like:
All Demeyere Atlantis pieces are made in Belgium and induction-compatible.
Demeyere Atlantis Overall Rating: 4.7/5 Excellent. For an explanation of ratings methodology, click here.
Cleanup: 4/5 Very Good. I’ve been pretty happy with making sauces, pasta, curry rice, and a ton of other dishes in my 5.1 conic sauteuse. That said, stainless steel (inox) is not Teflon and should not be compared to Teflon (which wears off) or ceramic (which loses its nonstick ability over time and heat), but Demeyere pans help minimize stickiness in several ways:
- You can pre-heat the pan with some oil to ensure that foods only encounter lubricated hot steel, which is a lot less sticky than bare, not-so-hot steel. Preheat the pan, then add oil, THEN add food. Do not put oil into a cold pan and heat them up together; it doesn’t work as well.
- You can deglaze with something as simple as water or as fine as wine; in either case, the liquid will bubble off some stuck-on bits and make for easier cleaning after dinner.
- Demeyere’s proprietary “Silvinox” treatment apparently means dipping the pans into an electrochemical bath to boost chromium and nickel concentrations on the surface, by stripping out iron and impurities. Demeyere insists that this means their Silvinox-treated steel is harder and more corrosion-resistant that normal stainless steel. It might also mean less sticky cooking surfaces. In my experience it’s still stainless and can stick, but you can’t find any other stainless steel cookware that is as nonstick as Silvinox-treated Demeyere. Even if you do get some stuck-on bits, a brief soak and a sponge scrub usually removes such bits unless they are really burned-on, which case, use a little Bar Keepers Friend powder. (If you prefer a non-abrasive alternative, try Demeyere Non-Abrasive Cleaner.)
Durability: 5/5 Excellent. These conic sauteuses range from 3.3 mm total thickness for the largest two sizes (5.1 and 3.5 quarts) to 3 mm total thickness for smaller sizes. That’s thicker than All-Clad Stainless (~2.6 mm total thickness), so if All-Clad Stainless is almost indestructible, then these Demeyere pieces are even more so. The Atlantis handle and welds are good, and in any case, Demeyere pans come with 30-year warranties for home cooks.
Even heating: 5/5 Excellent. As a saucepan, this pan is great. The thick aluminum distributes heat well up the sides and makes for less need for stirring than saucepans without cladding. The gentle slope up and out means your sauces can reduce in less time and also means that you can fry, as more of the water vapor escapes than if the sidewalls were straight.
As a sauté pan, this piece feels like a high-sided 9.5-inch (24 cm) sauté pan with two short handles instead of a long handle–so you can’t “jump” the pan but can lift it up and try to toss food that way if you prefer. (I just let the pot sit and push food around with a spatula instead.) The top diameter is 11 inches (28cm), and the bottom flat cooking surface diameter is about is 8 inches (20cm). This pan’s steep sidewalls make it harder to get a turner underneath food for flipping, so I wouldn’t make, say, crepes, on it.
As a simmering pot or Dutch Oven, this pan does pretty well. We cook one-pot meals sometimes, so it’d be nice to have more bottom surface area to do things like brown meat, but it’s not bad.
This thick (3.3mm total thickness–compare to ~2.6mm for All-Clad Stainless) conic sauteuse has good thermal mass to help ensure that temperatures don’t drop too much when you throw in, say, a cold steak. Pans which are too thin will drop in temperature like a rock, necessitating an awkward time period where you wait for temperatures to come back up and sort of steam the food in the interim. If you don’t have such a steep thermal dropoff, your food cooks in the ideal temperature range for longer and consequently tastes better due to Maillard reactions.
Handling and ease of use: 5/5 Excellent. I’ve handled both Atlantis and Apollo handles. Atlantis handles look good and stay cool. The Apollo handles are simply thin rods of stainless steel, so they perform fine but look uglier. Both get the job done and don’t heat up too much on the stovetop. The Apollo conic sauteuse (4.8 liter/5.1 quart) weighs 1830/2740 grams (without and with lid). That’s 4.03 and 6.04 pounds, respectively, though the Demeyere Atlantis pieces will weight slightly different due to somewhat larger handles and a slightly lighter stainless steel lid. Since you can use both hands, and there is little torque since you are lifting the pot so close to the body, I don’t see a problem with the weight at all.
On Atlantis, the rolled lips make pouring easy; fluid doesn’t dribble down the sides when you pour. Apollo lacks this feature.
Value: 4/5 Very Good. See Conclusion.
Versatility: 5/5 Excellent. The shape is very conducive to stirring and whisking–there are no rivets or corners to trap food in. The smooth curvy shape makes it easy to reach every part of the cooking surface with a spatula or other utensil, thus lessening the risk of overcooking food that gets trapped in a corner. Demeyere Atlantis is dishwasher-safe and oven-safe to at least 500F, and you can use metal utensils on them if you don’t mind scratching them up. It’s easy to develop fond and yet also easy to clean the Silvinox-treated stainless cooking surface. The 5.1-quart Atlantis conic sauteuse is about 3.75 inches (9.5 cm) tall without the lid, and even with the lid adding a couple of inches, it should slide into most ovens with no problems.
Demeyere Atlantis Conic Sauteuses are unique. They offer the thickest stainless-aluminum-stainless cladding in any sauteuse on the market (3.3mm thick for the 5.1 and 3.5 quart Atlantis conic pieces), have welded handles for easier cleanup, the Silvinox treatment makes the surface harder and slicker, and you can even fry or sauté.
The next step up would be Prima Matera which is more responsive and heats up the sides more evenly, but it’s even more expensive.
The next step down would be the All-Clad 4500 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Dutch Oven with Domed Lid / Cookware, 5.5-Quart, Silver which costs somewhat less, but you go from 3.3 mm thickness to 2.6 mm thickness, you lose Silvinox and rivetless handles, and the All-Clad’s shape is less rounded and more vertical. Alas, the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro (MCP) series is full of straight-sided (not curved) saucepans, so don’t look for relief there. Straight-sidewalled saucepans are good for making sauces but lack the advantage of faster reductions and the ability to use them as frying/sauté pans.
The following are the diameters for the variou Demeyere Conic Sauteuses:
5.1 quart (4.8 liter) = 11 inch (28 cm) top diameter
3.5 quart (3.3 liter) = 9.4 inch (24 cm) top diameter
2.6 quart (2.5 liter) = 8.7 inch (22 cm) diameter
2.1 quart (2 liter) = 7.9 inch (20 cm) diameter
Update: As of July 2016, Pawson appears to be discontinued. Demeyere also sells a Sur La Table exclusive called Demeyere Silver7 which is the same thing as Demeyere Atlantis and Proline, except with squarer handles and double-walled (i.e., better insulated due to an air gap between the top and bottom layers of the lid) lids a la the Demeyere John Pawson line. The Demeyere Silver7 cladded (not disc-base) pans also have rims mostly sealed with stainless steel–there is still a little exposed aluminum on the underside of the rim. So avoid using harsh dishwasher detergents for Silver7 that may eat away at the aluminum. Then again this is probably not a major problem because many people have used cladded pans with exposed aluminum (such as All-Clad) for decades in dishwashers without problems.
- “Silvinox” electrochemical surface treatment means that Demeyere immerses the pan in a chemical wash that decreases the ratio of iron and impurities to chromium/nickel, resulting in 18+/10+ stainless steel, which is shinier, harder, and more corrosion-resistant than untreated 18/10 steel. It’s safe for your health since all it does is remove iron and impurities. Even if it wears off, what’s underneath is simply regular 18/10 stainless steel. Silvinox is slightly less sticky than untreated 18/10 stainless. ↩
- The exception is the Demeyere wok, which is made out of thinner cladding (2.3 mm total thickness) because some stir-frying techniques call for a hot bottom and cooler sidewalls in a wok. Demeyere works are built to achieve 230C bottom and 140C sidewall temperatures (446F and 284F, respectively). ↩