It can be pretty confusing when you are looking at waterless cookware because every set seems about the same. As a result, you are at a loss as to which to choose given the difference in price. In fact, such cooking sets can range from less than $200, like the Chef’s Secret 22-piece set for now, to over $2,000 that you are left wondering if the higher priced brands are really worth the money.
Basically, the idea behind waterless cooking is nothing new. It has been around for a long time so, it is not really some advanced technology that makes some brands more expensive than the others. Probably it could be the grade of steel used (which arguably the benefits of a higher grade steel is minimal when it comes to cooking performance), marketing strategy and the place of manufacture. The other differences between the various brands and product lines also come down to the knobs on the lids and of course, the pieces in a set.
Chef’s Secret 22-Piece Set – KTSS22
If you are wondering about the similarity between the Maxam KT17 and Chef’s Secret KTSS22, that is because they both come from the same company. It is just a different product line for marketing purposes. The latter is one of the company’s newer products and the lids carry a thermo-control knob. While Maxam KT17 merely has a steam control valve, the KTSS22 has a thermostat knob. What it does is that it can let you know at a glance if your food is cooking at the right temperature. This way, you will know when to make the necessary adjustment when needed.
While 22 pieces seem a lot in one bundle, there are 2 mixing bowls with lids, a universal steamer, deep frying basket, grater and other accessories thrown into the mix. The essential pieces are a sauce pan (1.7 quartz), 3 casseroles (2.4, 3.3 and 6.4 quartz) and a frying pan (9.5 inches), all with lids. The set is suitable for gas, electric and ceramic stove tops.
This Chef’s Secret waterless cookware set uses 304 surgical stainless steel with 7-ply 12-element construction. You can cook by stacking with this set through a fast and efficient transfer of heat up the sides to the top layer. You can do this by cooking your food in a separate burner until it reaches the desired temperature before stacking it on top of another pot to finish the process. The two advantages are that it saves you energy and it frees up a burner for other uses. Stack cooking is not something new either. Even campers will stack up dutch ovens to cook to save fuel, ground space as well as time.
Should You Buy The KTSS22?
- Price – At the time of writing, this set is being sold at a very affordable price that it is a steal just based on the number of pieces alone. It is even cheaper than the Maxam KT17 which is a 17-piece set and the equally popular Chef’s Secret 15 piece set (KT915). The construction among these sets are slightly different (the KT17 and KT915 sets have a heavier weight) which explained the price differences. But for 22 pieces, it is a value-for-money cookware set at the discounted price. However, it could be slightly more expensive than the 28-Piece 12-Element Stainless Steel Cookware set, but do take note that the 28-piece bundle also has generally poorer reviews overall.
- Acceptable quality – The pots and pans are well-made with a thick bottom for durability. It is sturdy and on the heavy side.
- Easy to clean – Any food that get stuck onto the utensils can be easily removed. Stubborn stains can be removed by soaking or using any stainless steel cleaner with a scouring pad. If you hate to scrub, mix some liquid dish detergent and powdered cleanser with water and heat it up on the stove to wipe away the stains.
- Lids do not last – This is the most common complaint of the KTS22 cookware set. The knobs break after repeated use and will require replacements.
- Some types of food will stick – You still need to cook with a little oil for certain foods such as scrambled egg. Some types of food are more prone to get stuck and this is where good judgement or trial and error is needed. Cooking at too high a temperature will also cause food to get burnt and stuck to the pan.
- Handles are made of plastic – They can melt if the heat is too high, so putting the utensils in the oven is certainly not recommended.
- Too many pieces – You probably don’t need all the pieces that come with the set, especially the non-essential items like the grater and mixing bowls, which will just take up space in your kitchen cabinet.
If you are moving into a new place and your kitchen is bare, then this would be a good starter set to have, especially if you are on a tight budget. If a piece breaks over time, you can gradually replace it one by one, which is the idea for getting cheap cookware. The most likely problem that you would have would be with the lid. It would be unlikely for the pots and pans to break as they are pretty sturdy. So, if you can live with the risk of the lids falling apart after a while, it is not too bad a deal if you can get it for around $150 for 22 pieces.
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