Our most popular class here at The Chopping Block is Knife Skills, which gives you a solid foundation for cooking by teaching you how to be efficient with a knife. Our chefs always say that a sharp knife is a safe knife, and they preach how important it is to have the right knives in your kitchen.
The same goes for your cookware, which becomes an important factor in your cooking. I'm a big fan of Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware, which we use in our kitchens and sell in our retail stores. We also teach you how to use this cookware properly in all of our classes.
Le Creuset is very popular and is used in both professional and home kitchens around the world. It has been produced in France since 1924. They use unique molds to create these pieces so that every pan, pot and braiser is a unique piece. I own several of these beauties, and I use them all the time in my own kitchen. I use my small braiser to make scrambled eggs and many more dishes. They have a large variety of dishes and utensils to choose from, and I especially love their non-stick frying pans. I have to tell you their tea kettles are great also!
There are some best practices to keep in mind while using Le Creuset cookware:
Since these pieces are enameled cast iron, they maintain and keep heat very well, so it is important not to overheat them.
Medium heat is sufficient when cooking with Le Creuset. You can use higher heat when boiling water or liquid. They work on all cooking surfaces from gas, electric or induction stovetops.
Oil and Fats
It is important to cover the entire bottom of the pan with cooking oil. We recommend grapeseed oil for searing because it has a higher smoke point. When deep frying, your oil level needs to be just one third up the pan, but make sure to have plenty of room once you add the food to the pan. These dishes have a phenolic lid which is heat resistant to 480F in the oven. The lid will keep your dish sealed and keep all the aromas in. Once you remove your cookware from the oven, if you are not serving it right away, the cast iron will keep the food hot for a long period of time.
Food Storage and Maintenance
Always cool a hot pan before washing with water; this is important so that you don’t crack the enamel. Le Creuset is dishwasher safe and a brush helps to keep the outside clean. I would recommend Steel Glo for cleaning to keep them nice and shiny on the outside. Once ready to store, you want to make sure that the pieces are completely dry.
Last but not least, I want to talk about Le Creuset's customer service which I have experienced on a personal level. As I mentioned, I have several pieces which I either purchased or received as gifts from good friends. After a while, one of my pieces was showing some wear and tear. I believe I had this particular piece for over ten years, and the enamel at the bottom of the pan had started to come off. I contacted customer service to see what they might be able to do. I did not remember the source of purchase, where and even how long I had this piece in my kitchen. I'm guesstimating 10 years.
I sent an email to their customer service warranty department presenting my situation. A couple of hours later I had a response back requesting to send a picture in. I did that, and they responded with a case number for me to mail in the product, which I did and three days later, I received a brand new Dutch oven. They told me the model I had sent in is no longer produced so they sent me the next closest model. I was blown away and more than satisfied with this experience!