You have to give the guys behind HexClad serious credit. Breaking into the premium cookware business as a startup, with competitors like All-Clad, Calphalon and Tramontina, is like laying your bare hand on a hot stove. But co-founders Daniel Winer and Cole Mecray believe in their hybrid cookware enough to bang on those pots and pans until customers are sold.
Since its launch in 2017, HexClad has sold more than 1 million units of its patented laser-etched hexagon cookware that includes woks, griddles and an impressive new line of premium Japanese Damascus Steel cutlery. At a Culver City popup dinner recently at the semi-secret pasta restaurant Pasta Ramen, James Beard-nominated Chef Robbie Felice showed off his HexClad finesse over ten delicious courses of Japanese-Italian noodles, dumplings and other delights. The invite-only omakase meals run Thursdays through Sundays at 6:30 and 9:00 pm, but only until November 13.
The cookware is meant to stick around much longer than that. Winer was on hand that night to geek out on why everyone on earth needs to HexClad their kitchen, and he’s quite convincing. The hybrid stainless steel/non-stick surface can heat up to 500 degrees; works on gas, electric or induction cooktops; stands up to metal without scraping, and even goes in the dishwasher. It sears like cast iron, conducts heat like stainless and cleans up like Teflon. All this helps explain why Gordon Ramsay signed on as lead spokesman for the brand and dubbed the cookware collection “the Rolls Royce of pans.” This year, he featured the line on Hell’s Kitchen.
HexClad is an innovator, to be sure. It’s the first cookware line to meld PFOA-free nonstick with stainless steel, all laser-etched with a hexagonal honeycomb pattern. The result is cookware that does its darnedest to do it all—allowing for super high temps while also protecting the surface from assorted nicks and scratches. Its aluminum core delivers faster, more even heating, and distributes heat rapidly throughout the pan with action that screams, “Good Lord, you’re a chef!”
The reviews are good. One tester whacked the surface with a metal spoon for a month and didn’t see any dents or dings. CNN Underscored loves the 10-inch fry pan, calling it the Best Restaurant-Quality Pan. Consumer Reports gave that same pan top ratings for even heating, durability, and its stay-cool handle. The HexClad 7-piece set (which includes lids and a wok) landed on Oprah’s Favorite Things list.
I love the 10-inch pan, too. It’s my new go-to for scrambled eggs or when I need to sauté garlic or veggies. The handle is a little thick, though it’s nice to be able to grab it even without an oven mitt. All that technology somehow adds to the weight, too. The 12-inch pan weighs four pounds, which is heavier than most. But the cleanup is a snap, and the hexagonal pattern somehow makes you think your food is cooking faster. Or maybe all those hexes have a hypnotic effect. Either way, HexClad is a pretty hot collection.