Visit most restaurant kitchens, and you will find a large collection of pans all made from the same material: stainless steel. At first, you may think you want to stand out from the crowd and outfit your restaurant kitchen with something different, like cast iron or non-stick cookware. But this is one case where being different may not be a good choice. Stainless steel is the material of choice for restaurant cookware for a good reason — or actually, for a few good reasons.
It does not react to acidic sauces.
In a restaurant kitchen, the chefs rarely have time to think through each ingredient they plan to put in a sauce or a dish and make sure it's not too acidic for the pan. And if they do accidentally put something too acidic in an aluminum or cast iron pan, it may react with the metal. This can not only damage the pan, but also lead to unpleasant flavors in the food. Stainless steel does not react with any ingredient a chef might use, so it can be used for each and every dish. This keeps things simple and ensures nobody accidentally gets served chemical-tasting food because a busy chef used the wrong pan.
It won't warp.
Many metals, including aluminum and most non-stick coated metals, will warp and distort if you put them directly into cold water when they're hot. Stainless steel is much sturdier and won't distort. This is a big benefit in a busy kitchen where a sous chef or helper may come through and clear out dirty pans, plunging them directly into a wash bin without checking how long they've cooled. You'd have a kitchen full of warped pans in no time if you bought aluminum.
It heats evenly, and it holds the heat.
In a restaurant kitchen, chefs need consistent and predictable results. Stainless steel pans deliver those results. The entire pan heats evenly; you won't get hot spots directly over the burner like you might with other materials. Stainless steel also holds onto the heat, so a chef can turn the burner off and set the pan aside to keep a dish warm while the rest of that meal is still coming together. Other metals, like aluminum, may cool off too quickly for this to work. And cast iron holds onto heat almost too well; the food would keep cooking even after the pan is set aside!
Stainless steel is the go-to material for restaurant pans, and that's not changing anytime soon. If you're outfitting a kitchen, you need stainless steel cookware. Contact a company like Hy-Point Restaurant Equipment & Supplies Inc. to learn more about stainless steel restaurant equipment.