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April 2001 Issue
Chantal's ProDesign Professional Cookware
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Cooks everywhere can appreciate the necessity of using good tools. From high quality cutlery to top-notch appliances, home chefs often search high and low to stock their kitchens with gear that will help enhance the cooking skills they've honed over the years.

When it comes to creating dishes that require long, slow cooking, discerning cooks need look no further than Chantal's ProDesign Professional Cookware. With a variety of offerings ranging from omelettes to Dutch ovens, the ProDesign Professional series features extra-heavy bottoms for superior heat distribution, Chantal's classic enamel-on-steel construction and an elegant onyx finish that's easy to clean.

The ProDesign 6.5 Quart Casserole
For the purpose of this review, the ProDesign Professional 6.5 Quart Casserole with Lid was tested.

The casserole, which is really a large capacity all-purpose kettle, is manuafactured from high quality steel and features an extra-heavy bottom to aid in the even heat distribution that the ProDesign Professional line is touted for. This sturdy steel structure is then completely coated in a completely non-porous enamel finish and finished with stainless steel handles. The rim on the casserole is polished and plated with chrome and nickel to provide a hardened surface.

The lid of the casserole is constructed from 18/10 stainless steel and features small vent holes. The handle of the lid is also constructed from stainless steel and remains cool to the touch when the rest of the lid becomes hot.

The Chantal ProDesign Professional 6.5 Quart Casserole is intended for normal kitchen use and is marketed towards home chefs with a love for cooking and cooking with high quality cookware. Its suggested retail price is $150.00.

The Pros
The extra-heavy bottom of the casserole does provide the superb even heating it promises. It also reaches its ultimate heating status surprisingly quickly for such a heavy piece of cookware. And, for dishes that require long simmering periods such as chili, a low setting on the stovetop is ample for maintaining a perfect simmer for hours at a time.

The enamel finish does a great job of resisting sticking -- even with foods like baked beans or pasta dishes. And, even after continued use, the finish -- both inside and outside the casserole -- remains pristine as a result of the enamel's release properties. As a result, a simple application of soap and water cleans the casserole and restores it to its original condition.

Perhaps the feature of the casserole that will be most appreciated is its sturdy rim that does away with warnings about rapping kitchen utensils on it. It will take much more than a kithen tool to dent the rim on the ProDesign casserole. The unique shape of the rim also helps eliminate drops of moisture from forming along it. This helps keep the food being prepared moist and properly heated.

The Cons
The only major drawback to this product is its substantial weight. While most home chefs will not find this a concern, those that experience difficulty lifting may want to avoid this casserole -- or at least make sure there's someone around to help transfer it from the stove to the table! The casserole weighs around 7.5 pounds empty and can more than double when filled, so be prepared for a bit of a workout when moving it about.

Resources
For more information about Chantal's ProDesign Professional Cookware series, visit http://www.chantalcookware.com.

Chantal's products are available at fine and specialty department stores from coast to coast as well as through some high-end catalogs. For information about nearby retailers, call 1-800-365-4354.

Putting It All To Work
Chantal's ProDesign Professional Cookware offers the home chef an opportunity to experience high quality kitchen tools that will last a lifetime. This line of cookware is especially well-suited to those who enjoy spending time in their kitchens perfecting the subtle details of their favorite recipes and the casserole in particular is a must for any chili connoisseur feeding a crowd. From traditional chili to an unusual ethnic sauce, Chantal is there to help cooks everywhere master the art of home cooking with its ProDesign Professional line of cookware.



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