The VIrtues of a Good Pan
In general, the most highly touted pans are the multi-ply, heavy bottom varieties. The bottoms of these pans have three layers: a middle-ply (which is generally aluminum for its fast conduction of heat) sandwiched between two stainless steel layers. The cook gets the best of both worlds with this design.
Cheap, one-ply pans tend to have “hot spots” — spots of heat directly over where the heat source comes in contact with the pan. Since the heat is not being distributed properly, the food does not get cooked properly. This problem is solved with a good quality multi-tier pan. By the time the heat reaches the top layer of stainless steel, the heat has been evenly diffused by the aluminum layer inside the pan.
Since the middle layer of aluminum is completely enclosed within the stainless steel, it cannot chip off into your food unknowingly. And because the entire surface is stainless steel, the pan has a lovely shiny finish and is easier to clean. It is also far less likely to warp when going from hot to cold temperatures.
So it’s not only because it is “so much fun” to cook with nice, heavy pots and pans. It actually makes it easier on the chef — with fewer burns, mistakes and “uh-oh’s” from the kitchen.