We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Williams-Sonoma Stainless-Steel Thermo-Clad cookware. Over 50 years in the making, Williams-Sonoma cookware is the result of our mission to bring you the best cookware available. Read on for the behind-the-scenes story of how we made our cookware, and watch a video to discover why it’s the only cookware we’d put our name on.
FROM CURATORS TO CREATORS
The journey from being the foremost purveyor of world-class cookware to becoming the inventors of the next generation of cookware began two years ago, when our product development teams embarked on a mission to create products with technological and design details that weren’t available anywhere else. To do this, they went through hundreds of iterations of designs and spent countless hours tweaking and refining until the perfect ergonomic design was found.
We spoke to Ian Allan and Mayur Shah of our product development team, and Jonathan Silverman, head of European sourcing, to get the story behind the product.
“Innovation, quality and craftsmanship are part of the Williams-Sonoma legacy,” says Mayur. “Since 1956 we’ve been traveling the globe to bring our customers the latest culinary advances, and now we’re proud to offer a premium cookware collection that we’ve designed ourselves.”
“Chuck Williams starting coming to Europe to find best-in-class product 60 years ago,” adds Jonathan. “This is the first time we’ve actually put our name on cookware so we knew it had to be the best. That’s why we spent so much time on the design, the aesthetic–all the way down to the packaging.”
“We started with 2-D concepts—they were drawn up, they were rendered, short-listed, and then progressed into 3-D CAD modeling,” says Ian. “From the CAD modeling, we looked at proportion, length and balance a bit more, and then from the 3-D, we printed physical prototypes—hard forms that we could pick up, touch and feel, and apply to pans. Again, we tweaked those designs and the lengths and proportions to get them just right before moving to a more realistic metal prototype.”
The results of all this work are design elements you’ll only find on Williams-Sonoma cookware. All of the pots and pans in the collection feature dual-walled lids, which create a cool-to-the-touch handle, rolled edges that make it easier to pour out sauce, and an ergonomically designed handles, to keep you comfortable while you’re cooking in the kitchen.
MADE IN ITALY
After the products were designed, the team began searching around the globe for the right manufacturer. They looked on multiple continents and multiple countries, until they found a factory in Italy that met their standards of craftsmanship.
“Verdallino, Italy is halfway between Milano and Bergamo—it’s very close to one of the historic centers of cookware production. It’s a small factory, so we’re able to have a very close relationship with the management all the way down to the people on the production line—so we knew that we had the right partners to make our product, which we think takes a great deal of attention to detail.”
“The pans themselves are made from Thermo-Clad, which is a layer of aluminum in between two layers of stainless steel. This means that they heat up significantly quicker,” says Mayur. “Generally what happens is when your cookware heats up quicker, it happens at the expense of your heat distribution, but not in this case. We’ve sourced–with our partners–an aluminum that is more pure than any other aluminum used in cookware today. And as a result, not only do you have this up to 35% more heat conductivity, you also have ultimate heat distribution to eliminate scorching and hot spots.”
WATCH WILLIAMS-SONOMA COOKWARE IN ACTION
Amanda Haas, our test kitchen manager, has spent the last year cooking with our new collection in the test kitchen. “The best thing about the new cookware is how fast it conducts heat–it heats up quicker than any other pans we’ve used. And all the features, like ergonomic handles and helper handles, are on every piece in the collection. We love using it in the test kitchen–it’s a real game changer.”
Watch the video below to see a demo of the cookware and a side-by-side comparison of Williams-Sonoma cookware versus a premium stainless-steel cookware brand.