Emily writes: "I'm friends with a professional chef, and it's going to be his birthday soon. He just moved back from overseas, and doesn't have a single pot or pan. I wanted to buy him a really nice pot or pan, what would be the most essential piece to get for $200 or less? Thanks!"
Hey, Emily! I suggest a Dutch oven. They do everything from boiling water for pasta to braising a one-pot dinner to deep-frying and beyond! You can even bake bread in one. If you want to go in a less expensive direction, cast-iron skillets are also great kitchen multitaskers, and can be found at hardware stores for as little as $20! With your budget, you could get him more than one size. I like my ten-inch iron skillet for making frittata, I can fry an entire cut-up chicken at once in my fourteen-inch, and smaller pans are great for eggs or sauces.
1. Le Creuset Classic Wide French Oven, 3.5 Qt. Round ($160, on sale, available in other colors)
2. Lodge Color Enamel 6qt Dutch Oven ($69, on sale, available in other colors)
3. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel 8-Quart Dutch Oven ($100)
4. Royal Industries Cast Iron Skillet ($28)
5. Calphalon Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Fry Pan ($30, on sale)
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