I’ve had several All-Clad Master Chefs pans since before Amazon existed, back when I was just a food enthusiast. I since went on to train to be a professional chef and found the same Master Chef pans that I used at home in restaurant kitchens everywhere. And the reasons are simple: these pans are indestructible, high performance, no fuss cookware that you can scorch on the stove top, forget in a hot oven, drop onto concrete, abuse with steel cooking tools, and they just keep going. Forever! Two of my pans are nearly thirty years old and cook and clean up like the day I bought them.
They are not the prettiest pans you can buy – the brushed aluminum on the outside scratches and takes on a dull metallic patina over time. However, a minute of scouring with Scotchbrite or Softscrub cleans up the scratches and gets back to shiny bare metal. The lids – which are simply designed and equally durable – do get hot, as reported, but that’s what they make pot holders and side towels for.
BTW, Master Chef is the original All-Clad pan, predating the fancy stainless and copper clad models you find in most department stores. The copper clad ones are very good to cook with but are also very expensive. The stainless clad ones are prettier to look at (and also more expensive than Master Chef) but do not cook as well because stainless does not conduct heat as well as the aluminum clad on the Master Chef models. Master Chef pans heat evenly and rapidly and hold heat well so foods brown better without burning.
My opinion, but All-Clad no-stick pans are less of a good value because you’re paying for an extremely good and highly durable metal pan with a coating that will – unavoidably – scratch and wear out. I have a such a 10″ All-Clad no-stick frying pan sitting on a shelf in the basement. It’s useless but I can’t stand to throw out a pan I paid $125 for.
If you are at all serious about cooking, my suggestion is to strongly consider spending the equivalent of a modest car payment and get a set of Master Chef pans that you will enjoy using every time you cook for the rest of life. And be sure to provide for them in your will for the next generation to cook with.