More than the eye can see

Testing lab: Technology leads to healthier cooking.

April 12, 2012 09:38
2 minute read.
High end cookware

High end cookware. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)


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In 1954, French engineer Marc Grégoire invented a process for bonding PTFE (Polytetrafluorethlyene) with aluminum.

Tefal company legend has it that he wasn’t quite sure what to do with the new invention, until his wife, sick of scraping pots of burnt food, suggested he create a line of nonstick cookware. Two years later, Tefal, the French cookware company, was producing 100 nonstick pots a day.

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Technology has changed in the past 58 years in the food industry, a fact that was in clear view at the 2012 Healthy Cooking Maslamani Group Conference in Eilat in March. The conference highlighted the new products of Tefal and Pyrex, part of the NIS 230 million market for high-end kitchenware in Israel.

Some of these new baking tins and frying pans have such scientific embellishments they look like they were designed by NASA’s own chefs. But the bells and whistles aren’t just cosmetic: At the heart of these advancements is the belief that technology can actually make food healthier.

In Tefal’s high-end Sensorielle line of cookware, nonstick surfaces cut down on the need for cooking oil, instantly making the food healthier. Additionally, the unique Intensium nonstick Resistal bottom makes it easier to maintain a steady heat that doesn’t continue to get hotter exponentially as the pot is left on the stove.

To maintain the nutritional value of foods, especially vegetables, they should be cooked or stir-fried at 180ºC. Anything cooked at a higher temperature will begin to break down the carbohydrates, causing a significant loss in the nutritional value of the vegetables. When normal pans cook on the stove, they can continue to absorb heat and raise the temperature of the pot, even if the heating source has been lowered. The Resistal design, shaped like a giant star, evenly distributes the heat.

Pyrex’s showpiece at the conference was a towering Multicook, a four-piece mix’n’- match set of interlocking pots, steamers and lids that allows for multiple incarnations for cooking and steaming over the same burner. The Multicook can withstand heat of up to 800º. Pyrex also took inspiration from the lab a step further, with beaker-inspired mixing tools called Kitchen Lab, that allow for precise measurements of ingredients.

High-end cookware took a beating this winter, after the popular investigative TV program Kolbotek ran a report that found that some colorful ceramic cookware claiming to be healthy and safe actually contains unsafe levels of cadmium and lead.

Amer Masalmani, who hosted the conference and is one of the leading importers of kitchen products in Israel, responded to the Kolbotek report by stating that the new Pyrex and Tefal lines were certified by a much more rigorous environmental testing process, and deemed safe Pyrex will celebrate its 90th birthday this year – the company has manufactured the ubiquitous and essential glass casserole pans in France since 1922. And while the glass pans remain one of the company’s top sellers, new technology is enabling advancements in cookware that chefs and kitchen aficionados never dreamed possible.

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