Can a saucepan be sexy? Hestan thinks so. The California-based manufacturer—known for its high-end commercial kitchen equipment and residential outdoor grills—has been secreted away in its Napa Valley laboratory creating what the brand claims to be “the first true innovation in stainless steel cookware” in more than a century. Called NanoBond, the collection launched on January 19 with a patented technology that coats each aluminum skillet, wok, pot, and pan in thousands of super-dense layers of titanium alloys bonded to stainless steel. The resulting cookware is light, durable, and incredibly resistant to stains and scratches.
NanoBond is the product of a collaboration between some of the world’s preeminent chefs, engineers, scientists, and designers—as well as Hestan’s founder, Stanley Cheng, the brain behind such pioneering cookware lines as Circulon and Anolon. Still, any cook who knows his way around a kitchen is likely to be dubious of new technology. So, Robb Report invited Cheng and his team to its New York City offices for a demonstration.
Pots and pans clanked in our 35th-floor conference room last December as we sorted through the 13 pieces comprising the NanoBond line. To be sure, the cookware was sleek—its titanium coating shimmered like a piece of jewelry, and it felt smoother and lighter than stainless-steel pieces. The grip was comfortable and manageable, making it easier to maneuver for stirring, scraping, tipping, and pouring. But how, we wondered, would it stand up against the test of time? These new pots were straight from the warehouse, wrapped in the sparkling sheen of newness that all too quickly ends up covered in scratches and stains after only a few months of use.
As if anticipating our skepticism, the Hestan team procured a secret weapon: a used NanoBond pan, borrowed from the well-known kitchen of a celebrated New York City chef. (We wish we could spill the beans on his Michelin-starred identity, but alas, the Hestan crew swore us to secrecy.) The pan had no doubt been beaten and battered for months, yet it remained virtually mark-free. None of the telltale signs of use—dark stains around the screw heads, burn marks on the base—were evident. Only the slightest shallow scratches, almost imperceptible to the naked eye, could be seen.
Hestan’s NanoBond collection is available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. Individual cookware is priced from $150 to $520; a 10-piece set is priced at $1,500. (hestan.com)