Pots, pans and saucepans from de Buyer are clearly among the aristocrats of kitchen accessories. Scarcely any wonder really since the manufactory located in the Vosges region of France owes the quality of its products not least to the mysteries of haute cuisine.
The valley in the north-west of the Vosges meanders in a long and winding pattern upwards past ever smaller and more isolated villages and through sparsely populated but delightfully scenic countryside. This is also home to the aristocratic de Buyer family.
The once wealthy and politically influential noble family remains one of the most illustrious names in the region to this day. De Buyer – which incidentally is still a family concern today – attributes its international prominence primarily however to the products that culinary experts rave about. Regardless of whether hobby or star chef, pans, pots, skillets and sauté pans are among the best one can buy on the market in terms of kitchen equipment.
Working life in the manufactory, founded in 1830 and located directly next to a mountain stream, passes by fairly quietly at first glance. Trucks with raw materials drive by every morning. Iron and stainless steel, aluminium and copper come exclusively from European smelters.
The sheets or rolls are unloaded by forklift and stored in the expansive, in part historical factory buildings before being cut, pressed into shape and polished. "What we do here is the exact opposite of mass-produced goods", explains Managing Director Claude Haumesser, "we even develop our materials ourselves and have also patented some of them". This also includes the material used to produce the first copper cookware for induction surfaces. The suitability of the sparkling speciality metal as an induction material is thanks to an invisible 0.2 millimetre thin layer of stainless steel. Resistance to mass production has its price, as evidenced not only by the quality of the material but also by the number of highly-qualified employees who work hands-on in this factory. Many of them have spent their entire working life in the manufactory.
They know the strength and at the same time the care needed to form sheet steel so that it does not tear. They know the advantages and flaws of the some 100 year old monumental metal presses as well as how reliable yet noisy they can be. And they know how to scrutinise the pans as they are fired using a special method with biological beeswax, which closes the steel pores and seals the surface forever.
The greatest artists of the French Patisserie were the first to purchase from the noble manufactory in the 19th century. Today's patissiers are in the best of company as customers of de Buyer, rubbing shoulders with international star chefs and of course the masters of French haute cuisine.
"You know immediately from the shape and function of de Buyer products that they originate in the French kitchen", says Claude Haumesser, himself a son of a patissier.
From the high-edged sauté pan to the copper sugar saucepan: stocks, fondants and sauces are a resounding success thanks to the especially uniform heat conductivity of the metal.
De Buyer also patented a special silicone with steel powder, which produces excellent results as a baking tin and not only in professional bakeries.
And should anyone still have any doubts as to the proud Gallic origin of these functional and aesthetic masterpieces: among the 2000 different items, including some very special accessories such as a smoker or large paella pan with a 1.50 m diameter, there's now the "French Collection" – with a pan handle in the shape of the Eiffel tower.
Text: Wolf-Christian Fink