Anolon X: the joy in the journey

by Great British Chefs 3 December 2021

A good set of pans is key to great cooking – but a solid recipe is just as important. We take a look at the thought processes of two top chefs when it comes to creating a recipe, and how the new Anolon X range of pans ensures those recipes can be cooked to perfection.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Creating an incredible plate of food is a complex process. It’s not something that even the world’s top chefs expect to get right at the first or even second time of trying – but that’s part of the joy of cooking. It’s about the time spent developing a dish, experimenting with ingredients and methods; it’s about the journey. For any chef however, having great equipment is an integral part of the cooking process and is just as key as having the technical know-how to create a recipe. Anolon has always created products which are designed to make a chef’s job as easy as possible, and its new range of Anolon X pans are no different.

Determined to create a non-stick pan which could sear ingredients like stainless steel, Anolon has developed something called SearTech technology. Using a stainless-steel mesh on the surface which makes sure your oil stays in the centre of the pan, Anolon X pans allow you to easily achieve perfect levels of browning and caramelisation. The first ever range of hybrid non-stick cookware, these pans provide chefs and home cooks alike with the ultimate tools to develop memorable dishes and cook them to perfection.

Head chef at Noizé in Fitzrovia, George Farrugia is constantly creating new recipes for his seasonal French-led menu, and one dish that required careful development was his vanilla rice pudding with poached pears. A dish that’s notoriously tricky to get right, rice pudding requires a huge amount of care and attention. Unlike other rice dishes like a traditional paella or tahdig (Iranian scorched rice), which are meant to burn slightly on the bottom, you really don’t want rice pudding to catch at all on the bottom of the pan as it will spoil that beautiful creamy texture.

‘Rice pudding is probably worse than risotto when it comes to sticking and burning’, explains George. ‘If you take your eye off it then it will happen because the rice just sucks up all the moisture.’ It’s when cooking dishes like George’s rice pudding that the Anolon X range’s cutting-edge technology comes into its own, allowing chefs to worry less about burning the food. ‘With these Anolon X pans you’ve got the grid as a marker of where the heat is,’ he says. ‘So you know that’s where to focus your stirring. The high sides also mean you can really get in there without having to worry about spilling any of it.’

However, a rice pudding as elegant as George’s wouldn’t be what it is without a carefully thought-out recipe at its core. Every chef has a different way of developing a recipe, with some experimenting more than others, but for George, it always begins with the produce. ‘You need to get the best ingredients and work with the seasons to ensure you’re off to the best start,’ he says. ‘Pears are in their prime at the moment so I start with them as an amazing product and work back from that.’ You might think of rice pudding as a hearty home-style dish rather than something you’d typically see on a restaurant menu but that was actually part of the reason George wanted to do his own take on it, as he explains: ‘I wanted to bring in a little bit of my northern roots; I grew up with rice pudding and when it’s done right it’s really, really good.’

Jozef Rogulski, executive chef of The Game Bird at The Stafford Hotel in London, agrees about seasonality. ‘I know people are probably bored of hearing about seasonality by now, but it’s so important,’ he explains. ‘That’s what helps me decide on a core ingredient when developing a dish at any given time. After that, I’ll start thinking about the different elements that could accompany it – they need to tick lots of different boxes. With my veal recipe, I wanted something earthy, which comes from the mushrooms, something crispy, which comes from the potatoes, something rich, which comes from the sauce and then something acidic to counteract the richness, which comes from the capers. It’s all about getting as many of these enjoyable feelings through in one mouthful.’

Of course, when searing an ingredient – be it meat, fish or even vegetables – the quality of the pan is key. Jozef’s recipe for veal T-bone with girolles, capers and crispy potatoes sees a magnificent piece of meat as the centrepiece, so it needs to be cooked to perfection. ‘I always look for a pan that is going to last,’ he says. ‘You need to know that day in, day out, that pan is going to perform. It also needs to conduct heat well and evenly. You can tell that the Anolon X pans are built properly – they’re heavy, strong and made from great quality materials. The criss-cross grid on the bottom really helps to transfer the heat across the whole surface area, while the non-stick surface in between works really well too. It’s a really smart idea.’

Veal, girolles, capers and sage is a wonderful combination that just works, but even for a top chef like Jozef, there’s always an element of trial and error when it comes to developing dishes. ‘You can never afford to rest on your laurels and keep on cooking the same food you always have,’ he says. ‘There are always so many new and interesting products and ingredients becoming available, so you need to continuously experiment with and explore new combinations. That’s what makes being a chef so exciting.’

As a home cook, following a good recipe puts you on the right path to culinary success – but there is always room for experimentation, tweaks and changes to what’s written down to suit your own tastes. One of the joys of cooking is coming up with your own dishes; learning how George and Jozef come up with the dishes they serve in their restaurants is invaluable. And while good tools are nothing without a skilled person using them, they’re still a very important part of the process. Having a pan from the Anolon X range that can both sear like stainless steel but boasts non-stick properties offers the best of both worlds.