I am one lucky guy! You want to know why?? Not only was I fortunate to be surrounded by a group of lovely ladies like Ruth Sas (Niente di particolare), Kim Recour (Cookanista) and Caroline Dhont (Avocado van de duivel). On top of that I got to visit the Demeyere factory!! This is so special as they don’t have that many visit opportunities so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For my foreign readers the name Demeyere might not sound familiar, so let me give you a short (or at least I’ll try to keep it short) introduction. Demeyere is company making high quality cookware since 1908 and makes 98% of its products in Belgium or better in Antwerp (I bet now all know where I’m from 😉 ). Initially their factory was in the heart of Borgerhout/Deurne (just outside the Antwerp City center) where they until 1967 mostly made tableware as cookware and the kitchen in general didn’t have the central place back then as it has now. In 1980 they moved to their current location Herentals as they needed more space to be able to perfect their production process and expand the production itself (FYI, still in Antwerp Area). Today their Herentals factory is around 30 000m², so I don’t have to explain the progress they made over the years and they keep investing in the future of the company. Demeyere was also the second company in the world to start making cookware in stainless steel and a thermal base. (I didn’t know this before my visit). Currently the company is lead by Christophe Demeyere who is the 4th generation and took over the leading position from his father in 2008.
It is indeed true that buying a Demeyere pot is quite the investment… In my personal case when I moved out of my parents’ house I “borrowed” a few Demeyere pots/pans from my mom (I’m pretty sure she knows by now she won’t see them back any time soon (unless she comes to have dinner at my place)). I know it might sound like a sales talk (and no, I’m not getting a discount from them by saying this)but when you buy Demeyere you buy it for life!! Already for the fact that Demeyere gives a 30 year guaranty on every pot or pan you buy!! Yes 30, one has to be very sure of their product before giving that much guaranty… It still stays a big investment but it will last much longer than when buying ragular cookware. You could just do like me and ask for Demeyere cookware for Christmas :-). FYI, the Young series by Demeyere is the affordable option in case you are just moving out of your parents’ house.
I was already convinced, but the factory visit opened my eyes even more! Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during my visit (but I did get my hands on a few to get a small view behind the scenes), because it is quite impressive to see how a flat piece of steel gets transformed into a usable pot/pan. I am always so amazed by the machinary used to make something, I think it must be a great feeling inventing/building machines like that. When wanting to make a good product it all starts with using the good base materials. Demeyere uses stainless steel (in addition with cupper in some cases) as a base, which already differentiates them from the “regular” brands you’ll find around as they mostly use aluminum, which is cheaper, but less sustainable. Before a piece of cookware leaves the Demeyere factory they will ALL be “used “1 time… not really for cooking, but they heat the pot or pan to a temperature of 250°C and cool it down to see if there are irregularities in the cookware base (bottom) to make sure that whoever buys the pot/pan will be able to have the ultimate cooking experience in the best conditions.
One last thing I want to share with you (again something I didn’t know before) is how much thought and craftsmanship is put into the creation and design of every new pot/pan. Also how important the collaboration between the “architect” (like Stefan Schönig or John Pawson) and the engineers is to combine design and easy/good usability. To give an example a regular cookware maker would just form a pot and leave everything as it is, at Demeyere they will for example cut the edge of the pot in a particular way that if you are pouring a liquid fluid from your pot into something else the pot won’t be leaking afterwards (so no drops on the side of the pot)… just to give one example. or that there are no skrews from the handle visible in the pot itself as this could be unhygienic as “bacteria” could go under the skrews. My personal favorite set of pots and pans is the Apollo serie
I’m always so proud when a small Belgian (Antwerp) company grows out to a company exporting its “Made In Belgium” products all over the world!! (Also great to know Christophe Demeyere lives right around the corner of my street :-))
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying normal cookware doesn’t do the job, as at the end it is the cook that will make the difference. But when you use the better tools for some reason it always feels better … just like with a car a VW lupo drives fine, but a Audi A8 just drives better 🙂
Just try one and hope you’ll be as convinced as me….
Anyhow, good thing they had Roger Van Damme (Het Gebaar) there to sweeten our factory visit with some heavenly desserts!