The Five Hundred Dollar Pot (page 2 of 2)Home >> Tools & Ingredients
The press does not fit in a conventional kitchen! If you draw to close, a light beam detects your presence and turns it off automatically before you are turned into a human pressure cooker.
The man places one pressure cooker after the other, waits for the press to do what it does, then takes it out.
Mrs Rosmarie Werner oversees a crucial part of the production process. She takes a pressure cooker body, places it upside down on one of the three sticks in front of her, then covers the pot's bottom with an aluminium disc covered with another disc of stainless steel. The aluminium will ensure even spreading of the heat, an essential feature in any kitchen. The pot heats through induction, much like it would on a fancy induction stove, and the aluminium disk is sealed.
The lady removes the pots and places them into a cooling bath. 'That's the most high-tech part of the factory', my guide jokes, 'a plain water bath'.
At the other end of the bath the pots are milled so that the welding around the aluminium core is evened out by Mrs Danzengyuzhen Lekden. On the picture you see the scrapings.
But it's not all manual work. From now on, a string of robots take over. They are lined up in the factory the length of a city block, most of them entirely hidden in blue boxes to keep the metal dust in. The robots do the hard work - polishing. Pots arrive on a conveyor belt above the machine. The robots detects the arrival of a new pot, grabs it with a suction valve pressed flat agains the inside of the pot ...
... then swiftly moves it on a succession of wheels that gives it its beautiful shine.
End of the line, with mirror-smooth pressure cookers coming one after the other...
... while on the other side of the factory the lids arrive under the eyes of a Tibetan lady sipping some tea.
We witnessed a highly intriguing scene. This lady, Mrs Kalsang Samling, taps each pot a few times with a curious copper rod. Some propitiatory ritual to wish the users of the pot 1001 happy meals? Not quite.
She inspects each pot to see the tiniest flaw, then grades the pot from AAA - worthy of selling in regular shops to AA for those pots with a minute flaw, some microscopic discoloration you'd need a loupe and 2 hours to find. AA pots are sold in the factory shop (see below). All those below AA are destroyed.
The pots are stored in cardboard boxes, then piled up 50 to a pallet. The pallets are moved in a huge automated warehouse with a 7000-pallet-capacity.
Here is now FXcuisine.com's hot tip. Next to the factory is a huge factory shop that sells the entire range, and then some, at a hefty discount. All pots are AA grade, which means there is somewhere a minute flaw. Most probably you'll never find it as the quality standards are very high.
I literally filled my car with Kuhn Rikon cookware (I paid for it in case you wonder!). Amazing stuff. One cast iron frying pan alone is so big you could easily feed all contestants for Star Chef for a month out of one panful only. Or sit on it and slide down a ski slope. Or bathe in it.
Kuhn Rikon makes all sorts of cookware beyond their flagship pressure cooker. Here is one of the Durotherm pots, they go for about $200 on Amazon.com. The pot is double-walled and has a thick but light lid and a double base to keep the contents hot. It's just about the smartest pot I've seen so far. You can heat up a liquid with less energy, and then keep it warm for 2 hours. I'll be back with another article soon to report on my testing this amazing technology.
Mr Marc Huber of Kuhn Rikon kindly took me on a personal tour, but you can visit as a regular tourist. They have a museum, a cookery school and organize factory tours if you book. And please, do not miss the amazing factory shop!