“All the functionality of a 10-piece set, with less clutter, less cleanup, and zero chemical coatings,” and “two pans to cook it all.”
The Proclamation Goods’ website makes lofty claims for a two-piece set of cookery aiming to topple the staid idea of buying large cookery sets that last a lifetime. As a former professional chef, I’m very… let’s say ‘particular’… about my kitchen equipment. As a Managing Editor for DTMG, I now cook for a smaller audience, so an army of pots and pans isn’t necessary (but my several thermal immersion circulators for sous vide are).
So when Proclamation Goods came calling, I answered. Can a two-piece set really do all you need, day to day? Here’s my honest take after a few weeks of use.
- Very well made equipment
- 30-day trial
- Works with induction cooktops
- Dishwasher safe
- Made in the USA
- No coatings or toxins
- Lifetime warranty
- Carbon steel is a bit hefty
- Using the set in the oven is cumbersome
- Handles don’t work as well together as I’d hoped
Delivery and unboxing
The Duo comes in a large box, but it’s not so large FedEx, USPS, or UPS would refuse to deliver it to your doorstep. You should have no issues receiving it.
Proclamation Goods takes care to pack the Duo in its own box, which was nestled in a larger box on delivery. Unless your delivery driver runs it over, I can’t see how the Duo would be damaged in transit. Big plus for Proclamation Goods.
What others say
What users say
The Proclamation Goods website lists 72 reviews for the Duo, with one three-star review and four four-star reviews.
The three-star reviewer claims they never received the pan, which isn’t a review at all. One four-star reviewer claims they had issues with food sticking to the carbon steel model. Another says it was difficult to season the carbon steel pan, while someone else underscored Epicurious’ take the Duo is heavy and bulky.
Those were the first two words I said when unboxing the Duo. Reviewers are right: this set is built to last, and it shows.
The skillet sits inside the pot when inverted, just as the accompanying lid does. I wasn’t aware the Duo was sort of a trio, but that’s okay. The inclusion of a lid is smart for those times you need the skillet and/or pot to go solo.
The long handles have a small gap when the skillet is inverted over the pot, and the handles on the other side don’t interlock. I assumed the short skillet handle would clamp onto (or into) the pot’s short handle, but that wasn’t the case. (It’s still nice to have the handles for lifting and carrying.)
After a few weeks of use
On the Proclamation Goods website, it says you can “cook eggs with ease.” I assume this references the carbon steel model, so let’s start there.
The Duo’s carbon steel pan/skillet is not a traditional carbon steel pan. A traditional carbon steel pan is thin with a unique shape and a long, thin, flat handle. You have to season it to develop a deep patina before it becomes “nonstick.” In high-end professional kitchens, well-seasoned carbon steel pans are critical to so many excellent dishes.
The Duo’s carbon steel skillet is more like a carbon steel cast iron pan. It’s thick, with a more traditional shape. You could easily mistake it for an expensive nonstick pan at first glance.
My first test was – you guessed it – an egg. Not quite nonstick, but the egg released without seasoning the Duo skillet at all. The lone issue is the Duo’s heft: flipping the egg is nearly impossible unless you use a spatula; a proper sauté is not happening.
The Duo’s carbon steel skillet is best when you can freely use tongs or a spatula to turn foods. I’m not a small person, and I had issues using the skillet as a sauté pan with both hands (which is likely why it’s named ‘skillet’ and not ‘sauté pan’). Nimble is not descriptive for the Duo skillet.
But the Duo is handy, and extremely versatile. I used it to make the following:
- Cooking pasta in the pot while making a pan sauce with the skillet
- Searing chicken thighs for cacciatore in the skillet while crafting a sauce in the pot (saved me about 15 minutes; I inverted the skillet over the pot when finishing in the oven to capture all the chicken fond)
- Pancakes in the skillet
- Shakshuka in the skillet (finished in the oven with the lid)
- Roast a chicken in the pot (hey, it’s showcased on the Duo website, so why not)
After all this testing, the handles were my only hangup. The space between the long handles when used in tandem – skillet inverted over the pot – is not bad, but it’s not great. Proclamation Goods tells me this is purposeful; the handles were made to allow you to lift the skillet up when inverted on the pot. The skillet handle is slightly longer than the pot’s, and there’s a tongue-in-groove feature on the smaller handles that help the skillet rest in it when you lift.
It’s just not perfect. When you grab the handles together to lift the Duo, the skillet comes off the pot just a touch. In the oven, the handle forces the pot (or Duo) off-center, and ovens always have hot spots which can affect results. That said, dumping pasta water from the pot using the long handle was far easier than using an enameled Dutch Oven or traditional pot with two short handles.
The Duo’s pot is essentially a massive saucier – and I love a good saucier. Big win.
The Proclamation Goods Duo is $379 for the stainless-steel set, and $399 for the carbon steel set I tested (carbon steel skillet, stainless steel pot, stainless steel lid).
Consider how you cook. The examples above are standard issue meals for me, and the Proclamation Goods Duo handled each with incredible ease. If you have limited space or cook for a small audience day-to-day, the Duo is an easy recommendation.
In challenging how we shop for (and buy) cookware sets, Proclamation Goods is really telling us large sets come with filler pieces we won’t use. It’s true; smaller pans are often unnecessary, and straight-sided sauté pans are useless. Individual lids included in larger sets get in the way more often than they’re used.
I wish the Duo’s skillet was lighter. Sautéing is core to my cooking, and it’s just not possible with the skillet in the Duo set. But for a carbon steel pan, hefty as it is, the Duo is hard to beat. It’s great out of the box, and just keeps improving as you use it.
Proclamation Goods’ Duo has a build quality on par with the likes of All-Clad or Made In, so I’m not balking at the $400 price tag. Piecing a similar set together via either of those two brands would cost you about the same.
If you spend a lot, you should get a lot, and the Proclamation Goods Duo delivers. Large cookware sets give you a lot of things, but the Duo gives you a lot of utility. The handles and heft are not ideal, but they’re not deal-breakers. The carbon steel doesn’t require seasoning before use and gets better over time. The pot is a highly versatile Dutch Oven/saucier hybrid worthy of far more praise than I’m affording it here (in part because I think you’ll use the skillet more often).
I’d absolutely recommend the Duo for those who cook often for a tight-knit crowd. The Duo is equally adept at pasta for one as it is handling a small dinner party menu or meal prep. $399 sounds like a lot, but 20 years from now when you can’t remember how much you even spent on the Duo as you’re making pancakes in the skillet and slow-cooking jam in the pot, it won’t even matter.
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