Digital Communication and Copper pans

The Uxbridge Road
I was walking down the Uxbridge Road with a friend the other evening and something struck me quite forcibly. The Uxbridge Road, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a part of London, home to, amongst others, an ethnic population of North Africans, Somalis and Afghans, as well as being the road off which Queens Park Rangers ground is situated, in Loftus Road.

To say it’s like a souk would be misleading, but it does have an exotic flavour to it, with its combination of foods, dress, and babble of different languages. I’ve been there on a number of occasions, in the last couple of months, and find it quite fascinating. What caught my attention a few days ago were the gatherings of young people, standing around in groups and leaning against shop fronts, just talking with each other, not a smart phone in site. And it was this chatting to each other, that put me in mind of an interview that Steven Bartlett did with Jimmy Carr, a year or two ago.

I’ll admit to not enjoying Carr’s delivery or finding him very funny in the past.  But actually, it was for that reason that I decided to listen to him on this occasion, and it was to also to challenge myself to hear stuff that I guessed I’d either dismiss, or disagree with, or find uncomfortable. Instead, I found an interesting, original and deep-thinking man, who impressed me.

What a surprise.

One of the subjects he and Steven were talking about was the impact of digital communication on us and, perhaps in particular, how it can affect the younger generations. He talked about the rise of the individual, in the last 30 odd years, and the reduced impact that families, groups or tribes have in our society. Concluding, that although we’ve never been more connected (digitally), we’ve also never felt more alienated. He says there’s a generation that feel incredibly connected. They have a large number of friends online. But they have no one to talk to. They don’t feel part of a group, they lack a sense of belonging.

And frequently, they are “comparing their "insides" to someone else’s "outsides" (Outsides being; online photos, always smiling, always with beautiful people, always with a lovely car, drinking a cocktail, on a beach etc. etc.).

By way of illustration, he refers to the conversation that he and Bartlett are having right at this moment, in the interview. He says “We’re not on a zoom call, we’re sitting across a table from each other, looking into each other’s eyes and there’s an intimacy to that”. “We’ve been doing this for ten thousand years, people have always done this, but online we lose this immediacy, this connection”. “Lockdown and the advent of Zoom are really not good for us”.

I think he makes a very good point and it brings me back to my starting point, the groups, of mainly young men, on the pavements in the Uxbridge Road, smiling, laughing, arguing, always animated and very much alive to each other.

It burst my bubble a bit as we turned a corner and there was a group, all staring at their phones, completely silent, and did I imagine it, were they looking a wee bit anxious,  angry or puzzled maybe?

Or does it just suit my argument to have imagined that….?

To product
I realised, when Andi mentioned to me that he’d got the Samuel Groves copper pots and pans loaded onto the website, that I’d never talked about them before in one of my emails.

This seemed like a good opportunity to do so, so that’s what I’m going to talk about this morning.

Copper Induction Cookware 

Samuel Groves is the company who make the excellent Mermaid Hard Anodised roasting and baking trays, which I’ve been a great fan of for many years. The company though has had a rather checkered history, until about 4 or 5 years ago. And then they came back with a vengeance, producing not only the Mermaid ranges, but also some other really interesting ranges that fill gaps in the market.

One of these gaps is the demand for a reasonably priced range of copper pans. And this they have tried to fill with their “Copper Induction Cookware”. I’ll confess right from the start, that I haven’t yet used one of them, so what I’m going to say is based on my experience with other middle to high end cookware.

As you may already know, the speed with which a pan is able to spread heat is the single biggest key to how the pan will work, and so the metals used are therefore vitally important, as they dictate that heat spread. For example, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, whereas aluminium is very good.

Now, bearing in mind that this is marketed as a copper pan, Groves use a 4-ply material to achieve good heat spread. Starting inside and working outwards it has:

1.      Stainless steel uncoated lining the inside (0.4mm thick) A poor conductor, but strong and largely inert*

2.      Aluminium Core (1.7mm thick). A great conductor of heat. Essential for any good performing pan.

3.      Stainless Steel layer (0.4mm thick) which acts as a balance to the lining, and stops any tendency for the pan to warp.

4.      Copper (0.3mm thick) The outside layer. A great conductor of heat (better even than aluminium) but not really thick enough to make much difference to the performance of the pan, at only 0.3mm. In reality, it’s not much more than a film of copper, but it’s real enough and really looks the part, of course; rather French farmhouse. Quite gorgeous!

So, to be clear, the vast majority of the performance (heat spread) of this pan comes from the aluminium core, and in terms of the overall performance, I’d put them put just under Le Creuset’s 3-Ply in terms of heat spread.

Unlike most other ranges of cookware (including most of Le Creuset’s 3-Ply range) though, there’s no nonstick surface “interfering” with your cooking.

What do I mean when I say interfering?

Food cooked on a nonstick surface can never brown as well as it will on an uncoated surface. But to use a traditional copper pan with a stainless steel lining, you have got to re-teach yourself frying and sauteing again, if you’ve always used nonstick pans before, because with uncoated pans everything sticks to begin with. But the extra flavour frying produces in uncoated pans (because the food sticks initially and caramelises the sugars) is, in my opinion, worth every penny of the food you will burn (and waste) in the learning process…every penny!

What I’ve said above doesn’t just apply to these uncoated copper pans. It applies, in descending order of performance to Demeyere Atlantis & Industry ranges (uncoated), Le Creuset enamelled Cast iron (uncoated), Samuel Groves Copper (uncoated), and Netherton Iron pans (uncoated)

So, back to their Copper Induction Cookware

As the name suggests, it’s Induction compatible and the range is pretty comprehensive, having the following pieces in it.

1.      Frying pans 20cm, 26cm and 28cm.

2.      Paella Pan 30cm

3.      Chefs pan or Sauté pan (Long handle) 20cm, 24cm and 26cm

4.      Sauté Pan (Double handle) 26cm

5.      Sauté Pan Splayed 16cm, 22cm and 26cm

6.      Saucepans 16cm, 18cm and 20cm

7.      Casseroles 20cm and 26cm.

So really there’s a pan to fit most occasions.


1.      Well, it’s not as good as a solid copper pan, but it’s significantly less than half the price.

2.      Its copper exterior is not lacquered, so needs cleaning to maintain that beautiful, soft copper glow.

3.      And because of the copper, it’s not dishwasher proof. The copper will go black in fairly short order if you do dishwasher it.

4.      Copper is a soft metal, so it marks easily, but a product like Brasso will bring it back to new.

My offer this weekend is 25% off the RRP, which will make us the cheapest on the internet. Use code GROVES25 online, or tell who you are if coming into the shops.

I think that buying into this range, without a nonstick coating, is going to be a gamble for some and so I’ll remind you of one of our guarantees. This applies to everything we sell. If you use it and can’t get on with it, we’ll take it back and give you a refund. I won’t say no questions asked, because we will ask you what you didn’t find satisfactory. But you will walk out with your money safely back in your pocket.

*Inert. By which I mean foods don’t usually react to it, and for most people stainless steel is fine (there will be some who disagree with this statement, nickel allergy sufferers being the obvious example).

I’ll finish with a quote from the interview that Steven Bartlett did with Jimmy Carr, that I referred to earlier. Carr is talking about continuous improvement, becoming a better version of yourself over time and the dangers of comparing yourself to others, and he quotes Ernest Hemingway, who said

“There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

I rather liked the thought and sentiment in that statement.

I trust you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards


Andrew Bluett-Duncan


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