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I just purchased a chafing pan from Sam's Club by Bakers & Chefs. The second pan in the stack appears to have several black scratches or gouges in the material. I'm wondering, since it is not marked with a metal grade such as 18/10 but instead claims "restaurant quality", if this is junk?

The scratches appear as black marks, not simply scratches in the stainless steel, and do not rub out with scrubber or baking soda. Is there only a very thin metal coating over something inferior that I do not want my food to touch?

The surface is also a dull grey, not a bright shiny color as I am accustomed to in my other stainless steel cookware. I've had all my other stainless steel pans for 30+ years and never seen anything like this. I smell a rat!

Please comment on whether you'd return this set and look for a higher quality set. My purpose is to slow roast tomatoes and I want to avoid contact with reactive metals and also make most efficient use of my oven, as this takes 10-12 hours.

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I'm big on reading reviews of products before I decide. Sam's Club has several chafing dishes available on-line, with varied reviews. The Bakers & Chefs dish only has two reviews with one review echoing your complaints.

I assume this is yours?

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Considering the better reviews, the appearance, the product descriptions, and the apparent flaws in yours, I'd definitely consider upgrading to one of the other Sam's Club chafers.

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Images from Sam's Club.

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If it states that it is stainless steel, it should be stainless steel - I wouldn't worry about that - but that doesn't mean that your chafing pan isn't flawed.

As far as "Restaurant Quality" is concerned, if it isn't marked NSF, I'd stay away from it. In case you are unfamiliar with NSF:

"NSF is the premier name in food equipment certification, providing assurance to restaurant owners and operators that equipment is made from safe materials, is designed and constructed for easy cleanability and performs as intended."

http://www.nsf.org/services/by-industry/food-safety-quality/restaurant-and-foodservice/specifying-certified-food-equipment/

Also, since you are planning to cook using the food pans, make sure they are rated for the temperature you plan to be using to cook.

Most importantly, whether your marks are scratches or gouges or something else, it sounds like they are flaws in the manufacture - that happens from time to time. Since you got these from Sam's and they usually have a display model of every item for viewing, you might check the one on display - but if your marks don't look right, take the unit back. If it doesn't look right, don't second-guess it.

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