Food & Drink

Man with a (New) Pan

With the proper care, tin-lined copper cookware—like classic cast-iron—can last generations

Photo: Andrew Cebulka

After taking home the top prize in 2015’s Made in the South Awards, Corry Blanc, the metalsmith behind Charlottesville, Virginia-based Blanc Creatives, ended up hiring an entire production staff to help him meet the demand for his striking carbon steel skillets. Ultimately, the expansion left him more time to do what he loves most—make things. So this fall, he returned to the shop with a new project in mind: traditional French-style copper cookware.

“Copper cookware is such a romanticized thing,” Blanc says. “One of the reasons it is so iconic—besides its good looks—is because the cooking capabilities are amazing. Because copper is so conductive, you have precise control of the temperature, which makes it better for dishes that require low simmering, like a butter- or cream-rich sauce.” The new designs took Blanc months to perfect. Made of 14-gauge copper with bronze handles, his gleaming sauté pans are lined with tin rather than stainless steel. “The hardest part to execute is the tin lining,” Blanc says of his process. Why is tin so important? The elemental metal is an efficient conductor on par with copper, but it also provides a naturally non-stick surface that doesn’t require seasoning, like cast iron or carbon steel.

Blanc put his first batch of finished copper pans—available in 9- and 11-inches—on his website a few months ago; the ten $625 pans sold out in a matter of days. Each takes around six to eight hours to build, and at this stage, Blanc is making every piece himself. He’s working on a fresh batch now; you can reserve yours here. Think of it as an investment. With the proper care, tin-lined copper cookware—like classic cast-iron—can last generations.