Cooking

Cast Iron Spell

One crowdfunded pan is shaking up the cast iron market
Photo: Courtesy of Field Company
Cast Iron Pan

How do you end up with a Kickstarter campaign that has raised more than $750,000 to fund the perfect cast-iron pan? Well, it all started with Christopher and Stephen Muscarella, who were in need of some cast iron but unsatisfied with all the new products on the market. Nothing had the same quality and finish as the vintage pans they grew up cooking with, and thus the Field Company was born.

With Stephen's background in woodworking and Chris's in software engineering (he also cofounded Kitchensurfing, for booking private chefs), they both started studying the ins and outs of cast iron and what makes a good pan. That's when they stumbled upon an academic paper titled "Thermophysical Properties of Thin Walled Compacted Graphite Iron Castings," written by Dr. Marcin Gorny in Krakow, Poland. Their next step: journeying to Poland to learn the art and science of casting iron pans.

After numerous prototypes, Chris and Stephen were finally able to find a foundry that could affordably produce their pan, a surprisingly difficult task. With competitors' pans typically ranging in the $150-to-$200 price range, theirs comes in at a cool $100. As of now, they are selling their pans only in a series of production runs (the first four are already sold out) and hope to be able to expand production to keep up with demand.

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The fun part is seeing what chefs have been doing with this pan. Chris is well connected to the culinary world in NYC, having restaurant experience as a partner in Rucola, Threes Brewing and Delaney Barbecue. Brent Young of The Meat Hook in Brooklyn took the pan and made the best pork chop Chris and Stephen had ever had. The guys at Bruno Pizza used it for a savory Dutch baby. At Casa Mono, chef Anthony Sasso is using it for many traditional Spanish dishes. "Cast iron is the new a la plancha," Chris adds.

We even had the opportunity to play around with a Field Skillet here in our Test Kitchen. After rummaging through the fridge to see what we had, we found some ground beef and leftover veggies. So we put the pan to the burger test. Smoother than other cast-iron pans, it allowed for an even cooking surface that distributed the heat beautifully. It even worked for frying eggs, the ultimate nonstick test.

With the Field Skillet on the market, you'll want to cast away any other iron pan.

Find Rucola here, or in our DINE app.
Find Threes Brewing here, or in our DINE app.
Find Delaney Barbecue here, or in our DINE app.
Find Meat Hook Sandwich here, or in our DINE app.
Find Bruno Pizza here, or in our DINE app.
Find Casa Mono here, or in our DINE app.

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