Better Than Cast Iron
Hand-Forged Carbon Steel Cookware That’s (Almost) Too Beautiful to Use
With cookware, function comes first. But quality craftsmanship can carry its own aesthetic weight, and Blanc Creatives is a testament to the beauty that stems from blending premium materials with thoughtful design. Specializing in hand-forged carbon steel cookware, or what founder Correy Blanc calls “22nd-century antiques,” Blanc Creatives was born from a confluence of influences in Blanc’s life — an affinity for art-making; a relative who worked as a blacksmith; and firsthand experience in restaurant kitchens.
Carbon steel functions much like cast iron, with a natural non-stick surface and superior heat retention, yet lacks the weight of traditional cast iron. Blanc Creatives’ cookware arrives pre-seasoned, treated in a kiln with coconut oil, and assumes a blue-black patina with regular use as proof of proper seasoning.
Founded in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2011, Blanc Creatives originally set out to produce architectural fixtures, working commission-based jobs on the side. After receiving inquiries into a carbon steel pan hung as a decoration in his stall in a Christmas market, he pivoted to cookware. In 2015, his company was named Overall Winner of Garden & Gun magazine’s annual Made in the South Awards.
Today, Blanc Creatives is staffed by a team of 10 blacksmiths, who collectively produce eight different styles of carbon steel cookware. Each piece takes an average of eight hours to complete, first shaped with a hydraulic press before they are finished by hand. The elongated, curved handles of Blanc’s skillets are last to be assembled; shaped to allow for a more comfortable grip, they’ve become a signature of sorts for the brand. “We craft with function and purpose in mind and as our first priority,” said Keith Freeman, the company’s marketing manager. “Form and aesthetics follow close behind.”
The balance between utility and artistry has earned Blanc Creatives numerous accolades, a six-week waitlist and laid the foundation for a recent collaboration with Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which swapped Blanc Creatives’ carbon steel handles for contrasting bronze.