Leechtown Blacksmith Co. is forging unique cooking experiences with its heirloom-quality kitchen tools for both home and outdoor cooks.
By Athena McKenzie | Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet
There’s a cookware revolution happening in the world, and two local blacksmiths are ready for it. Inspired by a renewed interest in quality objects for daily life, Jake James and Ryan Fogarty of Leechtown Blacksmith Co. are launching a striking line of hand-forged pans, with other kitchen utensils to follow.
“A pan is something you use and handle every day,” James says. “It’s a very tactile object. It’s in full functional use. Here is something that we can really use our skills on, to the foremost.”
While the two often create tools for tradespeople, such as other blacksmiths
or timber framers, they hope these new items will appeal to a broader consumer market.
For the moment, Leechwood offers two lines of forged carbon steel pans, the Artisan, for use in the home, and the Outfitter, for outdoor cooking, something else that has become very popular.
“This gets something tangible into the hands of everybody,” Fogarty says. “It’s one of those daily things — whether you’re grabbing a spatula, a pan, a steak flipper or tongs — it’s for something you’re preparing that makes you feel good.”
James says that a home chef should treat a forged-steel pan similar to cast iron, in terms of the seasoning process, but know that steel is much more responsive when it comes to cooking.
“Cast-iron [pans] are great, in that they heat up relatively slowly and give you a nice steady heat, but they don’t respond quickly,” James says.
“When you’re cooking meat or things that require high flash heat and then the drop, the steel pans are great because they’re a little thinner, so you can get a really good searing heat and then drop that heat right away, no matter the heat source.”
From an environmental perspective, the blacksmiths acknowledge that while their craft requires the burning of fossil fuels, they are creating products that will outlast the user.
“We’re not using fossil fuels to create plastic throwaway items,” Fogarty says. “That is pretty important to us.”
The longevity of the items is a point of pride for the pair.
“They are designed to last,” Fogarty says. “You will pass this thing down in your will. It’s an heirloom tool.”
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