Cooking up restaurant-quality frying pans, stock pots and sauce pans for at-home chefs meant scouring the U.S. for the best metal.
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Austin, T.X.-based cookware brand Made In set out to launch a direct-to-consumer brand to compete in the $17 billion-a-year industry dominated by legacy brands like Le Creuset and All-Clad. Founders Chip Malt and Jake Kalick partnered with family-owned manufacturers in Tennessee, Illinois and Pennsylvania to make their first line of stainless-clad cookware.
“We knew that we wanted to make this cladded cookware in the U.S. because it’s where the best metal manufacturing comes from,” Kalick, whose family has been in the kitchen supply business for a century, told FOX Business.
Made In works with eight different facilities around the country that employ an average of about 90 people in each town.
How it’s made
Metal for their stainless-clad collection, which comprises cookware like a $99 stainless steel frying pan; a $79 saucier; along with five, 10 and 14-piece sets, comes from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Next, the raw metal goes to Rhode Island where it gets cladded and turned into discs for frying pans. The discs get sent to Tennessee where they get punched and sent to Illinois where they get sprayed from coating that’s shipped in from Pennsylvania. They sprayed parts of the cookware are then finished in Tennessee, and shipped to a warehouse in Kentucky where they’re packaged and sent to customers.
The brand is launching its Enameled Cast Iron collection this November. The made in the U.S. collection will include items like a Dutch oven and grill pan made with durable cast iron from a third-generation cast iron factory in Indiana, and finished with hand-peeled porcelain in Los Angeles. Made In says the cast iron can handle 2500°F degree temperatures, and retain heat to help with slow and tender braising, bread baking and indoor grilling or roasting.
Made-In wanted to cut out the middle man by selling its cookware direct-to-consumers online, but it was a challenge to convince investors that people would be willing to buy without seeing it in stores first.
“The feedback we got was, ‘You guys can’t sell cookware online. People need to touch and feel the cookware before they can buy it,” Kalick said, adding: “Convincing the people we were working with that cookware was something we sold online was probably the biggest hurdle.”
Made In raised a little over $1 million, from big-name investors like restaurateur and Bravo’s “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio.