We’re big fans of drinking coffee around here, and in some cases, being able to eat it too. So naturally, we reached out to our friend Kate from Ironclad Pan Company, New Zealand’s only cast iron cookware company, to nab a couple of great recipes that feature yours truly. While we were at it, we also chatted about Ironclad's beginnings as well as what’s on the horizon.
We reckon Ironclad is pretty special, because just like us, they were founded right here in New Zealand. In an era of disposable stuff, the Ironclad team wanted to create a product that would last for generations, and they’ve done just that.
Q. Hey Kate, tell us about Ironclad. What is it?
Ironclad is Aotearoa’s only cast iron cookware company. Everything is designed by me and made locally. We’re all about family, sustainability and quality. Our cast iron pans are the only ones that come to you completely unseasoned. You are in control from the start — no nasty chemicals or dyes are used in our processes. Along with seasoning instructions and grapeseed oil, we give you a Three Generation Guarantee™️, so you can pass your cookware down to future generations. What we love is that the more you use cast iron the better it gets — not like other materials that deteriorate over time.
Q. What led you to starting Ironclad?
My husband Levi and I wanted to try making a product — having only been in services previously (I am a graphic designer by trade.) So we were brainstorming on what that product could be — in the kitchen — where most important family discussions happen! We started with the idea that it had to be good for you and good for the planet, and ideally something you use every day. Our 8 year old is an environmentalist and constantly questioning us on sustainability and climate change. So we knew whatever we did would have to pass his strict standards. We have a set of three cast iron pans that were handed down to us, and I held one of them up and ‘bing!’ — lightbulb moment. That’s when the in depth research started.
Q. Who and what do you look to for inspiration?
Levi inspired the whole brand from the get go — the name and the overarching brand identity. After I started the product design process and initial research into cast iron, we quickly realised we needed help to get the company going. Levi then introduced me to Joe Carter, who he was working with at the time. When Joe came on board he was massively inspirational in terms of growing the business and together we looked at other companies such as YETI, Best Made, and honestly, we always loved Supreme. So it’s an honour to be collaborating with you now. We’re constantly looking to find others who operate with the same values and find inspiration in what they are doing, beyond the cookware category.
I also get great inspiration working with our recipe developer and content creator Felicity Morgan-Rhind. She makes the most sensational food. I consult her on new product features and design now, too.
Q. What’s your coffee setup at home or office?
We have a plunger in both places and I have a beautiful stovetop moka pot at home. It was designed by Freud and has a wooden handle. I love it as a design piece as well as making a great short, strong brew. We also have a set of three single cup gold coffee filters, which my husband has in constant rotation. However, I also love the ritual of going out for a flat white at local cafes. We aspire to get our own proper coffee machine in the new Ironclad office one day.
Q. Got a favourite Supreme coffee?
Brazil Blend. And whatever they serve me at the cafes under the Supreme brand.
Q. Smooth or crunchy?
Smooth coffee. Crunchy peanut butter!
Q. Favourite way to use Ironclad products?
Roasting veggies in the oven — especially baby potatoes and brussel sprouts. I like to get the pan nice and hot on the stove top first — with a little oil in there — add any seasoning you like. It makes the veges nice and crunchy on the outside. Then you transfer to the oven for roasting.
And baking cakes — I use both sizes. Being cast iron the cook time just decreases a little and you need to turn it out so the cake doesn’t continue to cook. Cast iron is awesome because of its versatility — so being able to take them camping and cooking on an open fire, or on the BBQ. They also work perfectly well on induction — any home stove top and oven.
Q. If you could make a custom pan for anyone, who would it be and why?
We actually have a few of these ideas brewing. I want to design a ramekin for Ben Bayly, for his soufflé. A special pie tin for Al Brown. Al is one of my favourite people I’ve met through Ironclad. I love the way he works, his whole mana and his team are awesome. Plus his food is incredible. I would love to do a toastie sandwich press for Josh Niland. Another favourite person of mine is Peter Gordon, for him I plan to design a glass lid for the pan. Peter has been amazingly supportive and available to us from the beginning. He’s one of the most generous and genuine people I’ve met. I wish we could give back more to our greatest advocates. The best thing about running your own company like this, is being able to choose who to work with.
Q. What’s on the horizon for Ironclad?
A 4.5L Dutch Oven — with all the traditional features, plus one more that I can’t talk about yet. But watch this space because it will revolutionise the way you can cook at home. Lots more exciting collaborations with local brands and people. And we’re investigating the best way to reach the Australian market more sustainably, so we will explore manufacturing over there.
If you’d like to level up your kitchen with an Ironclad Co Pan, they’re available to purchase from their website here. And, you’ll find Felicity from the Ironclad team's show stopping Coffee Supreme x Ironclad recipes below:
- Supremely Good Coffee Chocolate Brownie
- Supreme Coffee Walnut and Halva Cake