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Behind the Design: Tom’s Pan

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From Chef Tom Colicchio’s kitchen to yours, meet your new piece of heirloom cookware.

By Team Made In
Nov 2, 2023
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In the 1980s, a young (pre-Gramercy Tavern, pre-Top Chef) Tom Colicchio bought a carbon steel pan from Zabar’s, the “gourmet emporium” in New York’s Upper West Side. Along with his knife roll, this pan accompanied Chef Colicchio throughout his career, from young cook to one of the most recognizable chefs in the world. Thirty years later, it’s still a family favorite.

After successful collaborations on Fishing Knives and Roasting Pans, Tom trusted us enough to recreate it for him. 18 months later, we’re finally ready to share our interpretation with Made In’s most adventurous, maybe even obsessive, customers. Here’s Chef Colicchio’s—and our—three favorite features of this very special collaboration.

A Painstaking Remaster

Two men, one younger with a beard and another older wearing a cap, attentively examine documents at a table with kitchenware around them.

After AirTagging the original pan—can’t risk losing something this precious!—and having Chef Colicchio ship it to us in Austin, we created a 3D scan to assist in product development. This approach is often taken in various industries to be able to replicate one-of-a-kind models. We used it to digitally excavate the prototype from three decades worth of James Beard Award-winning cooking and hard-earned seasoning.

Initially, we struggled to find an Austin-based partner that could commit to scanning the pan without damaging it—materials like spray paint are often used to reduce light reflection in scans. But in the end it ended up working perfectly—ironically, entirely due to the years of use and layers of seasoning that Tom cooked into the pan.

The resulting scan captured the pan down the millimeter. You could actually see the years of seasoning, not unlike tree rings. This allowed us to not only get the original pan back down to its original base, but to analyze the construction and finer details that allowed this pan to be cemented in Tom’s arsenal for so long.

2.5mm-Thick Carbon Steel Construction

tom colicchio  roast chicken recipe

After we undid close to three decades worth of built-up seasoning (and removed any lingering imperfections) we established a Carbon Steel base that, according to Chef, felt like the pan he bought 30 years ago. Unlike our original Carbon Steel Pans at 2.00mm, Tom’s Pan—designed to emulate decades of seasoning—clocks in at 2.5mm thick, adding heft, quality, and durability.

Tom’s Pan also comes preseasoned, so you can skip the initial seasoning steps and jump right in to cooking (may we suggest his Colicchio family-favorite pan-roasted chicken recipe, made for years in his original pan?).

Pure Brass Handle

A close-up of a black frying pan with a golden handle that has the text "MADE IN IT" engraved on it, casting a shadow on a light background.

Once we got the base just right, we moved on to the handle. We created 3D prints of multiple versions of Tom’s handle in order to achieve the most ergonomic geometry possible, without deviating too much from the handle that he knew and loved. We settled on an elegant handle made of 100% Brass that is long and easy to reach, even from the back of the oven.

Brass develops its own unique patina and character over time, evolving alongside the Pan’s seasoning. Each Pan in this hyper-limited run—only 1,000 were made—will be stamped with a unique serial number along the handle, so you can enjoy knowing which order you were in this small-batch production.

From there, it was a matter of finishing touches. We worked on logo placement and determined how we would add the nod to Tom by adding his initials to the handle in a subtle, but meaningful way—and it’s one of our favorite touches to date.

Ready to Shop?

From Chef Tom Colicchio’s kitchen to yours, meet your new piece of heirloom cookware. Only 1,000 of these pans were manufactured, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Set your alarms for 10 AM ET Friday, 11/3 so you’re first to know when it drops.