Perfecting an age-old cookware favorite

By Maryse Chevriere

It’s been said a lot, but sometimes it’s just true: Everything old is new again. Cast iron vessels have been used for cooking for literally thousands of years, but a young company called Stargazer Cast Iron is giving the old skillet a much-deserved fresh new face.

The brainchild of designer Peter Huntley, Stargazer was born out of a less-than-impressed appraisal of the cast iron industry’s status quo. His solution? Look to the past. A year of collecting, restoring, and using vintage cast iron cookware provided the lightbulb-moment as to what wasn’t quite right. In 2015 he enlisted two equally enthusiastic friends, Dan Stefan and Luke Trovato, and got to work on reinventing the skillet.

And, well, you’ve got to give it to them—their design really does seem to check a lot of boxes. It weighs a pound lighter than its peers; the handle has been reimagined with a forked groove that keeps it cooler and easier to hold; it’s been machined to have a smooth cook surface so it’s even more nonstick than cast iron naturally is.

Best of all, it’s still quite affordable: Less than $100 for a piece of cookware that you won’t have to replace for generations is a pretty good deal, when you think about it. Right now, Stargazer has 10.5-inch bare ($80) and seasoned ($88) skillets available, and—having received frequent requests for new products like griddles and dutch ovens—they also have plans in place to expand the line later in the year.

Word on the street
  • The not-so-easy-to-impress pros at Saveur magazine called Stargazer’s cast iron skillet the best they’ve ever used, and featured it in their 2017 gift guide, “Kitchen Tools We Love.” They were particularly charmed by by its lighter weight, “pour-friendly rim,” and “forked handle that stays way cooler for longer,” calling it the “Lamborghini of cast iron skillets.”
  • YouTuber Jeffery B. Roger, aka The Culinary Fanatic, raved to his 78,000 subscribers that Stargazer’s “price is a steal for something like this. It’s got a good weight, and it’s really nice. This, without a doubt, has a very unique look to it. Beautiful. I can’t get over the surface on it.”
  • In a spotlight on Stargazer, industry magazine Kitchenware News highlights the unique aesthetic and design of their handcrafted skillets over mass-produced models.

5 Reasons Why Cast Iron Crushes the Cookware Competition

  • A well-seasoned cast iron pan is naturally nonstick, meaning you don’t have to worry about the possibility of any synthetic nonstick residue contaminating your food.
  • Cast iron retains heat better and for longer. Use the skillet as a serving platter—a nice way to add a rustic, family-style touch—and you won’t have to worry as much about needing to reheat the food when folks go back for seconds.
  • Cast iron skillets are super versatile: You can use them to sear, sauté, roast, braise, even bake (yes, please, skillet cornbread).
  • Because traces of iron will leach into the food you cook on it, it’s an easy, passive way to up your daily iron intake.
  • They pretty much last forever.
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