After many years of seeking the perfect omelette pan, we finally found it.
The Iwachu Omelette Pan.
To be clear – our bar was set high.
Our family destroys pans. Nonstick? Scratched. Anodized? Ruined in dishwasher. Cast iron? Caught on fire. After ruining them, we guiltily piled them up in the garage…someday, we’d use them for camping! And, truth be told, even when we don’t destroy pans, many pans, even ones claiming to be great, disappoint. In all the great work we’d done gathering the best cooking tools for our family, it was time to solve all our morning cooking problems with a fantastic omlette pan – and get our days started right! So, we went to work and discovered this gem: the Iwachu Omelette pan. Yep, we use it every single day. Seriously.
In our quest to seek and own quality cookware for our busy vegetarian family life, we learned that the kitchen tools we came to treasure shared a secret: they were someone else’s labor of love. Sometimes, these objects are also imbued with culture – reflecting a whole region’s way of life in how they are conceived, designed, shaped, and manufactured. These two elements, love and culture, magically combine and form the basis of all the greats. Iwachu absolutely embodies this chemistry.
Our appreciation for lovingly crafted cooking tools that reflect the culture of those who make and use them brought us with great delight to the craftspeople at Japan’s Iwachu. After watching a fantastic travel documentary on Japan, and realizing going there for now remains a distant dream, we really got into the idea we could enjoy a small connection to Japanese culture through purchasing a meaningful item created there. What could be more expressive of Japanese culture than metalworks, of which Iwachu is part? Iwachu is part of a long running Nanbu iron working tradition Morioka Prefecture, Japan. Their company explains that creating one of their iron works, like teapots and Iwachu pans, “usually consists of 64 to 68 steps. At Iwachu, most of this process is still done by hand and quality is strictly maintained and controlled by a master craftsman known as a “kamashi”. It requires at least 15 years to become a full-fledged craftsman, and 30-40 years to become a kamashi “
Witnessing the process makes the above perfectly clear. The hot molten iron and escaping steam of the molding processes at the iron foundry at Iwachu is reminiscent of the volcanoes of the region, that have stood watch over generations of local craftspeople who have made these pans by hand. The shaping and folding of the stay-cool handle, and the blacksmithing of final touches reminds you of great Japanese swords or sheilds. It certainly makes for an outstanding pan.
But let’s get back to basics: how quickly can we destroy this pan, like all the others that came before it? And, did it disappoint?
Here are the big tests it passed:
1) Nonstick. This pan, with the customary olive, avocado, or other high-heat oil rolled about, is the best nonstick surface we’ve encountered. We’ve slipped and slided lots of goodies, even pan-flipping items and cooking both sides like a pro. Even with the heat at medium low, in no time it distributes heat perfectly and cooks the food evenly and beautifully. It cooks things perfectly.
2) Easy wash. Because the Iwachu surface is designed to avoid sticking, this pan really does clean easily by hand. Not even tempted to toss it in the dishwasher.
3) Tough. You can use whatever spatula is handy. We picked up some bamboo spatulas to increase the fun of using this pan, but it can also take metal or whatever is nearby. I do tend to use non-scratching spatulas on this, but it has held up to anything we’ve used. What is more, the non-stick nature of the surface makes and scraping action unneeded.
4) Comfortable. This pan is just the right size for quick personalized omelettes, tofu and onions, or what have you. Unlike our go-to cast iron cooking pan, it is a bit smaller and much lighter, so it is easy to manage on the stovetop.
5) Gorgeous. It is very simple, but, it’s design is so pleasing, in how it looks, its weight, its feel.
There are other companies that make well rated pans which we have used or that we own (some have even avoided our above mentioned destruction and garage ostricization). I am a huge fan of Le Creuset. I have the Le Creuset 10 1/4 inch enameled iron handled skillet, which is used by many top chefs for omelettes and similar cooking. In my opinion it is not quite as perfect as the Iwachu, but is close. It keeps that handsome Le Creuset design, performs excellently, and is large enough to cook substantial amounts at once. Truly, the Iwachu and Le Creuset products are the only pans that have met all my criteria. They exceed other pans by a long margin, and the Iwachu is ultimately the best omelette pan I have ever used. There are pans that are more expensive than the Iwachu, but I truly would pick the Iwachu over any omelette pan, for any price.
Are there any “cons?” Frankly, no. The only remote concern is price, but there are far more expensive pans out there that don’t do as well, and with Iwachu you get a product that works perfectly, that connects with a tradition, that is beautiful in itself and complements any kitchen, and that will last.
Add this great Iwachu Omelette Pan to your vegetarian kitchen. Go online and watch it being made by hand. The next time you wake up to make a nice breakfast for loved ones, you’ll feel connected to the people who created this pan with love just for you, and the many families in the world who have been a part of that tradition. You’ll appreciate the quality and care someone took for you!
Some basic stats on the Iwachu, and a link for more information follow:
- Unique shape makes cooking an omelet easy
- 9-1/2 inch Diameter
- Heats evenly to prevent undercooking or burning
- Specially formed handle does not get too hot
- Made in Japan