As 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, we thought we’d give a shout- out to some of our favourite and proudly Canadian products and producers in the culinary world and food and beverage profession. For better or worse, globalization has meant that many household goods produced abroad or south of the border can be purchased for less money than the stuff produced locally; when people want to save a buck, they head to the nearby dollar store or Wallmart only to find that said purchase isn’t exactly the bargain they hoped for.
Many consumers prefer to buy locally where possible, and get a feel-good moment when buying Canadian and supporting Canadian industry, initiatives and jobs. At Fiesta, we’re always happy to see local entrepreneurs succeed, and like to give Canadian owned businesses a little love.
Crown Cookware is a Canadian success story that started back in 1981 when David Vella and his father founded Crown Custom Metal Spinning Inc. on Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke. Shortly after its inception Crown started producing cookware and bakeware from 1/8 inch thick high purity food grade aluminum for professional use in restaurants, bakeries and home use as well. In fact it was in my search for a new square cake pan that I discovered Crown Cookware, even though I had worked for years in kitchens that cooked with the Crown Cookware logo stamped on the bottom of the stockpots, saucepans and frying pans.
I wanted a square pan that was large enough to make square slab cakes and could also double as a pan for brownies and squares. I found it at Tap Phong on Spadina in downtown Toronto. This 12-inch square pan is perfect for making 3 dozen two-inch brownies or a cake large enough to serve at a family reunion. I knew as soon as I picked it up off the shelf that it was well made; solid, weighty, durable, folded and seamlessly welded with perfect, clean corners and smooth edges. And stamped on the bottom, Made in Canada.
The manufacturing process Crown uses for its pots and pans is called metal spinning or spin forming, and is part craftsmanship, art and science. You know how people love to say “Hand-scooped” or “Hand Picked” ? Well now you can say your pot was hand spun!
“The spinning process is fairly simple. A formed block is mounted in the drive section of a lathe. A pre-sized metal disk is then clamped against the block by a pressure pad, which is attached to the tailstock. The block and workpiece are then rotated together at high speeds. A localized force is then applied to the workpiece to cause it to flow over the block. The force is usually applied via various levered tools. Simple workpieces are just removed from the block…”- Black, J.T. (2011). DeGarmo’s Materials and Processes in Manufacturing.
Here is a cool video shot at Crown Cookware that shows a pot being made. You can see that the pot being made has a signature rim or “crown” on it when it comes off the lathe, a distinguishing characteristic of their cookware.
In addition to pots and pans Crown also makes pizza pans and accessories, angel cake pans, cookie sheets, mixing bowls and much more. Here’s their catalogue which will give you an idea of the wide variety of products they turn out. Or you could check out their cash and carry store in person right at the factory!