Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Mac Kohler

A simple question asked by his wife and a light stroll through his New York neighborhood are what led Mac Kohler to design and own one of the only Copper Cookware brands found in the United States. Always having a passion for cooking, Kohler noticed that there was a missing piece to the American kitchen; no U.S made copper cooking products. Fast forward a decade and Brooklyn Copper Cookware has been named the “best” and “most beautiful” copper cookware in the industry by NY Times, Consumer Reports, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart. Being totally sustainable, renewable, and sleek, Brooklyn Copper Cookware is a must-have in your kitchen. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Mac Kohler.

Renewability is a key part of Brooklyn Copper Cookware’s mission. No matter the age they are more than happy to restore your copper cookware back to their former glory.

Renewability is a key part of Brooklyn Copper Cookware’s mission. No matter the age they are more than happy to restore your copper cookware back to their former glory.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Mac Kohler: That’s easy. We designed BCC first for what it makes (namely, your next meal) by using just three ingredients, pure copper, tin and iron, perfectly formed, balanced and joined so that when food meets heat absolutely nothing is compromised.

Next, we designed BCC by hand as a tool to be used instinctively – dimensions, weights, handles… every element in a very simple tool to fit an American range top and the hands that work there.

It’s the tactile experience of BCC – its robust heft, resilience, and performance, for which people are willing to pay more. Our cookware’s visual beauty and longevity are happy byproducts. We don’t have to been seen to be believed.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Mac: Hemp, particularly fiber, in clothing, building materials, paper, rope… anywhere, really, but mostly in farmway design, such that the raw materials of downstream design may once again sequester carbon, restore soils, and regenerate the mycelia and other microbiota being progressively extinguished by extractive agriculture and petrochemical contamination.

Andrew: What’s the best thing that happened to you this month?
Mac: Cresting a ridge while driving through the Green Mountains on the last new moon, shutting everything down to stand in the midsummer darkness and utterly fail to discern where the fireflies stopped and the stars began.

Andrew: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Mac: Martini: 3 parts Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin, 1 part Boissiere “Bone Dry” Vermouth, shaken with crushed ice, amended with two crushed juniper berries and a twist of lemon.

Andrew: What are three words to describe where you live?
Mac: In the valley between paradises.

set of Brooklyn Copper Cookware founded by Mac Kohler
The purity of Brooklyn Copper Cookware is simple and beneficial. The only things their cookware is made out of are copper, tin, and iron. Nothing more, and nothing less than the best.

The purity of Brooklyn Copper Cookware is simple and beneficial. The only things their cookware is made out of are copper, tin, and iron. Nothing more, and nothing less than the best.

Andrew: What would you like to be remembered for?
Mac: 300 years from now someone who loves to cook will pause momentarily, delighting that their great, great, great grandmother acquired the BCC pan they are using.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Mac: I love to cook, and those who matter to me most tell me I’m pretty good at it. The best thing I make is copper cookware.

Andrew: Who is your dream date (alive or dead) and what would you do?
Mac: My dream date is my 70th wedding anniversary with my wife of these past 33 years. It’ll be 2058, I’ll have to get to 95, she’ll have to make 94. Whatever we can manage to do by that age will be enough, but if one or the other (or both of us) is dead by then, we’ll still keep the date.

Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
Mac: A No.08 Opinel Knife, a Brooks Leather Bike Saddle and an Aeropress. All perfect designs that execute their purposes simply and impeccably. My phone is the one thing I can’t, but would dearly love to, live without.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Mac: Make forever tools.

mac kohler bcc cookware
Everyone needs a classic Saute pan in their kitchen. All of Brooklyn Copper Cookware are tin-lined allowing for heat to distribute evenly and rapidly. They are also super lightweight allowing you to move around easily in your kitchen.

Everyone needs a classic Saute pan in their kitchen. All of Brooklyn Copper Cookware are tin-lined allowing for heat to distribute evenly and rapidly. They are also super lightweight allowing you to move around easily in your kitchen.

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Mac: A 1982 Patagonia “Bunting” ski jacket, that I still use for skiing (and lots else), that Patagonia has repaired three times in four decades (all damage that I inflicted), that is as warm, useful, and red as the day it was new, and that partly inspired Brooklyn Copper Cookware’s “infinitely renewable” design criterion.

Andrew: What might the design world look like in 10 years?
Mac: “Single-use” will define failure.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life right now?
Mac: Young folk taking their position in the circles and webs of life more thoughtfully and reverently, less imperiously and acquisitively. For the first time in perhaps 2000 years, a generation is beginning to think of itself as not separate from the rest of creation.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Mac: Love profligately, chaotically, ecstatically, painfully, discreetly, openly. Spend every bit of it you have within you.

Andrew: How do you define beauty?
Mac: As the very best compensation for having been born.

Andrew: Favorite tea to decompress, and in what mug?
Mac: If I really need to decompress (like lower-my-blood-pressure-decompress), hibiscus flower. If I’m in it solely for the tea, Gen Mai Cha (roasted barley green tea). The mug is a battered brown Rosenthal that’s the 30-year-old survivor of a gifted pair.

Andrew: What’s your go-to snack between zooms?
Mac: Peanut butter, sometimes on a banana or apple, all too often by the spoonful out of the jar.


About The Maker | Mac Kohler completely lacked any of the skills a design/manufacturing/retailing outfit might need when he ventured into copper cookware, but he now sees this was a huge advantage – not knowing how to do something includes not knowing it can’t be done. With a sublime ignorance of all of the markets, engineering, materials and hand-metal fabricating skills that would have to be reestablished, Brooklyn Copper Cookware was free to envision American-made copper cookware right down to the rivets.

Over a decade later the NY Times, Consumer Reports, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, and others have called BCC the “best” and “most beautiful” copper cookware on the market. It’s 100% sourced and hand-made in the US, uses far less energy to produce than any other metal cookware, is 100% renewable for centuries, and sets a performance standard to which other cookware can only aspire.

The BCC home in Brooklyn is under Manhattan Bridge, just a couple of blocks from the late, great Waldow Co. Mac got his start on the old Waldow tooling before designing his own, and now BCC is a true native of America’s foodie ghetto, committed not only to producing the very best kitchen tools, but to sustainable manufacturing practices and super-low environmental impact.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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