Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

mjc

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 5)

Recommended Posts

Hi - has anyone tried to use a commercial deep-fat fryer as a sous vide bath? 6 liter fryers are available new for under US$200. The temperature granularity of the fryer is coarse, but that shouldn't matter if the unit is plugged into a controller. If there's a thread which has already discussed this, I'd appreciate a pointer; I found a short one which discussed the use of a turkey fryer, but without substantive information. (In particular, the use of it and the objections to that use were theoretical; no one had tried it, as far as I could gather.) Tanx, Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though not for sous vide, at McDonald's we used a fryer at low temperature, with an oil bath, to reheat precooked top rounds to be sliced for the Roast Beef sandwich we were trying to develop. My boss, a liberal arts major, called it a tepidarium. As I remember we ran it at something like 160F.

We also used a smaller version, with water, to reheat packets of frozen sliced beef in gravy for another variation of the roast beef sandwich. This we just called a water bath.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An aquarium bubbler is the standard for on-the-cheap sous vide systems using rice cookers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Though not for sous vide, at McDonald's we used a fryer at low temperature, with an oil bath, to reheat precooked top rounds to be sliced for the Roast Beef sandwich we were trying to develop.  My boss, a liberal arts major, called it a tepidarium. ...

Sooo, directly from the frigiarium to the tepidarium? :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi - has anyone tried to use a commercial deep-fat fryer as a sous vide bath? 6 liter fryers are available new for under US$200. The temperature granularity of the fryer is coarse, but that shouldn't matter if the unit is plugged into a controller. If there's a thread which has already discussed this, I'd appreciate a pointer; I found a short one which discussed the use of a turkey fryer, but without substantive information. (In particular, the use of it and the objections to that use were theoretical; no one had tried it, as far as I could gather.) Tanx, Paul

The temperature granularity isn't all you'll need to worry about. Of more interest would be the distribution of heat. Rice cookers are ideal as they tend to have been designed to have a more even heat distribution because of the nature of what is being cooked. For high temperature frying, this is not as much of a consideration and hence not part of their design.

There will also likely be more heat loss from the fryer as they are not typically as well insulated as rice cookers, which are made to hold rice as well as cook it. As a consequence, there will be more heating and cooling, meaning that there is a good possibility of heat differential across the item that is being cooked. It will also use more energy because of the requirement for additional heating.

Bottom line, it could most likely be done but you will need:

1. a very good circulator, and

2. to be very careful setting the PiD parameters.

You can get a rice cooker for the same price you have quoted for the deep-fat fryer. It is what a lot of us use for sous vide.

I suppose your decision is how much you want the other use of the appliance (ie. deep-frying or cooking rice) in addition to using it for Sous Vide.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 liters is pretty tiny and for a lot less than $200 you can get something that will work every bit as well when plugged into a temperature controller. I often use a 6 quart Presto Multicooker that runs about $35. I have had it for 20 years and it works great for cooking small amounts of food sous vide. With a 6 liter water bath, you can cook a steak or a couple of chicken breasts or a couple of short ribs. You will need something with a much larger capacity to cook things like brisket, roasts and the like.

The multicooker is very responsive when used with a PID temperature controller. When the controller is set correctly, I get no overshoot.

Hi - has anyone tried to use a commercial deep-fat fryer as a sous vide bath? 6 liter fryers are available new for under US$200. The temperature granularity of the fryer is coarse, but that shouldn't matter if the unit is plugged into a controller. If there's a thread which has already discussed this, I'd appreciate a pointer; I found a short one which discussed the use of a turkey fryer, but without substantive information. (In particular, the use of it and the objections to that use were theoretical; no one had tried it, as far as I could gather.) Tanx, Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi - has anyone tried to use a commercial deep-fat fryer as a sous vide bath? 6 liter fryers are available new for under US$200. The temperature granularity of the fryer is coarse, but that shouldn't matter if the unit is plugged into a controller. If there's a thread which has already discussed this, I'd appreciate a pointer; I found a short one which discussed the use of a turkey fryer, but without substantive information. (In particular, the use of it and the objections to that use were theoretical; no one had tried it, as far as I could gather.) Tanx, Paul

The temperature granularity isn't all you'll need to worry about. Of more interest would be the distribution of heat. Rice cookers are ideal as they tend to have been designed to have a more even heat distribution because of the nature of what is being cooked. For high temperature frying, this is not as much of a consideration and hence not part of their design.

There will also likely be more heat loss from the fryer as they are not typically as well insulated as rice cookers, which are made to hold rice as well as cook it. As a consequence, there will be more heating and cooling, meaning that there is a good possibility of heat differential across the item that is being cooked. It will also use more energy because of the requirement for additional heating.

Bottom line, it could most likely be done but you will need:

1. a very good circulator, and

2. to be very careful setting the PiD parameters.

You can get a rice cooker for the same price you have quoted for the deep-fat fryer. It is what a lot of us use for sous vide.

I suppose your decision is how much you want the other use of the appliance (ie. deep-frying or cooking rice) in addition to using it for Sous Vide.

If it's volume and cost that are your issues try an el cheapo Rival roaster. 18 quart, under $40 and with a ten dollar aquarium circulator I haven't had any problems maintaining a temp with a Sous Vide Magic unit. I've cooked everything from fish to 72 hr Short Ribs.


Even Samantha Brown would have hard time summoning a "wow" for this. Anthony Bourdain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi - has anyone tried to use a commercial deep-fat fryer as a sous vide bath? 6 liter fryers are available new for under US$200. The temperature granularity of the fryer is coarse, but that shouldn't matter if the unit is plugged into a controller. If there's a thread which has already discussed this, I'd appreciate a pointer; I found a short one which discussed the use of a turkey fryer, but without substantive information. (In particular, the use of it and the objections to that use were theoretical; no one had tried it, as far as I could gather.) Tanx, Paul

If volume and price are significant issues why not use a Roaster. Presto makes a 18 quart model that is always on sale at less than $40. I have never had any problems controlling at standard auto tune PID with a Sous Vide Magic. Cooked everything from salmon to 72 hr. short ribs with total temp control. I use a rice cooker for most short cooks, but when you need to cook for several folks, Presto Roaster and a rib rack (to separate the bags) are hard to beat.


Even Samantha Brown would have hard time summoning a "wow" for this. Anthony Bourdain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you'd need a circulator

An aquarium bubbler is the standard for on-the-cheap sous vide systems using rice cookers.

Interesting.

I've been thinking about fish tanks and sous vide (I really can't afford/justify the expense of a 'proper set up). Apologies if this has been covered earlier in the thread, I did a search but the results weren't helpful! Could I use a small fish tank, aquarium heater and seperate thermostat? Circulation could be easily provided by a small aquarium powerhead. Aquarium heaters are available up to at least 500w and are very efficient and reliable. My husband likes the idea as he reckons he could insulate the whole tank with polystyrene tiles to save energy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In response to the question about using a deep fryer - yes it can be done and works very well. I've used a Gaggenau Deep fat fryer with a manual switch set to full power. Control with a PID controller and you've got a stable dual purpose machine., with the added benefit of being able to deep fry at very precise temperatures. You can add a circulator but equally you can do without one. I don't know if anyone here has done sufficient testing on circulator/no-circulator setups to determine the degree of variation empirically. I can tell you that I have SVd things (steaks, pork, chicken, game, vegetables etc.) perfectly well without the use of a circulator. You will not get 0.1C accuracy with this setup but consider how nicely most things turn out without even a 10C knowledge of the true temperature when cooked conventionally.

The Fish tank aquarium idea should work but there would be problems raising that mass of water to the correct temperature in a reasonable time with such a small powered heater. Insulating the tank with polystyrene sounds good but will bring about it's own problems such as will it allow the water temperature to come down enough in a reasonable time when the PID goes over the target temperature.

For anyone wanting to DIY this I think the main guidelines are you can use just about anything as a heat source and as a vessel. If you add a PID you'll get there eventually. Circulation adds accuracy but may not be essential if you're trying to keep costs down. If you sous vide something to within +-2C you will still get a very good result for most proteins. Bearing in mind that there are certain minimums below which it may be unsafe.

I think in general you want a largish container, not too much insulation, some agitation of the water, and reasonably powerful heater.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks joesan. I could, of course, use more than one heater, one of the reasons I thought of them is that they are very responsive. I'm thinking of a small tank, maybe 18"x12"x12", how much water should I use in terms of gallons (or litres)? I am now going to look at an aquarium thermostat and see how high it goes....

The other bonus is that all aquarium eqipment is food-grade.


Edited by ChristinaM (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that waterbaths upto 12 litres are temperature stable, with not much variation or cold spots. Above that you probably need a pump for circulation.


Edited by adey73 (log)

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christina - I don't know what your budget is but if you are in the UK you can buy a PID contoller for about £30 from eBay, with some basic electrical knowledge you can interface just about any heat source to it.

I normally use about 6-10 litres of water but have used as little as 3 litres. In general a larger amount of water will remain more stable but will, of course, take longer to come up to temperature. You can get over this to an extent by heating the water somewhere else, kettle or pot, and mixing with cold water to the appropriate approximate temperature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks adey73 and joesan. Any excuse to get myself back onto ebay! The kettle idea is a good one, I've been known to do that to do an emergency water change in one of the (with actual fish) aquaria.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that aquarium heaters will work well for sous-vide -- when I was trying to figure out how to do it on a budget I looked into it and couldn't find a way to make it work. Maybe I missed something -- like a particular brand of heater that would work for this application -- but I did a fair amount of research and came away with the sense that there wasn't workable solution with aquarium heaters.

I would be happy to be corrected with someone that had better luck. Below is what I found when I looked into it.

Most aquarium heaters have thermostats with a fairly narrow range--none of the ones that I looked at could handle temps in the range sous-vide requires. They aren't designed to run for long periods of time outside of the temperature range they were designed for. Cheap aquarium heaters tend to burn out somewhat quickly when used outside of their intended temperature range.

They take a long-time to bring water from room temperature up to temp -- or to recover from the temperature loss when you put in cold food.

Also, the thermostats suffer from the same problem that cheap thermostats all suffer from -- i.e. not as stable as you would like for sous-vide. If the water is already to temperature, they seem stable in normal use because they only need to make up for the heat lost due to radiation. However, if they have to make up for a sudden drop in temperature they don't work so well.

If you want to try sous-vide on the cheap without investing much, I would recommend starting with things that only take an hour or two and using a large pot of water on a really low flame (once the water is at temp) with a good thermometer. Before I invested in my PID, we did that a few times to cook steak and chicken breasts and got results good enough that investing $125 for a PID and table top roaster seemed like a worthwhile expense.

Thanks joesan. I could, of course, use more than one heater, one of the reasons I thought of them is that they are very responsive. I'm thinking of a small tank, maybe 18"x12"x12", how much water should I use in terms of gallons (or litres)? I am now going to look at an aquarium thermostat and see how high it goes....

The other bonus is that all aquarium eqipment is food-grade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

e_monster - I'm presuming that the thermostat would be overriden, or not applicable, and that a PID would be used. After that you're just left with a relatively low power heating element. Heat is heat so there's no reason why it shouldn't work - eventually...

Personally I don't think it would be ideal but if Christina wants to use what she already has I think it could be made to work. I've made a number of contraptions that all more or less worked as expected. A good easy one is a PID plus Deep Fryer (Cost about £60 in total via eBay) or PID plus Rice Maker (about the same).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

joesan, even with a PID, I don't believe that aquarium heaters are a good fit. They are not designed to recover from large temperature drops and aren't designed to run at temps much beyond 90 degrees fahrenheit.

If Christina already has them on hand and doesn't mind burning them out, it might be worth a try.

If she were going to be buying an aquarium and heaters and PID that would be more expensive than getting a PID and something like a Deep Fryer or Table Top Roaster (which is the most cost-effective unit that I have found for heating 18 litres of water--they are less than $40) or a Presto multicooker ($25) like I keep mentioning. And not only would it be more expensive, I am not even sure that it would work -- none of the aquarium heaters that I looked at had defeatable thermostats and they are likely to burn out fairly soon (compared to something designed to to heat water beyond 90 degrees fahrenheit).

The expense is the PID (roughly $100) -- the equipment for providing the heat is only $40 or less.

e_monster - I'm presuming that the thermostat would be overriden, or not applicable, and that a PID would be used. After that you're just left with a relatively low power heating element. Heat is heat so there's no reason why it shouldn't work - eventually...

Personally I don't think it would be ideal but if Christina wants to use what she already has I think it could be made to work. I've made a number of contraptions that all more or less worked as expected. A good easy one is a PID plus Deep Fryer (Cost about £60 in total via eBay) or PID plus Rice Maker (about the same).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's more or less the points I was making - other options would be better but if she already has the heaters they could be made to work, not brilliantly, but work. So we agree... :smile:

Pretty good PIDs can be found on eBay UK for about £30. I'm using 4 of them they're great...


Edited by joesan (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's exactly it, I have rather a large number of old aquarium heaters, most of them without thermostats of their own. OH has always taken the view that aquarium heaters are much safer and more reliable if controlled by an external thermostat and so far he's been proved right! A pair of 500wt will heat 6 gallons to about 90F in 15-20 minutes. I shall have to experiment...If not I'll try the deep fryer next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that, if a device (e.g., an aquarium heater) includes a thermostat, just plugging it in to a PID will not be enough to override the thermostat. You have to actually remove the built in thermostat.

Another way of putting it is that the PID won't work unless the thermostat of the device being controlled is either removed or set to a temperature higher than the set-point on the PID.

So, if you have an aquarium heater designed to cut off at 90F, and you hook it up to a PID with a 130F set-point. . . I have some bad news: That water bath ain't getting any higher than 90F.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The answers in the post - "That's exactly it, I have rather a large number of old aquarium heaters, most of them without thermostats of their own".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sooo, directly from the frigiarium to the tepidarium?  :smile:

But the whole point to sous vide/low temp is to both avoid the Caldarium and the Vomitorium! :rolleyes:

(I know I'm mis-using "Vomitorium" (it's the break in the grandstands through which the gladiators/footballers run onto the field) but I couldn't resist a little really bad architecture humor.)

On the point of the fish tank system: as long as you are pre-heating the water that's going into the tank, why not pre-heat the food on the stove also to avoid stressing the heaters when cold bags go in? I'm thinking that if you're doing a long cook, then warming the food/bags in a pot on the stove a few degrees below the target temp would take care of most of the temperature drop when they go into the tank. Also, if the system is having problems with overshoot, you could easily remove some of the insulation from the sides of the tank. (Besides, the best part of using a tank would be that you could see and photograph the bags hanging in the water surrounded by bubbles!)

Personally, I just bought a new probe thermometer to try some veggies on the stove top. Chadzilla has some interesting posts on potatoes cooked in the 83C range for 40min to 2h. I think I can handle babysitting a pot for an hour or so! He's saying that at 83C, the starch breaks down, but you still have some crispness from the pectins.

I'm going to cube up some Yukon Golds (dunno - 1/2" cubes?) and I'm thinking of olive oil+salt+pepper to start. Anyone have any other veggie suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom - 83c seems to be the magic number for vegetables. I tried some squash using the method outlined in Alinea. I was hoping to find a better way to cook squash than my time consuming grilling method. It looked great but I must confess I was a little disappointed with the texture and taste. It was more or less the way you describe, cooked but crunchy. I can't honestly say the method produced a better result but it was definitely worth trying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By Porthos
      I picked up enough boneless short ribs to make 3 meals for my Sweetie and me. One meal will be pan-braised tonight. One has been vacuum-sealed and is in the freezer. My question is about seasoning, sealing, freezing, then defrosting and cooking at a later date. I'd like to season and seal the 3rd meal's worth. Can I use a dry rub on the meat, then seal, freeze, and cook at a later date? Does anyone else do this?
    • By newchef
      So I've now found myself at the water's edge of Modernist Cuisine.  Specifically, using sodium citrate for emulsifying all kinds of cheeses.  What I'm after is making an emulsified Parmesan sauce as well as another emulsified cheese sauce (most likely using Cheddar or Colby) that I can freeze and use later.  I'm a single guy and am no stranger of tweaking recipes for freezing but I haven't done it for modernist stuff yet.  I'd love to make a big batch of cheese sauce, freeze it into ice cubes for up to 3 months or so, and then take a few cubes out to thaw on a weeknight and toss with pasta, drizzle over veggies, etc.
       
      I looked at the modernist cuisine FAQ and saw this specific post about the cheese sauce that is "probably" freeze-able because it uses something called carageenan.  Has anyone been able to freeze sauce and keep it frozen for, say, a few months?  And not have to use carageenan?
       
      Thanks!
    • By WackGet
      Recently I picked up a few different types of emulsifiers in bulk powder form when I saw them in passing at a catering wholesaler.
       
      Having never used powdered emulsifiers before in cooking or baking, I figured I'd find pretty comprehensive instructions for their use on the web - but I can't.
       
      I'm not a stranger to food science but nor am I a chemist. I understand that emulsifiers are at least sometimes prepared by pre-mixing them into a (heated?) liquid or fat and then using the resulting solution in the actual recipe, which may explain why a lot of commercial emulsifier mixtures are packages as tubes of gel or paste. I've also checked several industry-level textbooks about emulsifiers and while they are fantastic for in-depth explanations of the chemistry behind each emulsifier, they do not (as you might imagine) provide guidance on how a lowly baker or cook would actually use a powdered form.
       
      So does anyone know how to prepare and use a dry powdered form of any of the following in a real recipe?
       
      Specifically I am most interested in enhancing baked goods and adding stability to sauces, but would also like to know how to use them for other processes such as sausage-making too.
      E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E481 Sodium stearoyl lactylate E482 Calcium stearoyl lactylate E472e DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides)
        Thanks.
    • By mjbarnard
      I cooked two turkey breasts sous vide. This year had access to the Meater+ thermometer probe which I managed to vacuum seal in the bag without difficulty (it is small). Since it works wirelessly I was able to monitor and it records the internal temperatures at the thickest part of the breast.
      I thought the results were interesting. I cooked at 60C for 8 hours. I have always used https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-better-way-to-turkey-cook-that-bird-sous-vide-for-the-best-feast-ever which gives long cooking times at lower temperature. I have found that as according to this page https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html that 55C gives turkey which is just a little too pink for most tastes. Over the last few years have increased the temperature up to 59/60 and I find it perfect - very moist and tender, but pale not pink.
      See attached images. I changed my mind a couple of times and started at 58 then 60 then 59 again, so ignore the slight variations. The thing I found interesting was that the thickest part (of a large breast) reached 55C in around 1 hour 40 mins and target of 59 in 2 hours 30 mins. Now I appreciate that sous vide is a combination of temperature and time or duration, but the data make me think that around 4 hours would be sufficient, as per the seriouseats table. I have previously used the chefsteps 55-58 for their much longer advised times, up to 12 hours and the meat is still quite pink at the end, so I dont believe 55 for 12 hours would effectively be the same.
      From now on I will watching the internal temperatures with interest. This has always been the (relative) unkown for sous vide amateurs. 


    • By chefg
      I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens.
      The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine.
      When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day.
      This was good motivation.
      When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions.
      1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230.

      2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future.

      3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface.
      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...