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david goodfellow

Michelin Guide, Great Britain & Ireland 2013

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There does seem to be two lines of thought with regards to Michelin, one being they only rate the 'best of the best' and the other being, they are very politically motivated, underhand, out of touch and generally far too full of their own (worthless) importantance. I certainly favour the latter where the UK guide is concerned.

What really does it offer these days other than a hotch potch level of standards, that are so confusing to many and I'd image very unjust to establishments that are not constantly over hyped or are pr, media driven.

Some very interesting stories starting to unfold over in New York with the rapid two star award given to Atera. Reading between the lines it is being suggested that the guide would have had no way to rate this place in such a short time frame. Apparently the establishment is harder to reserve a table than a place would have been at the last supper. So with michelin only booking under false names, having to visit multipul times, which they state is required to award two stars, one does start wonder what really is going on?

Politically motivated..........

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Putty Man, I like a lot of your arguments here, and I think many them ring true. That said, I'm not sure that Michelin's inconsistency in the UK and Ireland guide is all about elevation of the unworthy. Especially at the 1-star level, I've eaten quite a few meals at restaurants in France that I am *convinced* would not receive a star in Ireland if you transplanted them in their entirety. Of course, Ireland doesn't have a culinary tradition, nor does it have any kind of buzz that would register with Michelin at all, and historically it seemed that Michelin were barely conscious of top-drawer cooking in Ireland. For a long time I believed that it was much harder to get a star in Ireland than in France, and certainly much harder than in NY. The recent elevations here possibly hint at a shift in this policy, but actually they just make things more confusing IMO. We'll see how it plays out.

I can't comment widely about the UK aside from noting that my rare meals in Michelin-starred "buzz" restaurants have been disappointing.

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robert45, I would recommend you try the The Hand and Flowers in Marlow - neither underwhelming nor overpriced. Might change your mind about starred pubs.

I have indeed visited the above, earlier in the year whilst on business. To be perfectly honest I found it not only very underwhelming but disappointing, in as much as it having two stars attached to it. Why?? I found the whole experience very average to be honest. I could not understand why such an establishment would be awarded like it has. Almost random. The two star rating was to me completely unjustified and more importantly totally unnecessary. I did actually contact the guide to convey my thoughts because I did think in this case it was just ridiculous on the guides part. Im sure it would be a great pub if it didn't have all the guff of two stars. By the way, one of our party had to send back his beef dish that night, as it was overcooked. I had not ever encountered this in a two star establishment prior.

I think this is part of the problem.

conflating your opinion of the establishment, with how it is rated by michelin. it is, what it is, not a michelin pub. as in it is as good as it is, in a broad absolute. Within that construct, Michelin have passed an opinion on how they regard it. (sorry if that's a bit circular).

there is no cozy relationship between Kerridge and Michelin per se.

as for the judgement on the food at the Hand and Flowers, my own experience could not be more different. the quality of cooking, precision, timing of the dishes was first class on a recent visit. surprisingly delicate, with very good ingredient quality.

I am also interested in what you mean by beef dish being sent back because its been overcooked? if its steak not cooked to your liking then sure, if its Tartare I can see the problem ;) but otherwise, its more than likely a daube, braise or similar. that isn't coming medium rare. The only reason I mention this is the description as a beef dish, and not a steak - also kerridge is known for his slow cooking of cheeks and less common cuts. and if your steak has not been prepared to your specification, sending it back is only fair. not sure, I would qualify that as evidence of a restaurants broader technical failings though.

again, appreciate that might seem pedantic.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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And it raises the interesting question as to at what point does a pub stop being a pub and becomes a restaurant?

is it? personally, I am not sure how the question leads to any useful distinction?


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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is it?

Sorry - not sure I understand your question. Is it what?

Do you mean is it an interesting question? Well, yes, generally speaking it is to me - I wouldnt have made the point otherwise.

In the context of this discussion, the "useful distinction" is relevent to Michelin awarding its one-stars to categories, as Gary points out. If a pub is awarded a star and then later morphs into being a restaurant, you might well expect it to lose its star as it's no longer in the same category - even though nothing else changes. The fact that this doesnt seem to happen suggests that, in practice, Michelin's talk of its "categories" is just bollocks.


John Hartley

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Thanks for the response, I'm going to take issue with a few things but before I do that I'd like to acknowledge that I am not specifically pulling out your posts for any other reason than I find them interesting. Pam's prosaic claims that Michelin is about who you know isn't very interesting as an example.

I can't quite see (yet) the heart of your argument, it seems to be a few vague allusions around the edges, but what is the guts of it all.

Fair enough, I'll restate what I've already claimed upthread, but with a few details. Outside, and unlike, France, Michelin has given up on being an arbiter of taste and now merely follows the pack (although shuffling it a tad in order to remain enigmatic). For me the seminal example is the Fat Duck, although MPW set the scene. MPW was the first Brit who was perceived to be a chef in the stereotypical mould favoured by Michelin. His cooking was never on a par with Koffman, Mosimann or the Rouxs, but who cares? Like Frank Bruno, Britishness trumped talent.

I could come to this point more easily except I know from a direct, personal standpoint, that Koffman could not disagree with you more on MPW. Mosimann doesn't belong in this conversation.

With the advent of the internet, the most recent Anglophone colony, and a first generation of adult users, what counted was 'buzz'. When Heston took up Adriá's postmodernism, it was Heston who got most of the attention for the simple fact that Heston as cooking in English. Sure, hardcore foodies know that HB's debt to el Bulli is huge, but again, compared to Heston's self-effacing British laddishness, Adriá is a rather gauche wog. By elevating the FD to 3* status Michelin also elevated a purported British gastronomic ingenuity to a similar status in the English speaking world. Seemingly no one in the UK didn't want to hitch their cart to this renaissance and peripheral participants suddenly had the chance to take centre stage. Prior to HB, the term British food critic was an oxymoron, but said individuals have worked hard to consolidate their position on a global stage and entities such as Jay Rayner distribute gastronomic pomposity throughout the English speaking world in exchange for coin.

ok, that's your conclusion, your assertion, but its a fairly loosely supported one. the association of Heston and Adria seems to be one of Molecular approach, rather than any specific influence or technical commonality. Michelin's job is to be relevant in its markets where it produces guides, so there is an element of Britishness at play I suspect. I do not see any evidence within or outside your argument however, that would support Heston as some of divining rod of a new british food renaissance. any more than MPW or GR in recent times.

I can't begin to understand the comment about critics, that's a plain nonsense.

My contention, is that Michelin was a late arrival to this back-slapping party, but was astute enough to realise that the UK no longer wished to be dictated to by the French, irrespective as to whether the French had a valid claim to superior gastronomic knowledge. What follows is a clever, but cynical, recycling of an inbred and deluded nation's opinion of its culinary importance. After all, is Michelin really in the business of educating palates, or are they more interested in sales?

I can't even quite work out what the contention actually is, confused within its own tautologies. I think its true that Michelin is keen to make sure it remains relevant, and that there are some commericial considerations but this is hardly a new thing and there is no new paradigm that I can see any basis or evidence for. if Nico and Marco weren't handing back their stars, I don't think Gordon gets his third, but that's the cynic in me - I can't prove this. I just cannot however, see any basis for suggesting there has been a step change with HB.

One might wish to argue that the FD has grown into its global reputation, I wouldn't. Cranking out thousands of tasting menus a week, no matter how many chemicals one uses and how complex the recipes, smacks of making hay. Of course, I'd do the same in such a fickle market. However, there was no way that when the FD got 3• it deserved them on any scale. Michelin merely confirmed that Bray was a sort of culinary Carnaby St.

hold on, I think it might be possible to argue with more time and inclination that the FD benefited from the new molecular movement, and its ascendency within that - just as all movements have their leaders and beneficiaries. But that is no different to Nouvelle Cuisine, and we have more classical 3* and very heavily influenced nouvelle 3*'s today. I'm particularly not minded towards the classic, as it seems tired and out of touch today, but that's just my view.

I am not sure I can take that view and then insist people who do favour such approaches are blinded by an anachronistic allegiance to historical hegemony.

if we ascribe MG as a valid culinary movement, as I feel we must, then FD is just a restaurant at its vanguard neither its finest, nor an imposter.

Personally, I think the FD has evolved enormously, but not on the plate. service, theatre, precision and timing are all of a level far, far greater than the back slapping good old days, of being able to have prix fixes lunches. the experience is a complete one, but its lack of modal variation leaves it a bit cold for me. change the bloody record for heaven's sake Heston.

I also think its just plain wrong to suggest a meal here is not considerably more refined today than 10 years ago, it is also imo, not as much fun. It is for me, by any definition worthy of 3*'s and is far from the fringe of that designation.

This is certainly in accordance with how Michelin would like you to see them.

that is certainly platitudinous :raz:

Michelin will never be completely right for anyone. What matters is the degree to which Michelin diverges. When this divergence is patently due to the ability of PRs to unduly influence the media, then, I argue, it does matter.

I think if anything, over the last 5 years or so, the media has followed michelin not vice versa. this is why ordinary, non foodie folk even know what a michelin star is these days. that and social media.

I cannot accept an argument that purports to align the media/PR and Michelin on one side, and popular opinion on the other. should this divergence exist anywhere other than the imagination, then Michelin would have died off long ago.

you cannot be an arbiter of taste and style without having your own sensibilities accepted and acknowledged as providing worth.

This is an empirical claim, and as such easy to point out that it is simply not true. PR employees register multiple Twitter accounts and harp on endlessly about the wonders of their clients. Indeed, a certain chef has been the benifiaciary of thousands of tweets affirming his, not obvious, sexual-attractiveness all paid for by the supermarket for which he works. This is because being sexy sells more food, and if your neighbour fancies X then you'll probably fancy him too.

I can believe the claim, but that is not the point. what matters is the extent to which this can be shown to have had influence. it can all be true (and perhaps it is) but unless that can then be extended to show the impact that this has had on someone's ratings then its just gossip and trivia. for example, I cannot imagine Michel Roux getting his third back any time soon, and with the amount of publicity he has had recently, then under your regime he should already have it.

I really do think there is an interesting, and potential valid view point in here, but its all too full of circular arguments and tin foil hats.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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is it?

Sorry - not sure I understand your question. Is it what?

Do you mean is it an interesting question? Well, yes, generally speaking it is to me - I wouldnt have made the point otherwise.

In the context of this discussion, the "useful distinction" is relevent to Michelin awarding its one-stars to categories, as Gary points out. If a pub is awarded a star and then later morphs into being a restaurant, you might well expect it to lose its star as it's no longer in the same category - even though nothing else changes. The fact that this doesnt seem to happen suggests that, in practice, Michelin's talk of its "categories" is just bollocks.

what I mean is that is not an interesting question at all. pointless.

there may be stylistic concessions to the type of food, but there should be none to the quality and execution. and Gary's point does not claim there is (vis a vis quality and execution).


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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what I mean is that is not an interesting question at all. pointless.

Thanks for your observation.


John Hartley

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Okay Scott, I've said my piece and since I'm not preparing a monograph on the subject I think I'm just going to have to leave it.

However, before I remove my tinfoil hat, I can't resist taking up this comment.

I'm particularly not minded towards the classic, as it seems tired and out of touch today, but that's just my view.

Are you suggesting that the qualities that made the classic once good no longer hold today? Or was it perhaps tired and out of touch when it was current? If the answer to either of these questions is, 'yes', I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good, unless, of course, you see dining in terms of social currency. Indeed, if this were the case this would probably account for our differing opinions.


Edited by Putty Man (log)

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I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good,

I'll leave Scott to answer for himself.

But I'll happily take the position that something once good is no longer good. These things are inherently subjective - they are very much "beauty being in the eye of the beholder". I can well remember food from when I first started eating out in the early 1970s that I would have thought good but wouldnt give the time of day to nowadays. I am of the generation and backgound that happily ate in Berni Inns - going there for celebrations. It was, in my experience then, "good food". Wouldnt think that now.

I understand that some folk might think there is a "gold standard" in food which sits there, unchanging, for all time. I would just have to disagree with them.


John Hartley

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Okay Scott, I've said my piece and since I'm not preparing a monograph on the subject I think I'm just going to have to leave it.

no problem. My issue is that I don't think you have actually said anything. In fact it appears you have gone out of your way to avoid doing so.

Conspicuously.

Are you suggesting that the qualities that made the classic once good no longer hold today? Or was it perhaps tired and out of touch when it was current? If the answer to either of these questions is, 'yes', I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good, unless, of course, you see dining in terms of social currency. Indeed, if this were the case this would probably account for our differing opinions.

Gosh, I am not even sure you are serious?

aesthetic qualities are always a function of their time, and it would be true to say the highest value is ascribed to those qualities that endure, fine art being an easy example. However, just as shakespeare and puccini were considered mindless dross, pop of their time, it is not necessarily fixed in stone either.

Nor is it true that something cannot have ever been good if it has been superceded, if times have moved on or if the audience has changed taste or become more informed/sophisticated over an observed period.

The difference between the historical & the contemporary is often evolution.

If you would like to deny evolution I am sure there are no end of wonderful places to express that ;)


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I have since moving to London last year been to the majority of the one stars, all the two stars and all the three stars. Most of the time I find Michelin's ratings totally mind boggling. One can take off a star from most places to convert to what they would have in France. Of the one stars that gained a star last year (not been to Hedone and Trishna) only Alyn Williams deserves a star and not by much compared to Michelin's standard in Paris for example. The star awards to St John Hotel and Medlar for instance are nothing short of a joke. Dabbous is a very lite and a not very good English version of Septime and Saturne, none of which have been considered worthy of a star in two respective three Michelin guides.

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I have since moving to London last year been to the majority of the one stars, all the two stars and all the three stars. Most of the time I find Michelin's ratings totally mind boggling. One can take off a star from most places to convert to what they would have in France. Of the one stars that gained a star last year (not been to Hedone and Trishna) only Alyn Williams deserves a star and not by much compared to Michelin's standard in Paris for example. The star awards to St John Hotel and Medlar for instance are nothing short of a joke. Dabbous is a very lite and a not very good English version of Septime and Saturne, none of which have been considered worthy of a star in two respective three Michelin guides.

I think you'll find Hedone hits the spot, and the ratings are country specific, though at 2 and above european inspectors apparently have a say. Fair to say it is not a new issue.


you don't win friends with salad

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So, to clarify, you have actually been to the FD?

Yes, I have. On several occasions when it was rather charming brasserie and once as 2*. This latter visit was great, interesting food, well cooked with many of the well-documented surprises and tricks. However, it was amateurish, sometimes inconsistent, slightly arrogant and self-important and certainly not world class by a country mile -- in fact, not even comparable to 2* in France.

Anyway, before this thread goes completely off-topic, I'd like to restate my argument that Michelin's elevation of the FD was strategic rather than based on merit; that it was a reaction to the the 50 best list and the power of buzz in nations with weak culinary traditions, and that subsequent Michelin operations in the UK and US have tended to follow this reactive methodology, which, in gastronomic terms tends to make the guide of diminishing worth the further it strays from its French roots.

If they're following trends set by 50 best why are so many top 50 restaurants, Noma included, only 2 star? Noma's topped the list almost as many times as El Bulli, the fact it's only 2 star puzzles me. I can only imagine it has to do with the more informal setting, which goes directly against Michelin's claim that the stars are solely for the food.

James.

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So, to clarify, you have actually been to the FD?

Yes, I have. On several occasions when it was rather charming brasserie and once as 2*. This latter visit was great, interesting food, well cooked with many of the well-documented surprises and tricks. However, it was amateurish, sometimes inconsistent, slightly arrogant and self-important and certainly not world class by a country mile -- in fact, not even comparable to 2* in France.Anyway, before this thread goes completely off-topic, I'd like to restate my argument that Michelin's elevation of the FD was strategic rather than based on merit; that it was a reaction to the the 50 best list and the power of buzz in nations with weak culinary traditions, and that subsequent Michelin operations in the UK and US have tended to follow this reactive methodology, which, in gastronomic terms tends to make the guide of diminishing worth the further it strays from its French roots.
If they're following trends set by 50 best why are so many top 50 restaurants, Noma included, only 2 star? Noma's topped the list almost as many times as El Bulli, the fact it's only 2 star puzzles me. I can only imagine it has to do with the more informal setting, which goes directly against Michelin's claim that the stars are solely for the food.

It is likely that the criteria for three Michelin stars is different to getting enough votes to feature on the top 50 best restaurants of the world. There are numerous three-star restaurants that are not even on the 51-100 list. There are more than 100 restaurants with 3 stars. On the 1-100 on the 50 best, without counting properly, less than a third of the entries have three Michelin stars. So, since three Michelin stars does not guarantee entry on the list, it seems that the criteria and circumstances required for getting enough votes differs from getting (three) stars from Michelin.

The argument that Noma is too informal to get three stars is not very convincing since there are numerous restaurants that have been awarded three stars despite very informal service and despite not possessing the setting normally associated with three Michelin stars. Brooklyn Fare and l’Astrance to name two.

I frankly find it hard to get upset. Some of my favourite restaurants, Michel Bras and Olivier Roellinger to name two were awarded three stars quite late. I thought the meals I had there were some of the best I had ever had but I could understand why Michelin held back with the third star.

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I'm not sure why we're even debating why some 3 stars aren't on the top 50 list why some on the top 50 don't have 3 stars. The Michelin guide is ....wait for it.....a guide. The Top 50 is a PR exercise which occasionally has some correlation with some of the best restaurants in the world.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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      The timer operation is fast and intuitive. Once the power or temperature is set and operating, the operator merely keys the timer’s dedicated up/down buttons, and the timer display area activates. Timer settings are in any 30-second interval between 30 seconds and 9 ½ hours, and the display will show remaining time. The beeps at the end of cooking are loud.
       
      There are nine available memory programs, which can be set for either power or temperature, along with time. Programming entails pressing and holding the Program mode button, selecting the program (1-9), then picking and setting the power or temperature, then setting the timer, and finally pressing and holding the Program button again. After that, to use any of the entered programs, you simply press the Program button, select which program, and the unit will run that program within 3 seconds.
       
      In addition to Heat-Time programmability, the KY-MK3500 also provides the ability to vary 9 of the unit’s default settings: (1) Decreasing the power level granularity from 20 to 10; (2) Changing the temperature display to Celsius; (3) Enabling a long cook time shutoff safety feature; (4) Enabling the main power auto shutoff feature; (5) Disabling the glowing circle; (6) Lowering or disabling the auditory beep signals’ volume; (7) Customizing the timer finish beep; (8) Customizing the Preheat notification beep; and (9) Customizing the interval for filter cleanings.
       
      D. Maintenance
       
      The KY-MK3500 has a plastic air intake filter which can be removed and cleaned. This is not dishwashable. This filter is merely a plastic grate with ¼” square holes, so it is questionable what exactly —besides greasy dust bunnies—will be filtered. Panasonic recommends the filter be cleaned once a week. Besides that, the Ceran surface and stainless housing clean just like other appliances.
       
      IV. Acceptable Cookware
       
      Panasonic claims the unit will accept cast iron, enameled iron, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum with two provisos. First, very thin aluminum and copper may “move” on the appliance. And second, thin aluminum pans may “deform”. Panasonic does not address carbon steel pans, but I verified that they do indeed work. They also warn of the obvious fact that glass and ceramics will not work.
       
      Buyers are also warned against using cookware of specific cookware bottom shapes: round, footed, thin, and domed. Trying to use these, Panasonic warns, may disable safety features and reduce or eliminate pan heating.
       
      As far as minimum pan diameter goes, Panasonic claims the KY-MK3500 needs 5” diameter in ferromagnetic pans, and 6” in copper or aluminum ones. My own tests have shown that in fact the unit will function with a cast iron fondue pot, the base of which is only 4 1/8” in diameter, and also works with a copper saucepan, the base of which is almost exactly 5” in diameter. Obviously, the field will be most active at the very edges of such small pans, but they do function.
       
      V. Evaluation in Use

      I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling.
       
      Nevertheless, a searching comparison between copper and ferromagnetic pans on this unit isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. The Panasonic is capable of dumping a full 3500 watts into ferromagnetic pans, but is limited to 2400 watts for aluminum and copper. Despite copper’s and aluminum’s superiorities in conductivity, that extra 1100 watts is going to win every speed-boil race.
       
      I initially thought I could handicap such a race simply by using the temperature setting and comparing the times required to achieve a “preheat” in a pans of cold water. Alas, no—the Panasonic’s IR function signified the copper pan was preheated to 350F before the water even reached 70F! Obviously, the entire thermal system of cold food in a cold pan needs to come to equilibrium before the Panasonic’s temperature readout becomes meaningful.

      A. Temperature Settings
       
      Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F.
       
      The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings.
       
      With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F.

      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
       
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
       
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
       
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
       
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
       
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
       
      VI. Summary and Lessons
       
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
       
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
       
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
       
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
       
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
       
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
      I am using this as the textbook for my culinary arts students and a digital version would come in very handy for creating notes and handouts.
    • By Mullinix18
      I dont believe that any English translation of Carêmes works exist. An incomplete version was published in 1842 (I think) but even the that version seems lackluster for the few recipes it does cover. I think it's time the world looks to its past, but I don't speak great French and it's a huge task to undertake. I hopefully plan on publishing this work and anyone who helps me will get a very fair cut, and if we decide not to publish it, I'll put it out on the internet for free. I'm working in Google docs so we can collaborate. I'm first cataloging the index to cross reference the pre-existing incomplete English version to give us a reference of what yet needs to be done, and from there we will go down the list of recipies and Translate them one by one. Simple google translate goes only so far, as it is 1700s French culinary terms and phrases being used. I'd like to preserve as much of Carêmes beautiful and flowery language as possible. Who's with me? 
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