Popular science magazine has an amusing article on “The future of food” which portrays Dave Arnold, apparently the “man behind the curtain of today’s hottest movement in cooking”. I don’t buy all of this, but he’s no doubt had a central role in bringing lab equipment into the kitchens of North American chefs and teaching them a little science. You might also want to check out their gallery of kitchen gadgets. Some of my favorites include (click the pictures to lanuch the picture gallery at PopSci magazine):
For the Pros: The Whipper. Adds a touch of air to every bite.
Within reach of the dedicated amateur chef, indispensible for the professional chef: a whipper which you can charge with either carbon dioxide (for instance to make carbonated fruit) or dinitrogen oxide (too make foams/espumas or simply whipped cream).
For the Pros: The Sealer and Circulator. Cooks in a bag to lock in juiciness.
Sous vide cooking is perhaps one of the most fascinating examples of science inspired cooking. The picture shows a vacuum sealer and a thermostated water bath circulator. If this is too expensive, check out my post on a simple and easy DIY sous vide.
For the Pros: The New Spice Rack. Chemicals the experimental home chef shouldn’t be without.
Last but not least: the different chemicals which become more and more available. I’ve put together a collection of hydrocolloid recipes which will help you get started using these fascinating chemicals. If you have troubles getting hold of these, my list of suppliers might help you.
Of course I’d like to put my hands on a Pacojet, an Antigriddle or a Gastrovac as well, but for a home kitchen, this gets too exotic and far too expensive. But – the most surprising gadget was the vacuum meat tumbler from Reveo. Just like the extremely expensive Gastrovac, this little machine can be used for vacuum impregnation of meat and other foods (or at least this is something I assume from the description). IMHO vacuum impregnation is the most important feature of the Gastrovac – far more important than the heating capabilities. Perhaps someone owning a Reveo could report back?
For the Home: Meat, Your Maker. This vacuum tumbler cuts marinating time by hours, first extracting air to expand the meat’s fibers and then spinning it so that every area is exposed to your sauce of choice. Probably doesn’t beat a good long soak, but perfect for when barbecue inspiration suddenly strikes.–Abby Seiff
But I was very dissapointed that my all-time favorite kitchen gadget didn’t make it into the gallery: a simple thermometer. As I have stated in one of my tips for practical molecular gastronomy, this is probably the single tool that can improve your cooking the most.
I’ve had the Reveo tumbler for a couple of years. I must say it works very well. I use about 1/4 the marinade that I would normally and I get about a 2 day marinade in 20 minutes.
The only thing to watch out for with the device is the tumbling action. It can break down meat a little much. In those cases I will tumble for 5 or 10 minutes and then just let the vacuum jar sit for another 20 minutes. This method allows me to coat the meat well but not damage it in the process. Just a note about time. I placed a nice rib-eye in the machine, turned in on for 20 minutes, and welll that was way toooooooo long. It was like mush when it popped out of the vacuum jar. So a better time for the rib-eye would have been about 10 minutes. Just stuff to test as you use the machine.
If you have a FoodSaver a similar result can be hand by using their vacuum jars that normal ship with the saver. Use 1/4 the marinade, vacuum with the FoodSaver external hose, and self tumble to coast the meat. Then let sit for 20-30 minutes in the vacuum and tumble every now and again. I do think the results out of the Reveo are better than the foodsaver it will give you a good day marinade quickly.
If you have a chamber vacuum packer it will also produce good results in a short time, and all in a nice little bag.