The chefs leading the charge into a new era of experimental cooking often use inventive tools and technologies to create robust flavors. Nick Fauchald, editor in chief of Tasting Table, shares a few of the high-tech kitchen tools that are being used in some of the country's more progressive kitchens.
Ice Ball Mold
A popular trend at upscale bars and restaurants, ice balls offer a sleek alternative to standard cubes. They're functional, too -- the smaller surface area means less melted water and more potent drinks. Ball molds come in a range of sizes and shapes.
Shop: Taisin Ice Ball Mold
Eliminating the need for an expensive wine refrigerator, a wine chiller is a frozen tube inserted into the bottle neck that instantly cools wine as you pour it. A valve controls the flow of wine to regulate the temperature for the particular wine. (Recommended chilling: 45 to 50 degrees for white, 55 to 65 degrees for red.)
Shop: Ravi Wine Chiller (More Info | Buy)
Sous vide (French for "under vacuum") is a cooking method that employs vacuum-sealed pouches to slowly cook food in water baths for long periods of time. The bag maintains the flavor and yield of the ingredients, which has made it a popular technique among top chefs.
Shop: Caso VC200 Vacuum Food Sealer, Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Immersion Circulator, Camwear Professional Container
Portable Induction Burner
A portable, single-burner induction cook-top delivers heat with no flames or fumes, freeing up stove space and enabling you to cook anywhere you'd like. It has a series of magnetic copper coils that generate current when turned on. When steel- or iron-based pots are placed on the burner, a magnetic reaction occurs, which generates heat.
Shop: Fagor Portable Induction Burner (More Info | Buy)
Infrared thermometers take temperatures from food or surfaces in hazardous places -- like barbecue grills -- by measuring the amount of thermal electromagnetic radiation emitted from an object. They're helpful when making candy or tempering chocolate, as well as checking the internal temperature of meat.
Shop: Fluke Foodpro Plus Infrared Thermometer (More Info | Buy)