Progress takes time. The craft of cooking has been propelled by chef and invention alike, creating something greater together than was possible alone. And just as many of the tools great chefs and culinary experts use today have evolved, so have automobiles changed over a century of existence. But just as important as working toward the next technological innovation, whether in the craft of cooking or car making, is respecting the milestones that have empowered the artisans to where they are today.
In this second of a three-part series with Infiniti, we’ll look at three of the food world’s specialists, and the cutting-edge tools they’ve adopted that have changed the way they work and that they now couldn’t live without.
From sourcing to serving, the specialists of the food world are finding that using innovative technology along with age-old know-how has transformed their jobs—and given their customers a better food experience than ever before.
The Tuna Fisher
Technology has even changed the oldest, most established part of the process of enjoying food: catching it.
Sean Barrett is the co-founder of Dock to Dish, a community-based fishery in Montauk, New York. As both a founder of the group and as a fisherman himself, he’s seen the yellowfin fishing industry in the area change dramatically as boats have begun to adopt an exotic new fishing method, the greenstick.
Originally from Japan, greensticks are 40-foot, flexible poles that are risen straight up from the boat, and trail a long line that extends 500 to 1,000 feet and ends in a “bird,” a floating weight that’s made to resemble a tuna or porpoise. Along this main line, as many as 10 branching lines descend into the water, each with their own plastic squid lures. When the boats in motion near a school of tuna, the greenstick bends and straightens repeatedly, causing the squid lures to rhythmically dip into the ocean water then leap out again in a pulsing motion that comes as close to mimicking an actual squid’s or flying fish’s movements as modern fishing science can. Meanwhile, the “bird” spurs nearby tuna to become more aggressive in pursuing the lures—they become ultra-competitive when they see what appears to be another tuna going for the same squid they could have.
“We haven’t seen anything like it,” Barrett says. “It’s totally revolutionized the way we fish for yellowfin or bigeye tuna. Tunafish are smart, they can look, and they can tell it’s fake. But we call the greenstick the convivial greenstick, but it brings life to the lures and makes like a narcotic to the tunafish. They can’t resist it. You actually get to see the tuna surface to get to it—it’s magnetic, it’s explosive.”
Even better, the greenstick technique has been lauded by environmental groups for greatly reducing the chance that fishermen will mistakenly haul aboard an endangered species, like the bluefin.
“It lets you be selective in that if you catch a fish you don’t want to be catching, it only takes five, 10 minutes to get it in the boat, and within a couple minutes of the bite, you can release,” says Capt. Bryan “Bigeyes” Fromm, whose Montauk boat is called the Flying Dutchman.
Harnessed by their generations of fishing know-how, technology has allowed the tuna fishermen of Montauk to become better at their job, and more responsible in doing it.
“When we got the greenstick, it was like, “Boom! Got it! Boom! Got it! Boom! Got it!” Barrett says. “It’s a whole new ballgame!”
The Pizza Guru
Steel pizza stones changed the pie-making game of Mark Bello, founder and owner of the much-loved Famous Original Pizza School, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The secret to the steel version is that the quarter-inch thickness of metal retains heat longer and more evenly than traditional ceramic, allowing standard home ovens, which usually max out at 500 or 550°F, cook plenty of pies with the reliability of a professional pizza oven. For Bello, his mastery of pizza making with the heat retention of the steel has turned him into a nonstop pie-making master. And it allows him to spread the knowledge more effectively.
“We’re a pizza school, and we’re teaching students two or three dozen at a time, so we’re cranking out, like, 50 pies in an hour and a half,” Bello says. “And they’re coming out awesome. I’m able to get a char that signifies an awesome crust. We’re rapid-firing pizzas, and the recovery time is less than ever before.”
Originally a devotee of ceramic stones, he’d tried the new material out somewhat reluctantly, but now he’s hooked.
“At first we were like, we liked them but they were expensive, and we didn’t want people to get turned off by the price of making pizzas at home,” Bello says. “But now we figure, $80 for the pizza steel when all the praise and gifts your family and friends will shower upon you for making great pizza? It’s a no-brainer.”
The Ice Cream Artisan
Sometimes even the seemingly simplest food-related tasks get a huge boost from the kind of gadgets that consumers couldn’t have dreamed of only a decade or two ago. Just ask Catherine Oddenino, co-founder of acclaimed New York City ice-cream shop Luca & Bosco. You’d think that scooping out ice cream would be the easiest part of running a burgeoning ice-cream empire. But when she has to scoop out hundreds upon hundreds of balls of frozen confections for several hours, she depends on her Zeroll to get her through the day.
The Zeroll’s got a carefully engineered shape that almost pops the ball of ice cream out at end of the scoop—no more of that weird, melty ice-cream remnant left behind in the bowl. But the Zeroll’s real secret weapon is the heat-conductive fluid that’s sealed within its aluminum shell. The fluid partially melts hard-frozen ice cream, allowing scoops to dig in without feeling like they’re trying to cut into stone. For Oddenino, it almost becomes an extension of her arm as she fills up countless cones, cups, and boats with creamy, frozen deliciousness.
But she never realized how much she’d come to depend on the nifty tool until the day she was called to cater a large party—and had left her Zerolls behind.
“I had to scoop for over 100 people with plastic scoops I bought at the corner store,” she says. “The next day, my wrists and elbow were completely sore. I’d even have to have other people open jars for me the next day! I can’t imagine running an ice-cream shop without a Zeroll.”
from Bon Appétit http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/tools-test-kitchen/article/food-pros-most-trusted-tools