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Features Whip It: Industry Use of Whippers and Foamers Explored
 
Whip It: Industry Use of Whippers and Foamers Explored April 2010

Once the sole territory of commercial and industrial foodstuffs, whippers and foamers have now become a standard amongst culinary innovators and foodservice establishments at all ends of the spectrum. The 1980s were noteworthy in this regard as this technology moved to the forefront in Spanish wunderkind Ferran Adrià’s hand. His culinary experiments at now-renowned El Bulli in Roses reworked Mediterranean classics with imaginative flair. One of the most well-received elements of his creations were foams. He applied this technology to both desserts and savory dishes and the new experiences he created for the diner would have a profound effect on the way that chefs and diners alike viewed our connection to food. Many users are hungry for new culinary techniques and textures made possible by this technology and follow in the footsteps of Adrià, including fellow Spaniard José Andrés, who was one of the earliest chefs to make use of the same technology in the States. Some chefs are just looking for a practical way to dispense foams, creams, and batters.

Whatever their motivation, StarChefs.com polled hundreds of industry professionals to find out where whippers and foamers fit into America’s culinary terrain; the results are surprising.

The pool of respondents is fairly evenly divided between head chefs and other industry professionals; 57 percent of those surveyed are executive chefs, executive pastry chefs, chef-owners, or chef-instructors, and 19 percent are sous chefs, chefs de cuisine, or line cooks. 

 Position of respondents

Owner

 

 

3%

Chef/Owner

 

 

16%

Executive Chef/Chef

 

 

29%

Chef de Cuisine

 

 

4%

Sous Chef

 

 

10%

Line Cook

 

 

5%

Executive Pastry Chef/Pastry Chef

 

 

7%

Pastry Cook

 

 

1%

Restaurateur

 

 

1%

Mixologist/Bartender

 

 

1%

Chef Instructor

 

 

4%

Culinary Student

 

 

1%

Pastry Student

 

 

1%

General Manager

 

 

2%

Food Writer/Editor

 

 

1%

Consultant

 

 

2%

Other

 

 

12%

Total

 

100%

Whippers and foamers are a new part of the foodservice industry arsenal at all levels in the majority of cases; 78 percent of those surveyed use whippers and/or foamers in their kitchens.

Graphs: How important are whippers/foamers to your kitchen?
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They are most indispensable in bars and coffee shops; every single respondent from this sector reports owning at least one whipper or foamer, if not more. Ninety seven percent of independent hotels with fine dining restaurants use whippers or foamers, making them major users of this technology. Upscale casual and fine dining restaurants are the next largest users at 80 and 84 percent respectively.

Graphs: Whipper and Foamer use by type of establishment
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But to what end are chefs across the country embracing them? Foamers have long been associated with whipped cream and desserts. But our results suggest that is no longer the case. Certainly those are popular uses, with 69 percent of respondents still using their whippers for reliable whipped cream and 65 percent for other dessert preparations.

Graphs: Culinary Applications
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The most common application for whippers and foamers was found to be in the preparation of foams and espumas. A whopping 78 percent of respondents use their whippers for that purpose. At Corton in New York City, Chef Paul Liebrandt makes a salt cod espuma to rethink a traditionally Portuguese flavor profile by combining a cloud of bacalao foam with calamari, chorizo, and beans. Another surprise? Almost half of those who use foamers put them to work aerating savory or sweet sauces or dips. Instead of creating a rhubarb foam, Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges serves a citrusy rhubarb consommé; here the whipper is not used to create a foam, per se, but a fresh, light soup to complement the delicacy of his green tea cake.

Chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, baristas, and cooks have their pick of models and brands of foamers and whippers on the market. How do they choose which one to take back to their kitchen and meet their menu? Respondents cited performance, durability, and ease of use as the most important qualities in a foamer. Other practicalities that come into play affecting respondents’ foamer and whipper-purchasing decisions include ease of cleaning and improvement of texture or flavor of the final product. An unexpected amount of purchasers were unaware that the chargers for whippers and foamers are often recyclable.

Some of the more popular brands on the market are iSi, Best Whip, Whip-It, and Kayser. iSi fans alone accounted for 68 percent of those surveyed. 

Chef Harold Dieterle of Perilla – Peekytoe Crab and Sea Urchin Parfait with Avocado Mousse, Caviar, and Crispy Rice Pearls
Chef Justin Bogle of Gilt – Garden Gazpacho
Chef David Bouley at the 2009 International Chefs Congress
Chef Paul Liebrandt of Corton – Salt Cod Espuma
Pastry Chef Jordan Kahn
Chef Michael Voltaggio of The Dining Room at the Langham – Foie Gras Torchon, Wild Rice, Brioche, and Carbonated Fraises des Bois
Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar
Chef Gabriel Bremer of Salts - Heirloom Melon Terrine with Lime Salt, Olive Oil Powder, and Whipped Chamomile Tea
Chef Gabriel Bremer of Salts Pastry Chef Michael Gillette of The Bazaar  - Hot Chocolate Mousse with Pear Sorbet and Salty Hazelnut Praline
Mixologist Julian Cox of Rivera -  G.T. Foam Home
Pastry Chef Kei Hasegawa of Sashi - Dark Chocolate Orange Cream, Cinnamon Crumble, Green Tea Ice Cream, and Cointreau Foam
Mixologist Damian Windsor of The Roger Room
Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park - The Soda Pop: Frozen Tangerine Soda Foam with Blood Orange Cream,  Pomelo Pulp, Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Lemon Meringue, and Pop Rocks Chef de Cuisine Adam Longworth of Gotham Bar & Grill Fennel Soup, Warm Goat Cheese, Granny Smith Apple, and Organic Red Beet Emulsion

 

 
 
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  • Learn All About iSi Whippers
  • Paul Liebrandt's Salt Cod Espuma Recipe
  • Johnny Iuzzini's Green Tea Cake Recipe
  • Eben Freeman's Banana Cream Pie Cocktail Recipe

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