features Tools of the Trade: The Hottest Kitchen Equipment of 2009
Tools of the Trade: The Hottest Kitchen Equipment of 2009 (vol. 6)
December 2009

Every year a few big (and small) ticket pieces of kitchen equipment stand out as hot new items, revised classics, or old standards that are as good as ever. Either way, they’re the tools of the trade and what help make chefs great. From photography equipment to ice cube machines, these are the items chefs, pastry chefs, and mixologists around the country have told us they love or wish they had.

The Hottest Kitchen Equipment of 2009
Kold-Draft Ice Machine Waring Wireless Immersion Blender Chocolate Enrobing Machine Irinox Multifresh Blast Chiller Winston Combi Oven
Wood-Fired Oven iSi Injector Needle Rinse-O-Matic Blender Jar Washer Daymark Timestrip Labels Lowell Ego Light

Kold-Draft Ice Machine
Any top mixologist will tell you that these days it’s all about the ice—Mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon did a whole workshop on the history, science, and importance of ice at this year’s International Chefs Congress. For those behind the bar that can’t hand-carve perfect ice cubes during service, a reliable ice machine is key. Enter Kold-Draft, which top mixologists like Tony Abou-Gamin have come to rely on for producing ice cubes that are consistent in size and quality. The ice is free from impurities and the high-density cubes won’t dilute drinks as quickly as traditional ice cubes. The smallest machine can produce up to 321 pounds of ice cubes a day and measures a slim 30¼-inches wide by 35-inches tall. They only get bigger from there.

Waring Wireless Immersion Blender
The immersion blender is one of the most used and beloved tools in professional kitchens, but the cord is notorious for dropping into soups and sauces, and tethers chefs to the wall. With Waring’s new wireless immersion blender, chefs can really be on the go in the kitchen. With an hour of run time, a rapid charging station, and a six-gallon blending capacity, you’ll never turn back to those old fashioned immersion blenders that need to be plugged in.

Chocolate Enrobing Machine
This is one of those fantasy items for a pastry chef. Renee Herzog of Boston’s Clio and Nathaniel Reid of the St. Regis in Dana Point, CA have both told us they wish they had one. Enrobe everything from biscotti to bon bons—and anything else you can imagine—with this machine, which eliminates air bubbles and has a production rate of up to 1500 pounds of chocolate a day.

Irinox Multifresh Blast Chiller
Everyone who has a blast chiller swears by it. Yes, we recommended the blast chiller last year, but Irinox had to go out and make an even better model—so if you were biding your time to make the splurge, now is the time to act. With the new Multifresh from Irinox you’ll speed up production time and get things cold quicker than before, while preserving the freshness of your food and setting personalized chill and freeze cycles for every food item. The new model boasts updated features like reduced energy consumption, more efficiency with greater power, icon driven chill time selection and an innovative sterilizing system. Once you have one, you won’t be able to live without it.

Combi Oven
Combi Ovens aren’t news to our readers, but we’ve been re-inspired by chefs we’ve come across who are using it in new and innovative ways. Adam Fleischman, Owner of LA’s Umami Burger, has about 70 CVaps for his four restaurants and uses it to cook all of the burgers before finishing them on the grill, making for burgers that are crisp on the outside and super juicy inside. Besides new ways to use the conventional models, Hobart has come out with a new model, the Bluetooth-enabled Combi Oven with Barcode Scanner, which automatically controls the cooking program and features wireless exchange of recipes. And we thought it didn’t get any easier.

Wood-Fired Oven
Pizza is the dish du jour, and wood-fired pizza ovens are popping up everywhere. There’s a great deal of debate among aficionados on which pizza oven is the best, but if you choose among the top brands based on the needs of your restaurant, the result will be the pizza of your dreams. And be sure to use the oven to its fullest potential—it’s great for cooking meat, vegetables, bread, and anything else you can imagine. Although Wood Stone ovens have long been considered top of the line, some chefs have told us they let out too much heat and are less than ideal. Chefs Steve Sampson and Zach Pollack at Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, CA prefer their Valoriani, which is distributed and assembled in the US by Mugnaini. And chef William Belikis in Seattle’s newly opened Mistral purchased his oven directly from Naples. back to top

iSi Injector Needle
You already know and love your iSi Whip. Here’s an inexpensive attachment that will multiply the versatility of this already awesome tool. Use the stainless steel injector needle to fill sweet and savory foods, inject meat with flavor, and decorate plates. Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco uses it for brining, and Pastry Chef Emily Wallendjack of New York’s Cookshop uses it for funnel cake.

Rinse-O-Matic Blender Jar Washer
Chefs, mixologists, and pastry chefs all rely heavily on their commercial blenders for multiple uses throughout the day, and we all know how dirty they can get. Use this new tool to quickly rinse out residue from any 64-ounce or smaller blender container. The Vita-Mix Rinse-o-matic operates entirely on cold tap water pressure and uses less water than conventional cleaning by using only what is needed.

Timestrip Labels
Food rotation isn’t fun or glamerous, but it’s a crucial part of a clean kitchen. There are some innovative tools out there to help you keep track and make those visits from the health inspector less stressful. One of our favorites is Daymark’s Timestrip Labels, which change color over time to show when foods are getting close to their expiration date.

Lowell Ego Light
More and more chefs are getting into photography, and if there’s one tool that will help them produce great shots (besides a high quality camera), it’s this portable tabletop light. Designed to mimic natural light, the Ego will eliminate the need to use a flash and will make any lighting—from the kitchen to a romantically dim dining room—an ideal set up for a photo shoot. Selling for just $137.50, this light is a worthy investment for any budding chef-photographer.