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How to Cook with a Siphon

Modernist chef Richard Blais shows how a siphon can help you make supercrisp batters, truly quick pickles and extra-light sauces.

Chef wannabes looking for the next sous vide machine now have a cool new tool to transform their cooking: the siphon. The handheld device—a canister charged with pressurized gas—is commonly used to make seltzer with carbon dioxide (CO2) and whip cream with nitrous oxide (N2O). But progressive chefs have figured out that a siphon charged with N2O can do a whole lot more. One huge fan is Richard Blais of Atlanta’s The Spence, whose first cookbook, Try This At Home, explores unconventional cooking techniques. “The joy of the siphon is that you can take heavy things and make them lighter,” he says. Here he shares some of his easiest siphon recipes, including onion rings in an amazing batter and an ultralight blue-cheese foam.

Blais on the Beauty of Siphons

“In my restaurant kitchen, I have nine or 10 siphons lined up on a rail, each one labeled with tape, each with a different ingredient inside. It’s a neat design.”


Siphon Tips

Where to Buy Siphons

The 1-pint iSi Gourmet Whip Plus is sold on amazon.com for $109; 24 cream (N2O) cartridges are $17.

How to Use a Siphon

Vigorously shaking a siphon helps aerate its contents; so does chilling the ingredients and the charged siphon. A towel helps shield splatter when dispensing.

Siphon Recipes
Art © Chris Philpot

Siphon Recipes

Modernist chef Richard Blais shows how a siphon can help you make supercrisp batters, truly quick pickles and extra-light sauces.

Published July 2013
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