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Philip Preston’s Inventions for Chefs

Philip Preston’s PolyScience sells gadgets to laboratories and pharmaceutical companies, but he also develops restaurant equipment at Cuisine Technology (, a separate branch.
Immersion Circulator

© Ethan Hill

Gizmo: Immersion Circulator

What It Does: This motorized spiral-shaped device, about the size of a wine bottle, evenly heats and circulates water baths for sous-vide cooking. A home version is in the works.
How Chefs Use It: At Boston’s Clio, Ken Oringer cooks endive spears sous-vide for two hours with olive oil, butter and garlic. It makes their flavor incredibly intense.

The Anti-Griddle

© Ethan Hill

Gizmo: The Anti-Griddle

What It Does: The supercooled stainless steel surface can give sauces or purees a frozen crunchy top and creamy interior.
How Chefs Use It: Greg Brainin, director of creative development for the Jean Georges group, used an Anti-Griddle to freeze opal basil gel-drops, served atop hamachi sashimi.

The Smoking Gun

© Ethan Hill

Gizmo: The Smoking Gun

What It Does: A handheld contraption loaded with wood chips (or even smoky teas like Lapsang souchong), it quickly blasts smoky aromas into food without adding any heat.
How Chefs Use It: Wylie Dufresne of New York City’s WD-50 has used his Smoking Gun to add a smoky applewood aroma to the lettuce leaves that he then wraps around raw oysters.

Coffee Mills

© Ethan Hill

Gizmo: Magnetic Food Stirrer

What It Does: The newest Preston invention: A magnet spins under a hot plate, dragging another magnet placed inside a pot or other container.
How Chefs Use It: Chefs are still experimenting with this gadget. Preston uses it for sauces that require constant stirring, like crème anglaise.

Published July 2008
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