Gear Guides

Gadgets? Not exactly. In making our books, we had the opportunity to work with many different kinds of equipment. All of that experience has left us with some favorite kinds of tools that we feel are essential for Modernist cooking, part of a well-stocked kitchen, or handy to have for special purposes. Our gear guide is a starting point. Not all of the available brands are listed; most of those given are the ones we happen to use in our kitchen, but others may be just as good.

Induction Cooktop

Kind

Countertop

Notes

Can handle most needs filled by traditional ranges.

Brand

Sunpentown, Others

Price Today

$75-$200

Ultrasonic Bath

Notes

Cleans small items; extracts locked-in flavor.

Brand

Branson

Price Today

$500-$1,350

Must
Have

Immersion Circulator

Notes

For cooking sous vide; it is useful to have several for preparing several dishes at different temperatures simultaneously.

Brand

Anova, Sansaire, Polyscience

Price Today

$160-$800

Must
Have

Digital Scale

Kind

5 kg Max, 1 g increments

Notes

A must-have; every recipe in our books requires accurate measuring.

Brand

Escali, My Weigh, Ohaus, Salter

Price Today

$25-$130

Induction Cooktop

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Can handle most needs filled by traditional ranges.

Brand

Polyscience, Thirode

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Vacuum Tumbler

Notes

Accelerates brining, curing, and marinating of meats.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$500-$2,000

Must
Have

Sous Vide Machine

Notes

For cooking sous vide; it is useful to have several for preparing several dishes at different temperatures simultaneously.

Brand

SousVide Supreme, VWR

Price Today

$300-$2,000

Must
Have

Digital Scale

Kind

200 g Max, 0.01 g Increments

Notes

A must-have; every recipe in our books requires accurate measuring.

Brand

AWS, Ohaus, Polder

Price Today

$14-$240

Broiler

Kind

Gas Catalytic

Brand

TEC, Others

Price Today

$1,600 and up

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Thermometer

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

ThermoWorks

Price Today

$10-$100

Liquid Nitrogen

Kind

Dewar Flask

Notes

Useful for myriad of prep tasks and for producing special effects.

Brand

Thermo Scientific

Price Today

$500-$1,400

Blast Chiller

Notes

Chills large amounts of food; useful for quickly chilling items cooked sous vide.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Broiler

Kind

Electric

Brand

DeLonghi, Star-Max

Price Today

$70-$1,500

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Thermocouple

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

ThermoWorks

Price Today

$46-$208

Smoker

Kind

Sawdust Puck Smoker

Notes

Uses a hopper and sawdust pucks; electrically heated.

Brand

Bradley

Price Today

$400-$700

Modern Oven

Kind

Combi

Notes

The kitchen's most versatile tool.

Brand

Combi

Price Today

$10,000 and up

Blender

Kind

Professional

Notes

Commercial blenders are faster and produce smoother results.

Brand

Vitamix, Waring

Price Today

$300-$450

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Infrared

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

Fluke

Price Today

$75-$200

Smoker

Kind

Pellet Host Smoker

Notes

Uses wood pellets; generates a particular kind of smoke and temperature performance.

Brand

Traeger, Cookshack

Price Today

$370-$3,700

Modern Oven

Kind

Water-Vapor

Notes

Effective for some combi oven tasks or for sous vide without bags.

Brand

Accu-Steam, Winston Cvap

Price Today

$5,000 and up

Microwave Oven

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Amana, Panasonic, Others

Price Today

$200-$1,000

Smoker

Kind

Computer Controller for Custom Smoker

Notes

Converts an existing smoker into one with digital control.

Brand

BBQ Guru

Price Today

$300 and up

Must
Have

Sealer

Kind

Sealer

Notes

Vacuum sealing greatly improves the precision and flexibility of cooking in water baths and combi ovens; also useful for preserving, compressing, and expanding foods.

Brand

FoodSaver

Price Today

$50-$140

Must
Have

Pressure Cooker

Kind

Spring-Valve Pressure Cooker

Notes

A must-have; essential for stocks, tenderizing tough grains and seeds.

Brand

Kuhn Rikon, Fagor

Price Today

$110-$220

Mixer

Kind

Stand

Brand

Ankarsrum, KitchenAid, Hobart, Vollrath

Price Today

$260 and up

Smoker

Kind

Digital Smoke Oven

Notes

Features full digital control of temperature and humidity.

Brand

Enviro-Pak

Price Today

$30,000

Must
Have

Sealer

Kind

Chamber Vaccum

Notes

Vacuum sealing greatly improves the precision and flexibility of cooking in water baths and combi ovens; also useful for preserving, compressing, and expanding foods. Chamber sealers are best.

Brand

Henkelman, Ary, Multivac

Price Today

$799-$3,500

Blowtorch

Kind

MAPP or Propylene Gas

Notes

Propylene-based fuels burn cleanly and avoid tainting food with combustion products.

Brand

TurboTorch, Bernzomatic

Price Today

$43-$125

Milk Shake Machine

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Useful for creating thick foams.

Brand

Waring

Price Today

$181

Freeze Dryer

Kind

Taxidermy/Florist Grade

Notes

Freeze-dries foods for extended storage or to enhance flavors in unique ways.

Brand

Freeze Dry Co.

Price Today

$12,500

Homogenizer

Kind

Roto-stator

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

Omni, IKA

Price Today

$1,000-$5,000

Blowtorch

Kind

Oxyacetylene

Brand

Lenox

Price Today

$250-$400

Griddle

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Accu-Temp, Others

Price Today

$4,000 and up

Lab Sieves

Notes

Sieves to very fine levels with little fuss or expense.

Brand

Newark

Price Today

$45-$90

Homogenizer

Kind

Colloid Mill

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

IKA, Chinese brands

Price Today

$3,500-$30,000

Freeze Dryer

Kind

Pharmaceutical Grade

Notes

Freeze-dries foods for extended storage or to enhance flavors in unique ways.

Brand

VirTis

Price Today

$50,000 and up

Whipping Siphon

Kind

500 ml or 1 L Size

Notes

Useful for making foams, carbonating liquids, and instant infusions.

Brand

iSi

Price Today

$30-$130

Rotary Evaporator

Notes

Makes essential oils, extracts, and alcohols.

Brand

Büchi, Yamato

Price Today

$10,000 and up

Homogenizer

Kind

High-Pressure

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

Avestin

Price Today

$10,000-$30,000

Deep Fryer

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Waring

Price Today

$260-$400

Wok Burner

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Useful when high heat output is necessary.

Brand

Imperial, Viking

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Pacojet

Notes

The powder grinder makes ice cream, superfine pastes, and purees.

Brand

Pacojet

Price Today

$5,300-$6,000

Immersion Blender

Kind

Stick Type

Notes

Professional grade models with durable motors are best.

Brand

Bamix, Cuisinart, KitchenAid

Price Today

$32-$140

Chilling Water Bath

Notes

Cools foods to precise temperatures.

Brand

PolyScience

Price Today

$2,600-$4,000

Espresso Machine

Kind

Commercial

Notes

The best-built espresso machines we have tried.

Brand

Synesso

Price Today

$8,000 and up

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Faucet Aspirator

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation; faucet aspirators save on cost, but waste water.

Brand

Nalgene

Price Today

$15-$100

Vacuum Oven

Brand

Fisher Scientific

Price Today

$3,500 and up

Silicone Mat

Kind

Half Sheet and Full Sheet Sizes

Brand

Silpat, Wilton

Price Today

$8-$25

Espresso Grinder

Kind

Commercial

Notes

The grinder is as important as the espresso machine.

Brand

Mazzer

Price Today

$700-$750

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Motorized Aspirator

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation.

Brand

Brinkmann, Oakton

Price Today

$1,300

Surgical Tweezers

Notes

Useful for creative plating and handling delicate ingredients. Have several sizes on hand.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$5-$20

Meat Band Saw

Notes

http://www.hobartcorp.com/products/food-prep/meat-saws/

Brand

Hobart

Price Today

$500-$3,000

Juicer

Kind

Centrifugal

Brand

Brevile

Price Today

$80-$300

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Membrane

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation.

Brand

Büchi

Price Today

$500-$2,000

Peristaltic Pump

Notes

Useful for making long gel noodles.

Brand

Masterflex

Meat Tenderizer

Kind

Handheld

Notes

Useful for tenderizing tough meat as well as for quickly perforating pastry or skin.

Brand

Jaccard

Price Today

$25

Juicer

Kind

Champion-style

Brand

Champion

Price Today

$150-$300

Spray Dryer

Notes

Makes powders from any liquid.

Brand

Yamato

Price Today

$17,000

Magnetic Stirrer with Hot Plate

Notes

Useful for temperature-controlled heating and stirring tasks.

Brand

Cimarec, Corning, IKA

Price Today

$300-$500

Dehydrator

Kind

With Para-Flexx Sheets

Brand

Excalibur

Price Today

$165-$350

Juicer

Kind

Food Press

Price Today

$10-$150

Vacuum Concentrator

Notes

Reduces sauce and stock; very low heat yields bright flavors.

Brand

Genevac Rocket Evaporator

Price Today

$20,000

Centrifuge

Kind

Up to 30,000 rpm

Notes

Useful for rapidly and thoroughly clarifying liquids and separating fats.

Brand

Beckman Coulter, Thermo Scientific

Price Today

$10,000-$30,000

Vacuum Desiccator

Brand

Nalgene

Price Today

$100-$200

Injectors

Brand

Bayou Classic

Price Today

$13-$20

Autoclave

Notes

An incredibly useful automated pressure cooker; comes in many sizes.

Brand

Tuttnauer, Yamato

Vacuum-Filtering Setup

Kind

Filter Flask, Büchner Funnel, Filter Media, Pump

Notes

Useful for clarifying broth or consommé.

Brand

Whatman (media)

Price Today

$200-$500

Timers

Brand

ThermoWorks, Others

Price Today

$10-$30

Vacuum Jars

Kind

Assorted Sizes

Brand

FoodSaver

Price Today

$10-$14

Meat Slicer

Kind

Commercial Grade

Brand

Biro, Berkel

Price Today

$150-$1,500

Must
Have

Silicone Mold

Kind

Assorted Sizes

Notes

A must-have for casting gels and setting shapes.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$6-$175

Carbonator

Kind

Soda Siphon

Notes

For do-it-yourself soda.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$80-$300

Pressure-Filtering Kit

Notes

Clarifies liquids quickly with minimal waste or flavor exchange.

Brand

Buon Vino

Price Today

$175-$300

Coffee Cold-Brewing Kit

Notes

Makes full-flavored extracts for use in cooking.

Brand

Toddy

Price Today

$20-$40

Paintbrush

Notes

Useful for applying even layers of oil for baking, sauces for glazing, and for creative plating.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$2-$10

Induction Cooktop

Kind

Countertop

Notes

Can handle most needs filled by traditional ranges.

Brand

Sunpentown, Others

Price Today

$75-$200

Induction Cooktop

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Can handle most needs filled by traditional ranges.

Brand

Polyscience, Thirode

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Broiler

Kind

Gas Catalytic

Brand

TEC, Others

Price Today

$1,600 and up

Broiler

Kind

Electric

Brand

DeLonghi, Star-Max

Price Today

$70-$1,500

Blender

Kind

Professional

Notes

Commercial blenders are faster and produce smoother results.

Brand

Vitamix, Waring

Price Today

$300-$450

Microwave Oven

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Amana, Panasonic, Others

Price Today

$200-$1,000

Mixer

Kind

Stand

Brand

Ankarsrum, KitchenAid, Hobart, Vollrath

Price Today

$260 and up

Milk Shake Machine

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Useful for creating thick foams.

Brand

Waring

Price Today

$181

Griddle

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Accu-Temp, Others

Price Today

$4,000 and up

Deep Fryer

Kind

Commercial

Brand

Waring

Price Today

$260-$400

Wok Burner

Kind

Commercial

Notes

Useful when high heat output is necessary.

Brand

Imperial, Viking

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Espresso Machine

Kind

Commercial

Notes

The best-built espresso machines we have tried.

Brand

Synesso

Price Today

$8,000 and up

Espresso Grinder

Kind

Commercial

Notes

The grinder is as important as the espresso machine.

Brand

Mazzer

Price Today

$700-$750

Juicer

Kind

Centrifugal

Brand

Brevile

Price Today

$80-$300

Juicer

Kind

Champion-style

Brand

Champion

Price Today

$150-$300

Juicer

Kind

Food Press

Price Today

$10-$150

Injectors

Brand

Bayou Classic

Price Today

$13-$20

Timers

Brand

ThermoWorks, Others

Price Today

$10-$30

Must
Have

Digital Scale

Kind

5 kg Max, 1 g increments

Notes

A must-have; every recipe in our books requires accurate measuring.

Brand

Escali, My Weigh, Ohaus, Salter

Price Today

$25-$130

Must
Have

Digital Scale

Kind

200 g Max, 0.01 g Increments

Notes

A must-have; every recipe in our books requires accurate measuring.

Brand

AWS, Ohaus, Polder

Price Today

$14-$240

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Thermometer

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

ThermoWorks

Price Today

$10-$100

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Thermocouple

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

ThermoWorks

Price Today

$46-$208

Must
Have

Thermometer

Kind

Infrared

Notes

A must-have; precise temperature control is crucial for Modernist cooking.

Brand

Fluke

Price Today

$75-$200

Must
Have

Pressure Cooker

Kind

Spring-Valve Pressure Cooker

Notes

A must-have; essential for stocks, tenderizing tough grains and seeds.

Brand

Kuhn Rikon, Fagor

Price Today

$110-$220

Blowtorch

Kind

MAPP or Propylene Gas

Notes

Propylene-based fuels burn cleanly and avoid tainting food with combustion products.

Brand

TurboTorch, Bernzomatic

Price Today

$43-$125

Blowtorch

Kind

Oxyacetylene

Brand

Lenox

Price Today

$250-$400

Lab Sieves

Notes

Sieves to very fine levels with little fuss or expense.

Brand

Newark

Price Today

$45-$90

Whipping Siphon

Kind

500 ml or 1 L Size

Notes

Useful for making foams, carbonating liquids, and instant infusions.

Brand

iSi

Price Today

$30-$130

Immersion Blender

Kind

Stick Type

Notes

Professional grade models with durable motors are best.

Brand

Bamix, Cuisinart, KitchenAid

Price Today

$32-$140

Silicone Mat

Kind

Half Sheet and Full Sheet Sizes

Brand

Silpat, Wilton

Price Today

$8-$25

Surgical Tweezers

Notes

Useful for creative plating and handling delicate ingredients. Have several sizes on hand.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$5-$20

Meat Tenderizer

Kind

Handheld

Notes

Useful for tenderizing tough meat as well as for quickly perforating pastry or skin.

Brand

Jaccard

Price Today

$25

Dehydrator

Kind

With Para-Flexx Sheets

Brand

Excalibur

Price Today

$165-$350

Vacuum Desiccator

Brand

Nalgene

Price Today

$100-$200

Vacuum-Filtering Setup

Kind

Filter Flask, Büchner Funnel, Filter Media, Pump

Notes

Useful for clarifying broth or consommé.

Brand

Whatman (media)

Price Today

$200-$500

Vacuum Jars

Kind

Assorted Sizes

Brand

FoodSaver

Price Today

$10-$14

Meat Slicer

Kind

Commercial Grade

Brand

Biro, Berkel

Price Today

$150-$1,500

Must
Have

Silicone Mold

Kind

Assorted Sizes

Notes

A must-have for casting gels and setting shapes.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$6-$175

Carbonator

Kind

Soda Siphon

Notes

For do-it-yourself soda.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$80-$300

Pressure-Filtering Kit

Notes

Clarifies liquids quickly with minimal waste or flavor exchange.

Brand

Buon Vino

Price Today

$175-$300

Coffee Cold-Brewing Kit

Notes

Makes full-flavored extracts for use in cooking.

Brand

Toddy

Price Today

$20-$40

Paintbrush

Notes

Useful for applying even layers of oil for baking, sauces for glazing, and for creative plating.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$2-$10

Must
Have

Immersion Circulator

Notes

For cooking sous vide; it is useful to have several for preparing several dishes at different temperatures simultaneously.

Brand

Anova, Sansaire, Polyscience

Price Today

$160-$800

Must
Have

Sous Vide Machine

Notes

For cooking sous vide; it is useful to have several for preparing several dishes at different temperatures simultaneously.

Brand

SousVide Supreme, VWR

Price Today

$300-$2,000

Liquid Nitrogen

Kind

Dewar Flask

Notes

Useful for myriad of prep tasks and for producing special effects.

Brand

Thermo Scientific

Price Today

$500-$1,400

Modern Oven

Kind

Combi

Notes

The kitchen's most versatile tool.

Brand

Combi

Price Today

$10,000 and up

Modern Oven

Kind

Water-Vapor

Notes

Effective for some combi oven tasks or for sous vide without bags.

Brand

Accu-Steam, Winston Cvap

Price Today

$5,000 and up

Must
Have

Sealer

Kind

Sealer

Notes

Vacuum sealing greatly improves the precision and flexibility of cooking in water baths and combi ovens; also useful for preserving, compressing, and expanding foods.

Brand

FoodSaver

Price Today

$50-$140

Must
Have

Sealer

Kind

Chamber Vaccum

Notes

Vacuum sealing greatly improves the precision and flexibility of cooking in water baths and combi ovens; also useful for preserving, compressing, and expanding foods. Chamber sealers are best.

Brand

Henkelman, Ary, Multivac

Price Today

$799-$3,500

Homogenizer

Kind

Roto-stator

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

Omni, IKA

Price Today

$1,000-$5,000

Homogenizer

Kind

Colloid Mill

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

IKA, Chinese brands

Price Today

$3,500-$30,000

Homogenizer

Kind

High-Pressure

Notes

A tabletop homogenizer produces the smoothest and most stable sauces, purees, and emulsions.

Brand

Avestin

Price Today

$10,000-$30,000

Pacojet

Notes

The powder grinder makes ice cream, superfine pastes, and purees.

Brand

Pacojet

Price Today

$5,300-$6,000

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Faucet Aspirator

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation; faucet aspirators save on cost, but waste water.

Brand

Nalgene

Price Today

$15-$100

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Motorized Aspirator

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation.

Brand

Brinkmann, Oakton

Price Today

$1,300

Vacuum Pump

Kind

Membrane

Notes

Useful for filtering and desiccation.

Brand

Büchi

Price Today

$500-$2,000

Magnetic Stirrer with Hot Plate

Notes

Useful for temperature-controlled heating and stirring tasks.

Brand

Cimarec, Corning, IKA

Price Today

$300-$500

Centrifuge

Kind

Up to 30,000 rpm

Notes

Useful for rapidly and thoroughly clarifying liquids and separating fats.

Brand

Beckman Coulter, Thermo Scientific

Price Today

$10,000-$30,000

Autoclave

Notes

An incredibly useful automated pressure cooker; comes in many sizes.

Brand

Tuttnauer, Yamato

Ultrasonic Bath

Notes

Cleans small items; extracts locked-in flavor.

Brand

Branson

Price Today

$500-$1,350

Vacuum Tumbler

Notes

Accelerates brining, curing, and marinating of meats.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$500-$2,000

Blast Chiller

Notes

Chills large amounts of food; useful for quickly chilling items cooked sous vide.

Brand

Any

Price Today

$1,000 and up

Smoker

Kind

Sawdust Puck Smoker

Notes

Uses a hopper and sawdust pucks; electrically heated.

Brand

Bradley

Price Today

$400-$700

Smoker

Kind

Pellet Host Smoker

Notes

Uses wood pellets; generates a particular kind of smoke and temperature performance.

Brand

Traeger, Cookshack

Price Today

$370-$3,700

Smoker

Kind

Computer Controller for Custom Smoker

Notes

Converts an existing smoker into one with digital control.

Brand

BBQ Guru

Price Today

$300 and up

Smoker

Kind

Digital Smoke Oven

Notes

Features full digital control of temperature and humidity.

Brand

Enviro-Pak

Price Today

$30,000

Freeze Dryer

Kind

Taxidermy/Florist Grade

Notes

Freeze-dries foods for extended storage or to enhance flavors in unique ways.

Brand

Freeze Dry Co.

Price Today

$12,500

Freeze Dryer

Kind

Pharmaceutical Grade

Notes

Freeze-dries foods for extended storage or to enhance flavors in unique ways.

Brand

VirTis

Price Today

$50,000 and up

Rotary Evaporator

Notes

Makes essential oils, extracts, and alcohols.

Brand

Büchi, Yamato

Price Today

$10,000 and up

Chilling Water Bath

Notes

Cools foods to precise temperatures.

Brand

PolyScience

Price Today

$2,600-$4,000

Vacuum Oven

Brand

Fisher Scientific

Price Today

$3,500 and up

Meat Band Saw

Notes

http://www.hobartcorp.com/products/food-prep/meat-saws/

Brand

Hobart

Price Today

$500-$3,000

Peristaltic Pump

Notes

Useful for making long gel noodles.

Brand

Masterflex

Spray Dryer

Notes

Makes powders from any liquid.

Brand

Yamato

Price Today

$17,000

Vacuum Concentrator

Notes

Reduces sauce and stock; very low heat yields bright flavors.

Brand

Genevac Rocket Evaporator

Price Today

$20,000

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