Dave Arnold wants to help you make the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. The energetic, food-obsessed owner of experimental cocktail bar Booker & Dax and director of the Museum of Food & Drink has already created the Searzall torch attachment to help you, well, sear it all, and now he’s working on a centrifuge for home and restaurant use.
He uses the centrifuge at the bar to make his signature milk-washed spirits (think egg-white cocktails without the egg white), among other things, but practically speaking, a standard centrifuge is pretty impractical for anywhere but the lab. It costs about $8,000 and is “the size of a washing machine,” he said, and it doesn’t even allow you to make large quantities at a time.
Arnold’s centrifuge, on the other hand, is “designed for kitchens,” meaning that it operates at a lower rate (think 2,000 times the force of gravity instead of 4,000) and is much safer, smaller, lighter, and less expensive. He actually designed the centrifuge himself, quite a technical feat, and is micromanaging the manufacturers in China and the States to make sure they get every detail right.
He’s hoping to start discounted presales on Amazon Prime by the end of 2016 for less than $1,000.
That means restaurants will be able to afford to run four at a time, automatically increasing their ability to innovate and experiment.
What the heck would they be innovating and experimenting with? Well, clarifying any liquid you could ever want, for starters, especially fruit juices or even coffee. But where the centrifuge really “blows everything else out of the water” is with flavored and infused oils. “I don’t anticipate there being any other tool on the market that will touch it,” Arnold said. “Throw [the spices] in a centrifuge and the flavor is just like, ‘Sploooosh!’” Same for other recipes that don’t yield high amounts, like the famous pea butter from Modernist Cuisine, which he said is better made at home for a small family than in a restaurant with lots of hungry patrons.
Now, this isn’t going to change home cooking forever: Few people can afford a $1,000 gadget that makes flavored oil. And only the highest-end kitchens will probably consider using it. But those who do use it will find their food improved with little effort, which I personally hope will translate to higher standards for all food going forward.
Of course, Arnold acknowledges that there might be a little (read: giant) learning curve. “The way I tend to think about things isn’t the way most users think about things,” he said. “I’m not thinking about the recipe, I’m thinking about what’s happening inside the machine.” So he’s completely rewriting the protocols of how to use this thing (which he originally outlined in Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail).
“The problem is that people are going to go off the reservation, and it’s not going to fail in a predictable way,” he said. In other words, follow his directions. Or else suffer the wrath of a cloudy cocktail or imperfect curry oil. And no one wants that.