I have written in the past about my love of cooking shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Man vs. Food. But far and away my favorite cooking show is Good Eats starring cinematographer turned cooking show host Alton Brown. What attracts me and many other engineers to the show, is how detailed and creatively Mr. Brown describes the science behind the food we cook. Some of my favorites include the belching, sock puppet yeast that illustrates how bread rises and the plastic army men that line up in formation to show how water crystals form in food when frozen.
Brown’s quote leaves out one other subjective part about the preparation of the food. No matter how precisely you control the temperature and technique to prepare food, success is still measured by the subjective determination of taste. The main goal of any commercial foodservice equipment project is to improve some aspect of the unit while ensuring that the food is cooked to the desired taste. A new cooking appliance could be twice as fast and use half the energy, but if the final food product is not as the chef desires, the appliance will not be used.