'Dave Arnold' on Serious Eats

Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Dave Arnold's Lower East Side

Dave Arnold is a card-carrying member of the culinary avant-garde, with the gadgets and address book to prove it. Together with David Chang, the culinary science whiz opened Booker and Dax, a high-tech bar serving meticulously crafted cocktails made with hot pokers, centrifuges, and the like. But when he heads home to his wife and sons on the Lower East Side, he turns towards the classics: a club sandwich, spicy wings, or, you know, whatever his brother-in-law Wylie Dufresne is serving. More

We Chat With: Dave Arnold of Booker and Dax

For the hour and a half we chat with Dave Arnold at Booker and Dax, the bar adjacent to Momofuku Ssam Bar that showcases Arnold's meticulously crafted cocktails, a centrifuge spins and some sort of extraction machine bubbles away. Tools clink and whirl, and occasionally Arnold puts a refractometer up to his eye. Yet Arnold insists what he's doing is not science; "really, it's just cooking". During our time together, Arnold builds some shockingly delicious cocktails, brainstorms with his staff about new ones, and spells out what this whole "modernist cuisine" thing actually means for us serious eaters. More

Video: Dave Arnold Mixes Cocktails With Science at Booker & Dax

When I hear that a bar or restaurant is using things like liquid nitrogen and centrifuges, my immediate reaction is to roll my eyes and think "gimmick." But to think that of Booker & Dax would be judging too soon. Despite their use of high-tech equipment, they remain a bar completely grounded in quality ingredients, balanced flavors, and a healthy respect for the classics. As Dave says, he's not into the "shotgun" style of bartending—that is, mixing a dozen different ingredients together—you're far more likely to find two to four ingredients cocktails at Booker & Dax. For him, technology is much more about purifying flavors and speeding up work flow than fancy special effects (of course, you get a bit of that too). More

Video: Dave Arnold Mixes a Cocktail With A Lightsaber at Booker & Dax, NYC

I've always been a big fan of Dave Arnold, the French Culinary Institute instructor/cook/mad scientist/artist who's been a major player in the modern technology-driven food movement for at least a decade or so. His writings in his Cooking Issues blog on cocktails have been especially intriguing, tackling the science of ice, dilution, chilling, flavor concentration, and shaking like no other mixologist on the planet. More

Video: David Arnold's Burger of the Future, the Soup Dumpling Burger

The last time we saw burger crafting at the hands of Dave Arnold, Director of Culinary Technology at the French Culinary Institute and an author of FCI's food tech blog Cooking Issues, he had flash-fried it, cooked it in a bag of butter in a circulator, then flash-fried it again. That technique, and then some, comes up again in his interpretation of the "burger of the future," the Soup Dumping Burger. More

Cast-Iron Cooking Primer

Heating properties of cast iron (top) vs. aluminum (bottom). [Photograph: Cooking Issues] Over on the French Culinary Institute's Cooking Issues blog, Dave Arnold has created a great cast iron–cooking primer that explains the science behind the cookware, including this great bit that dispels the notion of even heating: The popular wisdom that cast iron cookware provides even heat is misleading. A cast iron skillet placed on a gas burner will develop distinct hot spots where the flame touches the pan. If you heat the center of a cast iron pan, you will find that the heat travels slowly toward the pan's edge, with a significant temperature gradient between the center and the edge. The pan will heat very unevenly... More

How to Get, Store, and Use Liquid Nitrogen: A Primer by Dave Arnold

[Photograph: Cooking Issues] For anyone looking to freeze the heck out of stuff in culinary applications, the FCI's resident kitchen geek Dave Arnold has prepared a primer on liquid nitrogen that covers safety, procurement, storage and handling, and uses. The stuff sounds dangerous, so if you seriously are thinking of exploring its use, you'd be smart to read this.... More

Dave Arnold's Immersion Circulator Turkey

[Photographs: Cooking Issues] Leave it to mad scientisty chef Dave Arnold to think, forget the oven, I'm going to prepare my Thanksgiving turkey in a double immersion circulator. Here's how it worked, as explained on the French Culinary Institute's blog Cooking Issues: He filled a stock pot with duck fat and butter, and jammed the cavity with herbs. He then used two circulators set at 65°C. A hose was attached to one of the circulator's spouts and pushed into the cavity of the bird so that hot fat was not only circulated on the outside of the bird, but also injected into the center. It was circulated for two hours, chilled in a blast freezer, and then packed it... More

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