Lab Canada

Centrifugal evaporation in the kitchen

At the renowned Midsummer House Restaurant in Cambridge, UK, the chefs have been experimenting with centrifugal evaporation, using the Genevac Rocket evaporator.

With the centrifugal evaporation technique, Midsummer House chefs are taking large volumes of liquid and concentrating them down. These concentrates can be used to increase the depth of flavour of sauces or stocks or to create unique flavour combinations. Centrifugal evaporation is predominantly used in analytical laboratories, where the quality of the final product is absolutely vital – just as it is in the kitchen.

At Midsummer House, head chef Daniel Clifford’s cooking has a modern focus, which is underpinned by classical French technique. Top-quality ingredients, advanced technique and technical prowess add a wow-factor to the menus. It is increasingly common to find scientific equipment in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants: liquid nitrogen, water baths, dehydration and freeze dryers enable modern chefs to experiment with taste and texture in ways that were previously impossible. But while technological theatre can make a meal into a show-stopper, the success of every dish ultimately depends on its flavours.

“We are still learning with the Rocket evaporator and testing lots of products on it,” commented Chef Clifford. “It really is so much fun for our chefs to taste the clarity of ingredients and see how pure we can make the flavours.”

At Midsummer House the centrifugal evaporation technique is already used with a wide range of components, including a quail consommé (for ravioli), celery juice (incorporated into sorbet) and crab stock (to be made into crab butter). Centrifugal evaporation does not need high temperatures to work so in contrast to other methods, for example reducing a sauce down on the stove, the flavours are not affected. This is especially important with subtle flavours such as cucumber or beetroot.

Most evaporators are designed for use with small amounts of liquid, often just a few centilitres. Making enough concentrate for a single serving of sauce might take days. The Rocket, however, is able to transform litres of liquid rapidly into millilitres of concentrate. By using an innovative low-temperature steam system this can be achieved in just a few hours.

“We are always striving to better our techniques to offer the best food in the industry,” said Chef Clifford. “There is no other evaporator that can achieve these goals. The Genevac Rocket is unique.”