An Introduction To Induction
Q: How long have you been a chef? And what was your first job in foodservice?
Rich Rupp: My parents purchased their first restaurant when I was 12, so I basically grew up in the business. I remember opening night — I finished school and rode my bike to the restaurant to check how things were going. I saw the dishwasher needed help so I jumped right in. Over the next few years, I worked my way through the rest of the operation.
Q: How long have you been cooking with induction technology?
RR: I really didn’t know much about induction until I started working at the Vollrath Company in January 2000. I was blown away the first time I saw it. I took a sample unit home to play on, and it soon became my favorite piece of cooking equipment.
Q: From a chef’s perspective, what advantages does induction provide?
RR: There are some obvious reasons — I like the speed of heat, precision and repeatable control, but one of the things I have come to appreciate most is how cool the handles of the cookware stay and how I feel almost no heat coming back at me. Whenever I have to use a gas stove or burner, I’m quickly reminded of how hot the handles get on the cookware and of how hot it is to work in front of gas burners.
Q: Do you have a fun story about induction?
RR: I was working a Vollrath trade show with an award-winning Thai chef who was using Vollrath’s induction wok. He needed to crack some coconut cream for his curry-based dish and it was going to be his first time doing it in an induction wok. He was amazed at how even the induction wok was heating the coconut cream — so evenly that he didn’t need to continually stir it to prevent it from burning like he would have on a gas wok. It put a big smile on his face.
Q: Are there certain menu items you recommend using induction to prepare?
RR: Not any specific menu items, but anything you need to start with a higher heat to sear and then lower the heat to simmer or reduce. Induction gives you the power to sear, and then the control to lower the heat to a perfect simmer for cooking or reducing a sauce. It is so even and precise. When you figure out what setting you like, just set it to that and it’s perfect.
Q: In essence, how would you recommend someone new to induction as a good way to get started?
RR: Honestly, just get a countertop unit and start using it. Don’t just boil water or heat soup — make something! It’s not a big learning curve. Once you know where you like the power or heat for a specific item, it’s just so easy to repeat.
Q: Where can I learn more about induction cooking?
RR: Vollrath is a great resource for induction technology and cookware. Find helpful information, videos and product options at vollrath.com/induction