Control Freak

Calling all Breville/Sage/Polyscience Control Freak users: Keen to hear your experiences

I’ve been contemplating getting one of these for a while now. I like the idea of being able to do precision cooking with a bit more freedom than a water bath. I imagine I’d use this for oil poaching fish, deep frying, simmering stews/stocks, etc.

I would love to hear from people who actually use one: what do you use it for? How does it perform against those tasks? Would you recommend it?

I am conscious that it’s quite an expensive bit of kit and that everyone’s price-value equation is different. Keen to keep this focused on the value side of that equation.

EDIT: I should say that I am not US-based and that I am looking to get the 2400w version which is a bit more powerful than the 1800w US version - if that makes a difference…

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There’s a very long thread on these over at eGullet. The people who have them seem to like them, but it may be hard to criticize one’s own purchase of an $1800, 1500W PIC.

IMO, the idea is sound, and the need unclear. There isn’t any evenness or power improvement over a $89 unit, and the measurement point is only a button in the center (The immersion probe makes it a viable SV alternative, albeit at 10x the price.). IMO, they make a lot more sense for restaurants that want to be able to dial in consistency when the work is delegated down the foodchain,

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Hi alexander,

Since you are headed that way in your thinking, let’s backtrack a bit to induction technology to remind ourselves how much is still possible with software solutions.

The “induction effect” requires a magnetic source to induce a sympathetic response within a metal that gains strength from both the outside and the inside of a metal container–especially if the inside contains a minimal liquid medium to spread the induction effect.

kitchenware manufacturers have developed protocols that allow a variety of magnetic materials to respond to a standardized magnetic inducer which include nonmagnetic cladded materials that seem to respond as effectively as monometal materials. This allows the inclusion of both aluminum and copper in a pan.

Increasing the strength of the inducer does not proportionately increase the induction effect (with or without liquid inside). Instead the induction effect can accelerate without increased stimulation to higher and higher temperatures, but doesn’t decelerate in a similar manner.

By increasing the number, and relocating inducers and stimulators, one could gain more and more control over both temperature increase and decrease with software management. The sensors modulate stimulators in a complex feedback loop.

The control freak is a step in this direction—but not the last step

Wrong on many counts, but keep slugging.

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I think we’ve had the discussion re. software before, and I think you’re categorically wrong about output not mattering - of course it does…

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Some impressions:

124 ratings and many reviews

I’m not really primarily discussing cookware in my writeup–just talking about the “monster” induction.

I’ve read quite a bit about the research.

For the applications, read the reviews I posted.

I’ve read the eGullet thread before and found it helpful. Was just hoping some onions here might have first hand accounts on what they like/dislike it for.

There was only one home cook who went all the way and purchased two control freaks in Chowhound.

He felt he had the answer.

I’ve played with one at trade shows, but no daily use.

One thing to consider is that, if you cook from recipes, the CF’s precise temperature settings are a different language–their authors write in terms of “medium high” and “simmer”, not 372F and 187F. How do you translate, and more importantly, WHY do you translate? In many ways, CF is like a car with a speedometer and cruise control that can be set in 1/10mph increments. Will you be using those features?

Again, if you’re a chef/owner who wants staff to be able to push a programmed button and produce consistent results without thinking, that’s a good use. If your hobby is molecular gastronomy, and you want to chart the single-digit temperature differences in results, great.

Bump!

I’m interested in this because I’ve been looking at the Iwatani 35F (butane burner) recently mentioned in another thread as a camping buddy, but I also have plenty of induction-workable cookware. And my son and I generally use campsites with electric hook-up (even though we tent camp).

Anyone out there have a CF?

Just a thought: Would a smaller induction unit be more suitable for camping? The CF is quite large compared to other portable induction units due to all the electronics required for its super precision.

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I don’t think the CF is substantially larger than the average PIC.

Hi CCE,

The Vollrath Mirage pro–or even the Cadet would work for you. I have used both for about 5 years. You can even get a carrying case:

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollrath-59510p-mirage-pro-countertop-induction-range-120v-1400w/92259510P.html

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I should have said “heavy” - I think it’s at least twice as heavy as the oft recommended Duxtop. Shipping weight is almost 25 pounds for the CF where the Duxtop weighs 7.5 pounds.

I also think it’s a bit bulkier:

CF: 13.7 x 18.5 x 4.3”
Duxtop: 11.4 x 14 x 2.5”

Duxtop: https://www.thesecura.com/product/duxtop-lcd-1800-watt-portable-induction-cooktop-countertop-burner-9600ls/

CF:

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Hi Alexander. Well, I’m not sure if a smaller unit would be better for camping, but a cheaper unit would be better!

:smiley:

But I tend to really like the top end stuff.

I should probably stop doing that.

Bad for the wallet, etc.

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Thanks Ray!

You are creating jobs

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I think the Duxtop can deliver in that department too :wink:

It’s not perfect, but here are a few reviews that recommend it:

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I’m like you btw - my starting point is usually the best available version of something. Luckily I sometimes talk myself down into something that is suitable for my needs.

Case in point - manual coffee grinders - where I decided to go with a good brand but their cheaper, more portable version for practical and travel purposes

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