And it certainly is. And while induction technology is capable of producing immense heat, the design elements serving this market are just not there yet. I think it is time some commercial manufacturers pony up a little more R&D here… at least I would like to see it.
No, perhaps not tabletop grills for Korean BBQ (although I will leave any definite statement on that topic to the experts).
But I will say that no matter how advanced induction technology becomes, it will never be able to replace gas and real life flames for Chinese stir-fry cooking where not only wok hei is critical, but you almost need to feel the flames lapping themselves over the wok to create that sort of je ne sais quoi synergy between the comestibles in the wok and the energy created by the flames that signals to the chef when a dish is ready, which for some might be simply a semantic difference from wok hei, but for those that have worked in Chinese restaurant kitchens there is a distinct difference.
I think a major issue with current induction cooktops is the cooling of the induction coils. But even then, a 10 or 12 inch element is capable of almost twice the BTUs of a similar sized gas unit.
And while a commercial gas wok is almost like a mini blast furnace, even a real bast furnace pales in comparison to the capabilities of an induction furnace, which uses liquid cooling of the induction coils.
Guessing since a full size hob an a quality induction cooktop is capable of a 40,000+ btu equivalence, to the best of my knowledge no appliance manufacturers feel the need for more (especially household appliances).
But way more is possible. Hell more and more foundries are moving to induction due to better efficiency, purity, and consistency (not to mention way cleaner work environments). Someone just needs to say “hey, we need an induction element capable of a couple hundred-thousand btu” and design it.
It’s really not the level of heat, but how that heat is generated that really separates the difference between induction and gas for Chinese cooking.
I agree with you that an induction cooktop can out generate the BTU levels of any gas cooktop, but that’s really not the relevant point of inquiry, as it’s more about how one can use the heat that is generated.
For example, on an induction burner, you simply cannot lift up the work and toss your ingredients and then while the wok is still in the air, catch some flames from the stovetop. On a gas setup, that’s par for the course. See below beginning @ 0:15
Again, not denigrating induction, just pointing out that there are limitations which makes it (at this point) inappropriate for certain types of cooking, and it has nothing to do with the level of heat, or BTU’s.
I get it that some skills will need to be modified, but sooner or later we’re gonna run out of gas (and banning it from new construction is becoming more prevalent), so I would love to see something like a smokin’ hot liquid cooled, semi-conical coil induction hob for woks, as well as a Teppanyaki style grill.
Most restaurant wok burners are much more powerful than 40k. Even my pimped out home wok burner is at least 180k, and that’s marginal.
Even if industrial induction tech can be repurposed for restaurant use, the costs would be prohibitive. And it would require retooling an entire segment of the culinary appliance industry. There’s also a likelihood that 240v service wouldn’t be enough. What’s the cost of rewiring 1,000 LA restaurants to 440 3-phase? Then there’s the carbon footprint of generating the extra power needed.
We’d apply a generalization of those “certain types” as analog, where the chef takes cues from flame shape/size/color and relates those to what the pan is giving off in sights, sounds, smells, etc. Digital would be trying to relate a readout to same observations. We’re analog; (and while we appreciate most of its electronics, our car’s digital speedometer lamely serves the driver – glancing at a dial’s needle was so much quicker and informative than taxing our teeny brain’s plodding CPU to relate that number to what is happening with the car.)
There are far more effective measures that people can take to reduce greenhouse gasses than switching from gas to electric appliances.
The best things individuals can do is reduce or stop beef consumption and discontinue air travel. Although these measures would reduce greenhouse gasses, cities aren’t banning beef consumption and air travel.
What? This is nonsensical. I’d prefer no one go OOB. You seem to think that would be no big deal if they did.
Also nonsensical. You fantasized aloud about induction woks using liquid-cooled high power coils. That’s the industrial use employed in metal smelters. And by the way, the frequency is different, so these nonexistent wok burners you propose might not work with existing woks or put to use in “regular” cooking.
No, who said that? Global warming is a serious problem. But banning gas appliances (or wood cookery) in restaurants that depend on that mode? Why not just ban new ICE cars and aircraft? I’d be a lot more sympathetic to this thinking if a reasonable alternative existed, but it doesn’t.
Home kitchens thus account for about 0.4% of U.S. natural gas use. Burning natural gas was responsible for an estimated 36% of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions in 2020, so residential natural-gas cooking’s share of those emissions comes in at less than 0.2%. That’s not a lot!
Both home and commercial users have already been using induction for some time–at all levels of technology and cost. It is unlikely that gas vs. induction will ever be either/or, but gas users are already finding uses for induction.
The Chinese have always been outstanding in finding ways to adapt–and I’m certain they will find more and more ways to use induction, but I’m also sure that they will continue to integrate “flame” if needed, into their bag of tricks.
Asian restaurants are already using induction units at the table to maintain a simmer on their hot pots. Vollrath has won an award for a commercial device that keeps soup warm.
As a home cook, I’ve adapted to induction–and enjoy kit a great deal.