1115 ice shots for charles 009 aymfco

Image: PDX Ice

RATIONAL CLIMAPLUS COMBI OVEN

Sure, it looks like your standard restaurant cooker—front-facing and head-high. But with a few clicks, a Combi oven’s humidity controls precisely simmer your braise or dehydrate delicate squash blossoms. At Castagna, chef Justin Woodward uses the all-digital oven to flash-heat dishes or oh-so-gently reduce a three-day duck stock. “It’s on 24 hours a day,” he says. “Basically we never turn it off.”

Lo-fi: How do Castagna chefs clean grit from delicate abalone and wild mushrooms? Fred Meyer toothbrushes, says Woodward: the cheaper, the better.

MAKERBOT REPLICATOR 2X

When business VIPs like Grey Goose and Intel check in at the Nines hotel, they get chocolates: Valrhona chocolates, custom-formed in the shape of their company logo. Nines digital strategist Drew Tyson programs a 3-D printer to build plastic prototypes for in-house custom molds used by Urban Farmer pastry chef Hillary Kirkton. “The grand vision is a machine that actually prints food,” says Tyson. “Maybe this will just be a better way to make a burger patty, or maybe it will change fine dining.” 

PACOJET 2

How’s this for micromanaging? Chef Ryan Fox makes every single quenelle of almond ice cream to order for Nomad.PDX’s intricate “egg and nest” dish with a heat-wicking, 6,000 rpm, $6,000 blender. The ferocious machine essentially “micropurées” super-cold ingredients to create ice creams, mousses, and gels on demand from anything—basil or rib eye or walnuts still in the shell. “You control to a decimal the pressure of the blades, how far down they go,” says Fox. “You can make portions; no waste!” 

CLINEBELL CB300

To make the glassy, two-inch cocktail cubes integral to a proper negroni or old-fashioned, the kind poured at high-end spots like Levant and the Multnomah Whiskey Library, PDX Ice’s Charles Hartz uses this industrial-grade, “reverse-osmosis” chest freezer that works, over a four-day period, to squeeze air bubbles and impurities out of a 300-pound ice slab. He also uses a CNC machine to cut logos onto cubes (see photo above).

Lo-fi: Hartz also works with chainsaws and Japanese chisels to carve custom ice sculptures, like a life-size saber-toothed tiger for one Wieden & Kennedy party.

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