engines of gastronomy

Tailor's Liquid-Nitrogen Dispenser Is Very, Very Cold

sam mason

Sam Mason in full mad-scientist mode.Photo: Melissa Hom

The Dewar liquid-nitrogen dispenser at Tailor is no simple kitchen tool. A tank filled with a substance so cold that it boils at -327 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s used by Sam Mason and the other cooks at Tailor to flash-freeze foods without changing their cell structure. “I hit grapefruit sections with it,” explains Mason, “and in a few seconds they’re broken down to their most basic structures. And it can make ice cream in two minutes!” Like a lot of molecular gastronomists, Mason uses liquid nitrogen because it can change the structure of a food without changing its flavor at all; it dissipates almost instantly, leaving no aftereffects other than a radical shift in texture. “There aren’t a lot of limits of what you can do with this,” he says. “Just don’t get it on your hands for too long.”
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