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A Chef Makes the Case for an Extremely Loud Kitchen Timer

“This timer is loud. Performance-art loud,” says Superiority Burger’s chef Brooks Headley. Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

“I discovered the FMP 4-in-1 Digital Timer working at Campanile in Los Angeles, and at every other restaurant I have worked since, I have purchased one of these. Most convection ovens have a timer built into them, but they are quiet and always break. So then you get a little timer — the kind you can get at Duane Reade or a kitchen-supply store — but they’re small and will fall behind the fridge. This timer is loud. Performance-art loud. We tape over the speaker, and it’s still loud — so loud it makes you angry, even though it’s serving its purpose perfectly. You could be in a large house and you could hear this on the other side of the house.

It’s also got four separate timers, so you can have a really long one going — like when we do gigante beans in a low oven for six hours — while setting another timer for something that needs just a few minutes to finish up. When we opened up Superiority Burger, I was too caught up in thinking about all the other tools that we would need to think about timers. I didn’t have one of these for a long time, until something — I think it was crispy potatoes or some other special — got burnt, and that caused me a lot of anguish. Smoke was pouring out of the oven because we just forgot about it. I got this timer the next day. All it takes is one tray of burned anything and the mental agitation that comes with it to justify the $50 cost of this timer. And it’s big, so you can’t lose it.” —As Told to Priya Krishna

Buy the Timer: $47 on Amazon
Buy Brooks Headley’s Cookbook: $19 on Amazon

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*A version of this article appears in the September 19, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.

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