The Rising Chef Use of Dehydrators to Concentrate Flavors and Extend Their Products

How is your favorite chef in the city using up his/her counter space in the kitchen? It just might be with a dehydrator. It may not be as sexy as the Sous Vide machine but the dehydrator is as practical and durable as any chef will need.

Why is the Dehydrator Trending Right Now?

The dehydrator is gaining popularity by chefs all around the country—and for several reasons. It allows chefs to reduce their daily food waste, and it gives them a whole new platform to be creative and innovative (in a way they haven’t been before). Chef Taymor at Alma uses a dehydrator from kimchi, which he then grounds into a seasoning he uses for his bar nuts, while others have used dehydrated (and then deep fried) corn silk (and formed) into an edible, crunchy birds nest. Chefs are proving that when it comes to dehydration, the options are endless.

It Reduces Waste and Preserves Flavor

Chefs around the country are well aware of the waste issue—in particular, the 40 percent of food produced that is then wasted— and they’re on board for anything that will drastically reduce and solve this problem. They are using their problem solving, creativity and innovation skills to save tomato skins (and even cherry tomato stems) from being thrown in the trash, and instead dehydrated and turned into tomato salt. Chef Bruce Kalman of the restaurant Union in Pasadena, California treats flavor with seriousness—just like anything else in his restaurant. He wants an in-your-face tomato taste, and since the dehydrator concentrates flavor, making it the perfect tool for delicious meals that exceed his customers’ expectations. For other chefs, it’s not so much about finding a solution to a problem, but a utilization of the food that matters most. For example, chef Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon showed off his culinary creativity with a caprese salad (complete with heirloom tomato skin chips). The skin chips were made dehydrated—and a staple of his popular salad. Rustic Canyon’s signature posole sauce is delicious and practical— with dehydrated cilantro, garlic, jalapeno peppers, salt and vinegar. After it’s dehydrated, it’s ground into a seasoning, which is used on steak. Flavorful and bright, it gives the restaurant a distinct signature dish customers come back to, time and time again. Whether you’re trying tomato chips for the first time, or you’re enjoying the most flavorful salad and steak you’ve ever had, it could be that what you’re really falling in love with is the dehydrator. The good news is, it won’t be going away any time soon— so enjoy every bite. After all, you’re reducing the waste problem while you savor a delicious meal!