School Culinary Engineering Project Help

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by parkerdaudt, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. parkerdaudt

    parkerdaudt

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    A partner and I are designing a new product for an Engineering class. The product is designed to stir soups, sauces or stews. The basis behind this is to alllow chefs and home cooks the ability to divert attenion away from liquids that require constant stirring and supervision and focus on working on other tasks at hand. The base would sit on the rim of the pot and drive around the rim of the pot while a paddle would extend into the liquid and provide a stirring motion over the horizontal axis. We would greatly appreciate and feedback that you guys may have on what cooks and chefs would expect a product like this to do.
     
  2. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    186
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Are you aware that there are already two products like this on the market?

    StirChef SAUCEPAN STIRRER HandsFree StoveTop cooking


    TeleBrands RoboStir, Automatic



    Neither of which I think are that great.
     
  3. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,902
    Likes Received:
    468
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    For the home cook, I don't think that this item would be popular.

    However, for a pastry chef, something like that (aka a "fire cooker) would come in handy for caramel--something that needs continious stirring for over 2 hours.

    My ideal unit would be:

    Constructed of glass filled nylon--no extruded or molded plastic. Die cast aluminum oxidizes and is brittle, s/s steel is quite expensive.  Bear in mind this device will be exposed to  high heat and high humidity (99-100%rH) when being used

    Motor:  Don't want one!  I have a kitchen aid mixer that provides me with enough power and then some.  Why not connect a flexible shaft from the kitchen aid mixer's attachment hub to the device?

    Failing that, how about a wind up motor with a heavy fly wheel?  I'm serious. Most electrical appliances have wimpy cheap motors, and we don't want any battery powered devices--they belong in the toy stores.  A wind up motor is dead simple, can provide the torque needed, is silent, and won't crap out due to cheap copper winding the Chinese are so famous for.  It also doesn't need any NSA or UL approval, voltage transformers or switches.

    Stirring paddles:  They will need to be replaced frequently.  Plastic will melt (caramel is cooked to +/-110  celcius). Aluminum will oxidize and stain liquids if it is abraded with another metal.  How about a eco-friendly, biodegradable, easily obtainable, and cheap material?  Wood.  Beech or maple. Face it the stirring paddles will wear out, discolour, absorb odours and stains, and fatigue at the stress points  where they attach to the shaft.  Make the paddles out of wood and make them cheap and easy to replace.

    Above all, remember this:  A hobbyist has the tools s/he wants, a professional has the tools s/he needs.  A pro will pay for a quality device, a hobbyist won't, unless it is heavily advertised and endorsed by TV personalities.

    Good luck with your project
     
  4. dobzre

    dobzre

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
  5. davehriver

    davehriver

    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    foodpump has some great ideas, I would actually recommend silicon paddles as they can stand high heat and conform to the bottom and corner of the pan.
     
  6. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    4,902
    Likes Received:
    468
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    Thermomixers are nothing new.  I've seen them demo'ed in the late 80's in Frankfurt for making hollandaise.  They're great for making ganaches and sauces, but lousy for caramel and fruit butters.

    See, to make a caramel, you need a big pot--once any milk product comes to a boil (including clarifying butter) it will rise up and spill over if the pot isn't big enough.
     
  7. jake t bud

    jake t bud

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    21
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Seems like Nicko posted products that already exist. Look around the internet, amazon etc, and read the reviews. Seems like the problem to solve is design a better one. One that withstands the heat, is adjustable enough to handle a variety of pots/ pans, doesn't stain or melt, doesn't weigh a ton, doesn't take up a huge amount of drawer or counter space, is stable in the pot/ pan, and doesn't break the bank. From a commercial standpoint, it would need to be a workhorse; be durable over the long haul.

    I would also agree that it should be able to use existing paddles in ones kitchen, and maybe one that specifically reaches into the corners of the pan, like flexible silicone. It would also be neat, considering what foodpump says about needing/ using it for caramel, for it to have a thermometer.  Also, my small cordless drill's motor does pretty well going through wood at slow speed. I'm sure it would have plenty of torque to stir.