Capital favorite Equinox, a restaurant dedicated to sophisticated, "pure American cuisine," is only in its seventh year of business. However, it has already received numerous awards, including a 2006 Award of Excellence from Distingished Restaurants of North America and a citation from the Zagat Survey as one of the Top 30 Restaurants in Washington, D.C. For five years in a row, Chef Todd Gray has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef - Mid Atlantic.
To sustain such high-level performance, Chef Gray and his wife and co-owner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, maintain exacting standards of creativity, quality and efficiency. Seeking to increase their efficiency further, the Grays recently purchased a Multivac C100 vacuum chamber machine for their business. In the process, Equinox became one of a growing number of upscale restaurants giving their chefs a powerful new tool for food preparation and innovation.
"The Multivac is the most economical piece of equipment we have in the kitchen," says Ellen Gray. "We use it for so many purposes it's hard to imagine how a professional kitchen could function without it. The machine is simple to use and a great investment."
The kitchen staff at Equinox uses the Multivac for sealing fresh portions of meat, vegetables, nuts and garnishes for easy stacking and efficient storage in the refrigerator. Chef Gray uses the machine to hermetically seal food portions for sous vide cooking. Many chefs also use vacuum chamber systems to quickly infuse marinades into meat and seafood, saving up to a day of advanced preparation.
"In an extremely competitive field like the restaurant business, owners and chefs are finding a lot of advantages with this technology," says Bill Williams, Multivac's Product Manager for Compact Systems. "For an elite establishment like Equinox, a chamber system functions as a creative tool for the chef while at the same time reducing waste and inefficiency in daily food preparation."