Induction stoves have had many takers since they emerged as alternatives to gas and electric stovetops. It’s not surprising since they enable quick-cooking and minimum cleaning. However, you may wonder how induction stoves fare in professional cooking. So, do chefs prefer gas or induction stoves?
Most chefs prefer gas stoves as they have more experience using them and can gauge the temperature by merely looking at the flame. However, many chefs have started using induction hobs. Induction cooktops are becoming popular as they are energy-efficient, easy to clean, and heat and cool rapidly.
Let’s talk about this in more detail now.
Gas Vs. Induction Cooktops: Understanding The Primary Differences
Cooktops have evolved drastically over the last century.
From hearths, open fires, and wood stoves, we have come a long way to using modern gas stoves, electric stoves, and the more recent induction stoves.
Interestingly, most traditional cooktops continue to be used today, even if it’s in a limited manner.
The gas stove was first used in the early 19th century, and it revolutionized the world of cooking.
Although electric stoves and induction stoves later appeared on the scene, they haven’t replaced gas stoves.
Even today, many home cooks and professional chefs consider gas stoves an integral part of their kitchen.
Gas stoves use an open flame for cooking. You can instantly control the heat by increasing or decreasing the flame.
Another big advantage of gas stoves is that almost any type of pot or pan is suitable for a gas stove.
It’s a versatile cooking surface that you can use for boiling, steaming, simmering, grilling, or searing food.
Nonetheless, gas stoves have a few disadvantages. Cooking with an open flame is not the most energy-efficient option.
A lot of heat is lost to the surroundings.
Additionally, gas stoves heat all the surfaces of pots and pans.
This makes all the metallic surfaces, including handles and rims, hot.
The open flame of a gas stove is also dangerous.
Your clothes, kitchen cloth, or other flammable substances can catch fire if you get too close.
So, you should be alert and closely monitor the flame during use.
Induction cooking alleviates many of these problems. It makes cooking faster and cleaning easier.
So, how do induction cooktops work? Let’s find out.
Recommended Further Reading:
How Do Induction Cooktops Work?
Induction cooktops work on the principle of magnetic induction.
To understand what this means, let’s briefly visit the relevant technical details.
Induction cooktops have a copper coil through which electric current passes and produces a magnetic field.
This magnetic field is responsible for the heat that is used for cooking.
However, it doesn’t heat all materials. The magnetic field can only generate heat in ferromagnetic materials.
So, when you switch on the induction hob, electricity passes through the coil and generates a magnetic field.
This magnetic field induces a current in ferromagnetic materials like cast iron or stainless steel, which heats the ions in the food.
Thus, the food gets cooked without an open flame.
A big difference between induction and gas cooking is that induction hobs don’t heat the surfaces of the pan.
They directly heat the contents without affecting the surfaces that you touch.
So, the handle, lid, and base remain cool, and you can handle cookware with bare hands.
Main Benefits Of Induction Hobs Over Gas Hobs
We just saw that you can touch pots and pans on an induction hob with your hands.
This stovetop doesn’t heat the surface of the cookware. It cooks food by activating the ions in the food.
Another advantage of induction hobs is that they heat faster than gas stoves.
When you power up an induction hob, the temperature increases almost instantly.
Water boils on an induction burner in half the time it needs on a gas stove.
Induction burners also offer more precise heating. They can hold the same temperature for a long duration.
Gas stoves are not as good at maintaining low temperatures for a significant amount of time.
Despite the high temperatures that induction hobs achieve, they don’t affect the ambient temperature of the surroundings.
There is no heat dissipation to the surroundings, and it’s energy-efficient.
Finally, cleaning up induction burners is easy.
Splatters are less likely on these stovetops because of their predictable operation and precision.
These hobs also don’t have many grooves or dents into which oil or food can accumulate.
Finally, induction stoves don’t need any ventilation or piping like gas stoves.
Their sleek and streamlined finish also adds to their aesthetic appeal.
When Is It Better To Use Gas Stoves Than Induction Cooktops?
Induction cooking is entirely different from gas cooking.
So, anyone who is used to cooking on gas can take some time to master induction cooking.
Nonetheless, it’s not too complicated.
You can do most things that you would do on a gas stove using an induction cooktop.
However, the absence of an open flame means that you may not be able to use it for charring or smoking ingredients like eggplants and tomatoes.
Induction cooking also requires a specific type of cookware. You must use ferromagnetic cookware to use this hob.
So, you would have to use cast iron, stainless steel, and other ferromagnetic cookware on an induction hob.
However, any type of cookware ranging from clay pots and steel pans to cast iron and non-stick work on gas stoves.
Another factor to consider is that the cooking surface of an induction cooktop is delicate.
So you should be careful about dragging cookware on the surface, whereas this is not an issue on a gas stove.
Interesting Further Reading:
Do Professional Chefs Use Induction?
Despite the emergence of newer technologies like induction cooktops, many chefs continue to prefer gas stoves in their restaurants.
However, many professional chefs have also whole-heartedly welcomed induction hobs into their kitchens.
Although there is a learning curve involved in using induction cooktops for all their needs, most chefs master it in no time.
Many chefs strike a balance by having both gas-powered and induction cooktops in their kitchens.
However, a few have entirely eliminated gas hobs from their kitchens and switched over to induction technology for good.
Michelin chefs like James Ramsden vouch for induction cooktops over gas-powered kitchens.
Some chefs like Neil Perry have even launched their very own brand of induction cooktops.
Award-winning chefs and restaurateurs like Ming Sai and Fabio Viviani also prefer induction cooking over traditional gas-powered cooking methods.
For professional chefs, the main attraction of induction cooking is the speed and efficiency of operation.
The speed at which induction hobs operate proves valuable in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen, where every minute matters.
The precise temperature control it offers also makes it a valuable tool to prepare sauces and confectionery.
It eliminates the need for fancy equipment that you would need to constantly monitor the progress when preparing the same dishes on a gas stove.
These stoves instantly adjust to a set temperature, and there’s no waiting time involved.
Another feature that makes induction hobs suitable for professional kitchens is that they have different cooking zones that can work as single and separate units.
You can combine the areas to create a single working surface for oversize cookware.
This is not so easy when it’s a gas stove.
By improving the cooking efficiency, chefs can cut down on service time and can achieve more in less time.
Having an induction-based kitchen also saves them clean-up time.
Induction burners also solve the problem of venting and piping in new settings.
When setting up a gas-powered kitchen, venting and installation need a lot of planning.
However, this doesn’t apply to an induction-powered kitchen.
The hobs run on a regular power supply and are easy to install and operate.
So, many chefs are switching to induction-powered kitchens in their new ventures.