Last Updated On June 10th, 2020
If you are passionate about cooking, it’s likely you have seen your favourite TV chef using an induction hob while creating their latest dish. In fact, these electromagnetic cookers are becoming more and more popular in the culinary world, now being used as the standard in some of the world’s renowned restaurants. But how exactly do they work? And more crucially, why do professional chefs use induction hobs over other types of cookers?
In this article, we investigate why chefs are choosing to kit out their kitchens with these new high-tech appliances, and why you should also get it for yourself.
How Do Induction Hobs Work?
An induction hob cooks using heat produced by ‘electrical induction’ instead of ‘flame induction’ – which is seen with gas cookers. Because of this, an induction hob works very differently than a traditional gas cooker.
Also commonly referred to as electromagnetic induction, electrical induction refers to voltage created when a conductor reacts to a magnetic field. Magnets are moved around a copper wire coil, creating a current of electricity within the wire. This electricity then generates the heat energy used in cooking.
Because it creates heat using magnets, you need to use special pots and pans that contain ferromagnetic metal in order to be suitable for use on an induction hob. The most commonly found ferromagnetic metals include stainless steel or cast iron.
Some induction pans and pots may have a ferromagnetic base, even if the body is made from a different material.
What Are The Benefits of Induction Hobs?
You’re probably asking yourself; “Can induction hobs really be more efficient and easy to control than my trusty gas cooker?”
The answer is very simple. It offers a wealth of benefits which can totally transform your cooking for the better.
So, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons chefs switch to induction hobs, and why you should, too:
1. Faster Boiling & Cooking Time
An induction hob is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to speed.
In contrast to their gas and electric cousins, induction hobs create heat from within the pan using electromagnetic energy. Therefore, there is no delay in heat transference, as seen when using a gas flame to heat a saucepan.
In fact, it is so efficient, it can boil a pan of water in half the time taken by a gas hob. This means you can get food on the table much quicker – which is crucial when you are running a busy restaurant.
2. Precise Temperature Controls
Many recipes require accurate temperature control to prevent flavour loss and overcooking. A gas hob may be considered responsive and easy to adjust, but they pale in comparison to an induction hob.
Not only do induction hobs raise or reduce heat energy immediately at the touch of a button but they also have a wide range of very accurate heat settings to choose from. This gives you more control over the exact temperature required in cooking delicate dishes perfectly.
This function is also very useful when trying to keep your main dish warm, without overcooking it.
3. Auto-Sizing Capabilities
Needless to say, professional chefs need to use a wide range of pot and pan sizes for different recipes, often all being used at once. Many of these pans may not be the perfect fit for a gas hob, leading to struggles with an unevenly cooked main dish due to inconsistencies in temperature.
However, this isn’t the case with induction hobs. The vast majority offer an ‘Auto-Sizing’ feature, which enables them to heat up only the area of the hob that your pot or pan is placed upon.
As a result, the entire base of your cooking vessel will be evenly heated; so you won’t need to worry about the effects of overly hot or cold spots.
4. Safer Than Naked Flames
The kitchen is the most common place for burns and fires to occur in the home. Naked flames on a gas cooker pose a serious risk, especially if you are rushing around or have inquisitive children in the house.
Because induction hobs only generate heat within the pan itself, they are much safer than traditional hobs. If you forget to switch it off, you can touch an induction hob without burning yourself, so long as you haven’t removed a hot pan in the last few seconds.
It is clear to see why this is a huge benefit in a busy professional kitchen.
5. Easier To Clean
Compared to gas cookers, induction hobs are also a lot easier to clean should there be any unfortunate spills. Because of the way induction hobs work, the surface doesn’t get very hot, so food doesn’t become seared or burned into the hob on contact.
Spills can be simply wiped up with a cloth, rather than requiring the use of strong cleaning products and lots of physical scrubbing.
6. Longer Lasting Pots & Pans
Not only can an induction hob heat your pans quicker, but it can also extend their life too.
Gas and electric cooktops can create ‘hot-spots’ in your pans over time, leading to weakness and damage. However, with an induction hob, because the heat is spread evenly, your pots and pans will always look like new and last a whole lot longer – saving you money in the long run.
Are There Any Risks or Precautions With Induction Hobs?
Overall, induction hobs are safe and very easy to use, as well as being relatively simple to install. That being said, there is a caveat which relates to possible interference between induction hobs and pacemakers.
All pacemaker users should have been informed if their particular model is vulnerable to electromagnetic energy interferences. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you or someone you know have a pacemaker fitted, a minimum distance of 60cm/2ft away from an induction hob should be kept to avoid any potential issues to occur.
After looking at all of the benefits we’ve gone through above, it’s easy to answer the question “why do professional chefs use induction hobs?”
Compared to gas cookers, an induction hob is better and is a major step forward in cooking technology, allowing you to cook faster, more accurately and safely. Additionally, they are also effortless to clean and can prolong the life of your most-loved cookware making them always looking new.
Therefore, if you like to spend a lot of hours in the kitchen, maybe it’s time to take a tip from the experts and invest in the best induction hob for yourself – so you can create delicious, perfectly cooked food at home like a pro.