After nearly a year of buildup, the first sub-$4,000 home centrifuge, designed by the team who brought you the Searzall, is shipping this week. The new Spinzall is landing on doorsteps of early backers, and
food drink science nerds are freaking out. This kitchen centrifuge from the legendary Dave Arnold promises to bring molecular techniques to more bars and homes. I got my hands on one and took it for a spin.
What is a Spinzall?
A centrifuge. To be exact, the Spinzall is the only small, “pro-sumer” level culinary centrifuge on the market. It’s a far cry from larger, industrial lab equipment, but it is no toy, like previous attempts to bring this tech to the amateur enthusiast. Spinzalls boast a respectable 480ml yield, and weigh less than 20 pounds. You may know its inventor Dave Arnold from his frequent food writing. Or Booker & Dax, his cocktail bar and food lab originally located behind Momofuko Saåm Bar in NYC. Or his Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD). Or his invention the Searzall, which brought restaurant-grade finishing for sous vide dishes to the masses.
Why do I need a centrifuge in my bar/kitchen?
Define “need.” First, they’re pretty freakin’ cool. Don’t you want to spin something at hundreds of times the force of gravity and neatly separate its component parts?
OK but seriously, what would I do with this thing?
Basically, the Spinzall allows you to separate a liquid or purée into separate parts, by density. Generally, a spun liquid will separate into a “puck” of solids at the bottom, a clarified liquid in the middle, and fats at the top. So, you can make professional grade flavored oils, infuse spirits with fruit, clarify juices, and separate fats.
The Spinzall arrives pretty much pre-assembled. Once you wash the device and put it back together you’re ready to spin. The machine has two settings: “Batch” and “Continuous.” “Batch” is good for one run of 480ml or less. “Continuous” utilizes a pump feed that will run whatever you’re clarifying through the rotor and then out a spout on the other side allowing you to juice . . . continuously. The controls are simple like good commercial grade equipment, comprised of a few switches, two knobs to regulate pumping speed on continuous mode, and a one hour timer.
Taking it for a Spin:
For my first experiment, I chose a package of frozen blueberries as my test subject. First, I blended them in a Vitamix for about one minute on a low, and then another 30 seconds with the dial cranked up to 10. Then, I loaded up a silver flying saucer looking container with the juice and put the pod into the Spinzall’s food processor-esque top. The Spinzall instruction booklet then recommended 5-10 minutes for different fruit purees, and I went with the high estimate. When the Spinzall kicked on, it was surprisingly quiet, not nearly as loud as the Vitamix. After 10 minutes, the timer dinged and and the centrifuge automatically started to slow down. I was left with juice on top and blue paste stuck to the sides.
I ran the juice through a coffee filter just to get rid of any lingering bits. Then, I used it to make a blueberry soda (recipe here), and the reults were great! The drink had a wonderfully tight carbonation and I was able to put it together in about an hour. As for the paste, I gave that the spoon test, and it was delicious. I bet you could make some amazing custards or tapenades with the Spinzall.
I don’t think there’s been a product like the Spinzall since the introduction of the Vitamix.
There aren’t many people in the culinary world that I blindly trust, but Dave Arnold consistently delivers excellent contributions in research, and now excellent products. His Spinzall is positioned to deliver a paradigm shift. Previously, there were only a handful of bars with a centrifuge given that they previously cost around $10K. Overnight, we now have hundreds of people all with access to centrifuges. It’ll probably be clumsy at first– imagine a lot of people making clarified Harvey Wallbangers and Mojitos. However, I’m sure more and more refined uses of the Spinzall will surface over time. In less than a few years, I believe we’ll really understand the impact of having such an affordable tool suddenly at the disposal of so many imaginative people in the kitchen and behind the bar.
How much does it cost?
The centrifuge is Arnold’s followup to the Searzall, and is much more sophisticated, and therefore expensive product. The Spinzall was offered for pre-sale beginning on Modernist Pantry in November 2016. Customers were rewarded for the long wait with an introductory $699 price tag. Now that the gadgets are shipping, the item retails at MSRP, $1000 (although MP is currently offering a $200 instant discount.)
For a restaurant, the price should be an easy pill to swallow. From an ROI perspective, it just makes sense, and allows early adopters to create and modify menu offerings in meaningful ways. As far as versatility between bar and kitchen is concerned, I don’t think there’s been a product like the Spinzall since the Vitamix.
Nick Detrich is a founder and partner at New Orleans’ Cane & Table as well as a F&B consultant. In his his spare time, he enjoys jet skis, comic books, and evil.