Torching Foods

The idea of torching foods developed in the 1980’s once chefs discovered the idea of taking a short cut by using a torch to caramelize the sugar top of a creme brulee. The torch can work well for caramelizing foods but after all, there are other ways to caramelize avoiding the gasses from a torch.

Most torches used for cooking are fueled by propane or butane and other fuels like MAPP gas that typically burn hotter and faster. The best flame is a MAPP, the oxidizing flame, it burns darkish blue, its short in length and it hisses at over 1,500 °C.

Frequently, people have too large of a flame, un-combusted hydrocarbons from the fuel which end up in the food. These impart an unpleasant taste and it can happen with any torch that hasn’’t been properly adjusted before aiming it at the food.

The long and short, a torch should not be used to heat up foods, nor used to scorch a food leaving behind black char – not a good sign or taste. A torch is difficult to use correctly, and is a useful tool used in specific cases. It reacts well with certain foods, but should not become a table-top-tool, a crutch for a young chef who has more to learn about time and temperature when it comes to getting it right in the kitchen.