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John Duffy

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UPDATE: Tapioca Maltodextrin- Dust Never Sleeps

Posted by John Duffy on May 27, 2021 9:08:38 AM

    Have  you ever known the pleasure of licking the powdery residue of puffed cheese snacks (think "cheese that goes CRUNCH") from your fingertips? Then you are acquainted with the delicious results of combining a fat with a very fine starch.  Snack makers use this technique to add flavor to the exterior of an otherwise plainly flavored textural vehicle.  Imagine a Doritos chip.  The chip itself tastes like ground dried corn, with a little salt.  The flavor of cheese, spices, ranch dressing, or any number of exotic combinations, is imparted by the powdery dust applied to the exterior of the chip.

    From a manufacturer’s point of view, this technique simply enhances production.  They can make one basic chip, and flavor it many ways, simply by using a different flavored powder.  And the powder is easier to apply, and requires less clean up, than making the chip itself in a variety of flavors.

Cuisine Tech Tapioca Maltodextrin recipe

    How many varieties?  Doritos can be found in Nacho Cheese, Chile Limon, Nacho Pisco, Enchilada Supreme, Ranch Dipped Hot Wings, Spicy Chipotle BBQ, Cool Ranch, Salsa Verde, Spicy Sweet Chili, or Taco (the original Dorito).  Lay’s Potato Chips can be found in Barbecue, Cheddar and Sour Cream, BLT, Dill Pickle, Garden Tomato, Honey Barbecue, Limon, Salt and Vinegar, Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue, Tangy Carolina BBQ, Sour Cream and Onion, Southwestern Ranch, Jalapeno, Maui Onion, Mesquite BBQ, Au Gratin, and Pizza flavors.

    The basic formula is:
Chip + Dust + Imagination = Crunch + Flavor + Hugely Popular Food Item

    How do they make that magical flavored dust?  It’s simple.  Any dried ingredient, like chili peppers or herbs, can be pulverized to extreme fineness.  Powdered cheeses and dehydrated dairy products (sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese) can be added.  But the truly delicious flavors come from fats.  And to make a fat into a powder, you need to add a starch.

    What would be the ideal properties for this starch be?

  • neutral flavor, so you would taste the fat, not the starch
  •  low sweetness
  • dissolve easily, for the best flavor release
  • not absorb moisture, so it won’t clump
  • have tiny granules and dissolve easily for great mouthfeel

    Tapioca maltodextrin has all of these properties, which makes it an ideal choice to turn your favorite fat into a smooth, tasty, free-flowing powder.  And it’s so easy to use that it requires almost no skill to produce a great result.

    Just select a flavorful fat base.  It could be anything- olive oil, Nutella, peanut butter, or white chocolate.  Or rendered fat from chorizo, foie gras, lardo de Iberico, or roasted chicken.  Place that fat into a food processor, turn it on, and add tapioca maltodextrin until you reach the desired texture of powder.  Add a little and have a fattier, heavier powder, or add more until the powder is very light.  The amount you add determines the final result.

    How does it work?  Tapioca maltodextrin is a polysaccharide.  When mixed with the fat, the molecules slide between the tiny fat droplets formed by agitation (the food processor).  The fat gets so thick that the droplets can no longer move.  And the molecules form a three dimensional matrix arounfd the fat droplets.  That prevents the fat from recombining into larger globules, so the emulsion of fat and starch remains stable.

    Once prepared, your flavored powder has limitless applications. From sprinkles to splashes to spoonfuls, on the plate, dusted on or over, it’s up to you!

Topics: Cuisine-Tech

Ten Keys for Great Ice Cream Cakes

Posted by John Duffy on Sep 24, 2013 8:24:00 PM

I asked Jean Francois Devineau, chef technician for Ravifruit, for his best suggestions to create great ice cream cakes.  In the U.S., ice cream cakes have tremendous popularity in the mass market.  We have all enjoyed Fudgie the Whale or Cookie Puss from Carvel's at a child's birthday party on a hot day.  And the combination of ice cream, cake, and textural elements is very enjoyable.  But with each forkful, you wish the quality of the elements was better. 

Fudgie The Whale

 Beloved, but he could be so much better!

In France, frozen cakes are very popular, and run the full spectrum of quality, from low cost cakes at they hypermarket to elegant luxuries at the top patisseries and glaceries.  The big advantage for the chef is their stability.  When properly made and conserved, frozen cakes last for months with no loss of quality.  So they can be made during periods of slow business, and are always ready to sell and to please your guests.


Here's what Jean Francois shared..


Organize your recipes

JF recommends that chefs produce the same ice cream cake in several different sizes.  This way, you can accomodate guest requests for 2, 4, 6, or 8 people.  To produce these different sizes efficiently, you need to scale the recipe for each size mold.  It takes some work the first time, but after that, you'll always produce the proper amount of mis en place that your production requires.


Stainless steel domes of various sizes are best.  They give the chef a lot of flexibility.  Stainless steel conducts temperature well, and will release the frozen product easily.  And nested domes of different sizes create a nice profile when the cake is cut.


Biscuit should be prepared well in advance.  JF prefers crispy meringues and sable.  Add 5% almond flour to the meringue to reduce the sweetness.  Other options exist, just make sure that they are not too hard when frozen.


Team Japan 2013

Team Japan, Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie 2013

Frozen Components

The most interesting cakes will have a variety of frozen fillings: ice cream, sorbet, parfait, coulis.  Crunchy textural elements are best included in a parfait layer.

Proper Storage

The best results occur when freezing happens as quickly as possible.  Have your components and molds well chilled or frozen prior to assembly.  Blast freezers at -30 degrees Celsius are ideal.  Protect the cakes from exposure to air to prevent freezer burn.

Team FranceTeam France, Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie 2013


Cold water works best for stainless steel domes.  Use propane torches for ring molds.  Use as little heat as possible, and turn out carefully by hand.


Glazes are highly recommended.  They protect the cake and give a lustrous, gleaming shine.  Make sure the glaze is thin!  The cakes should be frozen when glazing, but should be at -18 degrees Celsius, not directly from a blast freezer (they'll be too cold).

The glaze should be at 20 degrees Celsius.  TIP:  To glaze a dome shaped cake perfectly, place a small ring mold on top of the cake (cake on rack over sheet pan).  Fill the ring with glaze, then remove the ring.  The glaze will flow smoothly and evenly over the cake. 

Team USA

Team USA, Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie 2013


Should be light and simple.  Chocolate decorations, caramelized nuts, and candied fruits are a few favorites.


Proper serving temperature is -9 to -13 degrees Celsius.  A frozen cake removed from a freezer at -18 degrees Celcius and placed in a refrigerator will be ready to serve in one hour.

Frozen cakes should be plated without additional garnish.

His Favorite

The summertime classic: a vacherin featuring strawberry and raspberry with meringue.

Frozen Cake Display


Topics: Ravifruit, Techniques, Coupe du Monde

Rainbow Room to Re-open in 2014

Posted by John Duffy on Sep 18, 2013 9:19:00 AM

Landmark New York restaurant atop Rockefeller Plaza returning to action

Rainbow Room NYC

The Rainbow Room has been closed since 2009, leaving a void in the New York restaurant scene.  The amazing view, preserved architecture and design, and live music have been sorely missed.  More details.  [Eater]


Topics: Restaurant News

It's Ramen Week 2013

Posted by John Duffy on Sep 17, 2013 2:16:00 PM

One of our favorite weeks... right up there with Shark Week and Bette Davis Week on the old WABC 4:30 Movie. 

crispy pork ramen


Serious Eats has compiled a great guide to the beloved noodle dish, The Serious Eats Guide to Ramen Styles.  Whether you break it down by broth, seasoning, noodle, toppings or geographic origin, it's a fine bowl of steaming goodness.[Serious Eats]

Attack of the 210 foot Sugar Ribbon

Posted by John Duffy on Sep 13, 2013 8:25:00 AM

Give Gilles Renusson enough sugar and assistants and he'll build the sugar equator!

Watch this fun video and see what happens at Grand Rapids Connumity College when Gilles decides to see how long a ribbon they can pull.  This might be the culinary video equivalent of the Harlem Shake.


Topics: Videos

World Pastry Cup Photo Album Available

Posted by John Duffy on Sep 11, 2013 3:20:00 PM

Official Partner of The Coupe du Monde Offers Free Photo Collection


Ravifruit, an official partner of the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, has assembled a beautiful souvenir album featuring full color photos of the 2013 edition.  The Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, also called the Pastry World Cup, is held biannually at SIRHA, a top trade show held in Lyon, France.  The Coupe du Monde is the premier professional pastry competition in the world. 

Album CMP 2013 V5 Cover

This full color album is the next best thing to attending the competition.  Get a close up view of everything that takes place in those two pressure packed days.  The teams, the competitors, the celebrities, the crazy fans- they're all here.  Everything except the taste of their incredible pastry creations.


Team USA missed the podium by only 39 points, less than 1% behind third place finisher Team Italy.  See all of the chocolate showpieces, ice sculptures, sugar centerpieces, and entremets that were submitted to the most demanding judging panel ever assembled.  You'll enjoy the images, and be inspired for the next edition in January 2015.  Perhaps you'll be there!


Click Here To Get Your Album


Topics: U.S. Pastry Competition, Ravifruit

The Big BOOM: The Birth of the Cereal Revolution

Posted by John Duffy on Aug 14, 2013 1:22:00 PM

Dave Arnold, founder of the Museum of Food and Drink in New York City, discusses the evolution of puffed grains, and demonstrates the museum's first exhibit, a puffed cereal gun.


Topics: Cuisine-Tech

2014 U.S. Pastry Competition Entry Form Now Available

Posted by John Duffy on Jun 22, 2013 10:44:00 AM
2014 USPC Save Date resized 600

Save the date and be sure to join us for the competition in 2014.

USPC 2013 Showpiece Winners resized 600

Topics: U.S. Pastry Competition

From Malaysian Ais Kacang to Louisiana Sno-Balls, a Global Primer on Locally Shaved Ice

Posted by John Duffy on May 28, 2013 3:36:00 PM

Grub Street has a great article on the ever popular treat for hot weather, shaved ice.  If this guy was ever the object of your desire you will enjoy this article.


frosty 1

New Video Series Highlights Cuisine-Tech Applications

Posted by John Duffy on May 1, 2013 4:58:00 PM

    “I love the products, and I think it’s so cool, all the new things chefs are doing, but I need somebody to show me how to do it.”  

    Since the inception of the Cuisine-Tech line over five years ago, chefs have asked us to help them learn how to execute the great new techniques that their fellow culinarians have developed all over the world.  The product selection grew, new products were added, and we have responded to your requests by creating videos that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

    The format of the Cuisine-Tech video series is simple and straightforward:  one video, one ingredient, one technique.  Give us two minutes, and you’ll learn something new.  These HD videos were created by Shirley Hall, marketing director of Paris Gourmet, and were produced by Ashton Evetts.  They feature chef Vincent Jaoura who shares techniques and recipes that you’ll enjoy.

    Our goal is to inspire and support the creativity of the chefs that we serve every day.  The Cuisine-Tech line is chef driven, guided by your requests and suggestions, and built with professional chefs in mind.  We have cultivated this line to satisfy the demands of chefs, and now we offer these video demonstrations that show the tricks and techniques that make modern cuisine easy to execute successfuly.

Green Apple and Crab Salad Cuisine-Tech Agar Agar

    Agar-agar is featured in the first Cuisine-Tech video release.  Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. Sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables are then added and the liquid is poured into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer in a cake.
    Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as an intestinal regulator. Its bulk quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the kanten (the Japanese word for agar-agar) diet. Once ingested, kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumers feeling more full. This diet has recently received some press coverage in the United States as well. The diet has shown promise in obesity studies.
    One use of agar in Japanese cuisine is anmitsu, a dessert made of small cubes of agar jelly and served in a bowl with various fruits or other ingredients. It is also the main ingredient in mizuyokan, another popular Japanese food.

    In Philippine cuisine, it is used to make the jelly bars in the various gulaman refreshments or desserts such as sago gulaman, buko pandan, agar flan, halo-halo, and the black and red gulaman used in various fruit salads.
    In Vietnamese cuisine, jellies made of flavored layers of agar agar, called th?ch, are a popular dessert, and are often made in ornate molds for special occasions. In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as "China grass" and is used for making desserts. In Burmese cuisine, a sweet jelly known as kyauk kyaw is made from agar.
    In Russia, it is used in addition or as a replacement to pectin in jams and marmalades, as a substitute to gelatin for its superior gelling properties, and as a strengthening ingredient in souffles and custards. Another use of agar-agar is in ptich'ye moloko (bird's milk), a rich gellied custard (or soft meringue) used as a cake filling or chocolate-glazed as individual sweets. Agar-agar may also be used as the gelling agent in gel clarification, a culinary technique used to clarify stocks, sauces, and other liquids.

Topics: Cuisine-Tech

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