Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



How do you know if the pan is hot enough if you only have a non stick teflon pan? is there another way to do the water test?

— Sol Milde


Okay. So this is a question that I get from time to time from our students. And you know, the first thing I'm going to say is that when heating the pan for sauteing? Uh our video lessons show stainless steel pants. Okay. And so all of the that detailed discussion will pertain specifically to stainless steel pans. And so if you're using something else, it doesn't matter what it is, whether it's Teflon coated or a copper pan or something else. Your experience will be a little bit different. Okay, and this is where some trial and error let's call it testing on your part will be necessary. Okay to figure out what will work best not only with the pan that you have but also with the cooking technology that you're using whether it's a gas range or an electric range or something else and then also the individual power of the burners, right the BTUs that that they're putting out will make a difference and so, you know, Each burner usually on your stovetop is different and your stovetop may be different from my stovetop. And so there could be a lot of variation we're talking about here. So you need to do some testing for your specific situation. Okay, and so, you know, the the other thing that I'll mention here is that if you're using a pan that's coated whether it's Teflon or some other type of coating The General Guideline here is is to be careful not to. To heat the pan too high because heat will damage that surface and the the immediate concern can be off-gassing depending on what sort of Technology you're using and then the other concern is that it'll start to damage, you know, high heat will start to damage any coating over a period of time and it may not happen immediately may not happen, you know, very soon at all in terms of trying to recognize it but given some time it will wear out that heating and cooling cycle is is a tough one on the cookware when it has a coating. So what you need to do. is start to heat the pan up and don't worry about the the Mercury ball because that doesn't apply okay, instead start to feel the heat with the palms of your hands maybe with your arms. Right as you're cooking and then also put your face over the pan and feel the heat in these sensitive areas and get some food in the pan and see how the food acts and reacts in that environment. Okay, your goal is to impart color and to develop flavor through the caramelization process. And if you're working for example at a lower temperature point because you're working with a coated pan, then we need to consider a couple of things one might be to put less food in the pan. Okay, so that that smaller amount of food can start to absorb the relatively greater heat from the pan itself and then Uh, you know also give it a longer cooking time to impart the colors if to change the surface of the food. Okay. And again, this is going to be testing on your part but stay away from smoke points. And if you're using coated pans and pay really close attention visually as to what the food is doing also listen to your food it will talk to you and then the big one is going to be to feel the heat intensity to get an idea of just how hot that pan is the whole idea of this, you know, the so-called Mercury ball tests or otherwise gauging the heat of the pan in this manner is to start to cook in this more sort of engaged and organic fashion in other words. Words, don't worry about using a thermometer to gauge how hot the pan is that's not the point here is to get you more smoothly and and, you know more easily cooking, but it does take that extra effort of Engagement and the testing that goes along with it. Thank you.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction