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Want to cook like a modernist pro? Five kitchen gadgets to covet

This is part of a series exploring the cultural, technological and social trends that are informing the way we dine and select what we eat. Read the rest in the series here.

You've invested in the carbon steel Japanese hybrid knives, the stainless steel combi-oven and the complete set of All-Clad copper core cookware.

Now it's time to get serious. The latest must-have kitchen accessories for today's most ambitious home cooks have as much to do with the science lab and professional kitchen as they have to do with home cooking. Here's a look at some of our favourite gadgets for the modernist kitchen.

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1) iSi Whip

The tool that launched a thousand foams was traditionally used merely to make instant whipped cream. Chefs soon discovered, however, that the Whip’s combination of nitrous oxide chargers and pressure meant they could create all manner of hot and cold foams, ultra-light tempura batters and carbonated fruit.

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2) PolyScience Smoking Gun

Think of it as a cross between a bong and an AK-47. Load up the chamber with the wood of your choice – apple, hickory, mesquite – and insert the smoking tube directly into whatever you want to take on that distinct, woodsy flavour.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

3) Robot Coupe

It slices, it dices, it minces, it purees, the Robot Coupe was the first and remains the ne plus ultra of food processors. The home version, known as the Magimix, is still handmade in France, comes with 1.3 horsepower and retails for about $700. Here, at right, a chef at the Shoto tasting bar at Toronto’s Momofuku restaurant uses a Robot Coupe, a very coveted piece of equipment.

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4) Sansaire Immersion Circulator

A favourite technique of modernist chefs, sous vide cooking involves encasing ingredients in plastic and then bringing them to temperature in a water bath, often over long periods. To achieve a constant, even temperature, the immersion circulator, a tool taken directly from the science lab, heats and pumps the water around. At about $200 the Sansaire is considered one of the best for home use.

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5) Vitamix

Sporting a whopping two horsepower with blades that spin at a furious 385 km/h and costing upward of $700, the Vitamix truly earns its title as the Ferrari of blenders. Fans of the machine have an almost zealous devotion to it.

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