Expert Interview Series: Lyndi Fultz Of NWA Foodie About Gadgets that Foodies Can't Live Without

The gourmet scene has exploded with the rise of foodie culture. More people care about good food than ever before and are willing to pay top dollar for high-quality cookware and ingredients. More and more high-end cookware companies are...

Gadgets for foodies

The gourmet scene has exploded with the rise of foodie culture. More people care about good food than ever before and are willing to pay top dollar for high-quality cookware and ingredients.

More and more high-end cookware companies are emerging every day to take advantage of the growing industry. There's been a torrent of gadgets for foodies released in the past few years, from high-tech digital tools to upscale versions of classic kitchenware.

We talked to Lyndi Fultz of the nwa foodie blog to find out about gadgets that foodies can't live without.

There have been a lot of developments with coffee makers in the last few years. Are there any coffee gadgets that people need to know about?

It seems like the world of coffee connoisseurs has exploded recently, hasn't it? For instance, when I step into my favorite local coffee shop, Onyx, it looks like a coffee lab. In fact, they even call them coffee labs!

One of the biggest breakthroughs in coffee gadgets in the last few years has to be the Keurig. I'm just not a fan. Give me a percolator, a French press, and stove top espresso pot and I am good to go. For those who are purists like me, you can't go wrong with a Chemex pour-over. For my coffee beans, I use the Hario burr grinder. It doesn't get much better than simple design and great quality.

You wrote a post about a Masterbuilt Smoker a few years ago. How did you like it? What kind of foodie is most likely to need a smoker in their life?

Foodies will figure out a way to smoke their meats, whether or not they have space or money for an electric or non-electric smoker. You can go with the mack-daddy electric smoker, which is equipped with a built-in thermometer and is programmable, or you can go with something as simple as a hand-made tinfoil bag with wet wood chips on a grill. Either way does the trick. I've got my eye on a small stove-top stainless steel smoker that you can use inside. It's perfect for cold winter nights!

iDevices has announced the iGrill thermometer, which is a meat thermometer which works with a smartphone app. Have you seen any other digital tools for foodies that are noteworthy?

My favorite digital gadget is the thermapen. It literally gives you a digital internal temperature read-out in seconds and it is super easy to use, clean, and store. A trifecta!

The Chadwick Oven is a high-tech reimagining of the classic pizza dish. What are some other time-honored kitchen items that have been redesigned in surprising and innovative ways?

I've heard about the Chadwick Oven; it sounds intriguing. In fact, it is a lot like the stove-top smoker I mentioned earlier. It cooks on the stove in a stainless steel dome-like container and delivers piping hot pizza.

Another kitchen item that intrigues me is the Phillips Air Fryer. I don't fry foods because of the mess and the high heat effect on oils. The Phillips Air Fryer seems like it's too good to be true. But so far, the reviews are good and it may be my next major purchase.

Williams-Sonoma released a Himalayan Salt BBQ plank last year. What are some other global cooking implements no foodie should go without?

I think that Mediterranean clay pot cooking cannot be beat. It's perfect for one-pot meals that mimic slow cookers. Clay pot cooking is used in many cultures, including Asian, African, Moroccan, South American, and Spanish, to name a few. The crossover to traditional American cuisines makes it a perfect kitchen complement for chilies, stews, slow-roasted chicken and roasts.

Are there any kitchen tools that you prefer in their classic configurations and are perfect the way they are?

Sometimes I wonder: if I had to live in a tiny house or apartment with limited space, which kitchen tools would I take with me that are most versatile and wouldn't overlap their usefulness? I would have to pick a stainless steel All Clad 12" skillet frying pan. It works on both the stovetop and in the oven. It doesn't need anything added to it. My Nogent offset stainless steel spatula cannot be beat, as its flexibility is perfect for scrambling eggs, lifting baked goods, or sautéing. Stainless steel will always be a classic for me; I try to buy the best quality possible so that it will last a lifetime.

How can a foodie decide between going with traditional, high-quality cookware versus updated technological versions?

I believe the answer lies in someone's personality. For instance, I really want to buy high quality cookware that has a history to it. I like a good story and supporting a piece that has had years of craftsmanship behind it. It's tried and true. If someone comes up with an improvement that far exceeds the traditional way, I am curious.

My instinct will always go with the traditional, high-quality cookware. Every once in a while, something will surprise me. If you're in it for the long run, stick with the classics. If you like to be on the cutting edge and can afford trying the latest new "it" gadget, go for it.

What are some surprisingly simple gadgets foodies can't live without, and what makes them so essential?

If you want to make the creamiest mashed potatoes, a ricer will be your best friend. The Nutribullet is another gadget that won't cost you an arm or leg and is super-easy to use. And when something is super-easy to use, you will find yourself using it more often. That means the cost of usage makes it even more affordable.

Lastly, one of my favorite gadgets is the Chef'n StemGem strawberry huller. I laughed when I saw my sister-in-law use it but she got the last laugh when I used it and got hooked. It's perfect for grabbing the strawberry stem as well as tomato stems. It's quick and easy, and cleanup is a snap!

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