Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tips and Tricks for the "Kitchen Compressor Hack"

I am very excited that so many chefs and restaurants have contacted me about our air compressor!   This is going to be a blog post to share tips and tricks as well as to answer questions.  I will also post some really bad videos below (forgive me- I'm a chef not a cinematographer)  with some actual examples of how the system works.    Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or feedback.  Thanks!

1.  The objective of all of this is to avoid using the spray handle either completely or as much as possible.

2.  The compressed air works great on removing things like:   salad, sandwich scraps, leaves, sauce covered ramekins, fruit pieces- really any semi-solid food and some gels like ketchup.

3.  For really greasy or tacky foods (chocolate, egg yolk, honey, risotto), or foods that have dried onto the plate, you still need to use a soapy brush or give the plate a quick dip in a bus-tub filled with soapy water. 

4.  You can avoid having solid foods going down the drain by collecting them in a mesh colander or other strainer.  Most of these foods can be added to your compost or thrown away.

5. Use an air gun that allows the handle to be slowly pulled to steadily increase air volume- rather than go directly to max psi.  When clearing a ramekin or bowl you want to point the bowl in the direction of the collection container.  If you aim the compressed air into the middle of a bowl or ramekin while looking into it and spray into the center you might end up with egg on your face!

6. You need to understand what your dish machine will take care of.  This will depend on what kind of machine it is.  Most of the time a little bit of grease or other residue will come off in the washing cycle.

7.  Like anything new- this takes some time to get used to.  We are fortunate that our staff is very aware of the current drought and are happy to help us learn and figure out the new system.  Once we eliminated the use of our spray nozzle the dish team quickly adapted.  Overall the learning curve was quick. 

8.  Regarding noise-  I think the compressor motor is less loud than the actual full blast of compressed air.  It is certainly far less loud than our juicer or vitamix- but far from a Zen monastery.

Trying to illustrate how loud the system is... with minimal luck
You still have to use a container of soapy water sometimes:
White Sauce on a white plate- probably a bad demo choice...
Works really well on irregular surfaces and mesh..
How not to cover yourself in egg or ketchup...


  1. Hi John,
    Thanks for your email reply this morning.
    So . . . I know you have a controllable nozzle, but what air pressure are you running at the compressor ?

    Also, is your dishwashing area anywhere's near where diner's could hear anything ? I can hide the compressor, but in our situation, I'm a little concerned that they would hear the little blasts from the nozzle.

    Thanks !

  2. Hi Kent- Thanks for the questions. Our compressor runs at around 120psi. The air blasts are certainly the loudest part. They can't be heard in our dining room (we do have an open kitchen) but I think it completely depends on your restaurant layout. Thanks

  3. Hi John, Zach Davis here from Assembly Restaurant in Santa Cruz. Really looking forward to trying out a kitchen compressor. If you don't mind, what size is your compressor tank and have you run into any issues maintaining sufficient pressure during heavy use? Cheers!

    1. Hi Zach- Thanks for your interest and sorry for the delayed response! Here is a link to the compressor I use at Sierra Mar:

      It's one of the quietest motors around - but the sound of the compressed air is still louder than water... working on ways to suppress it- but for now it hasn't been a huge issue for us.

      Thanks and Good Luck!

    2. That compressor just came up on sale I see . . . $159.

      I hope this doesn't come across as spam - I posted above actually. It's just a sale site I sometimes check and remembered John's blog post here.

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  7. Thanks to author for giving the tips & tricks about "Kitchen Compressor Hack".

  8. I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information. Anna D. Pritchett

  9. Thanks for tips and tricks. This useful for me!

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  10. I like sauce with eggs and tomatoes. Thank you for the useful analysis!

  11. I Have seen your video very attentively this is very well.