Disclosed are an improved method and apparatus for convection heating which enables rapid heating of foods to obtain a fried taste, texture and appearance without using large amounts of oil or encountering the other disadvantages of frying.
According to a preferred embodiment of the apparatus which performs the disclosed method, a cooking chamber is provided having a reservoir at the bottom capable of holding cooking oil or other liquid heat exchange medium. The oil is continuously dispersed into the heating chamber which is preferably closed and sealed as a convective air flow is established within the heating chamber by either rotating a foraminous support which holds the food or by causing a positive flow of air within the chamber by means of air circulating means.
Because the heat transfer capability of the convective heating is improved by maintaining a dispersion of liquid heat exchange medium within the air, the heating capability of the apparatus is improved as compared with conventional convective heating. Because of the intimate contact of the hot oil and the rapid cooking, a characteristic fried texture and flavor is achieved. And, because the oil or other liquid cooking medium is employed as a dispersion which can be recirculated according to the preferred embodiments, the amount of cooking oil required according to the invention is much less than in conventional frying operations.