Winston’s World

In the 35 years since Winston Shelton discovered CVap—controlled vapor—technology, the revolutionary cooking, holding, and heating boxes of Winston Industries have cycled through phases of popularity, adoption, and proliferation in commercial and noncommercial kitchens of every purpose throughout North America. To see one in your kids’ school’s kitchen or just past the right shoulder of the cashier at the fast-food drive-through window is to pass it by without a thought.

But not so fast.

We’ve been to Winston Industries. We’ve eaten the baby back ribs from those ovens. And we’re here to tell you—Winston Shelton’s mouth, if you will, to your ear—that you need to understand CVap. Even in 2015, it remains just that different from other ways of thermalizing food, just that much more potentially kitchen-, career-, life-, and world-changing.

For restaurant people who got to this point in life without basic understanding of thermodynamics, there will be a learning curve. Start here. If the science behind it interests you, recall that CVap came of age during the convergence of pre-Internet and Internet media. Elsewhere online, you’ll find decades’ worth of charts, chats, graphs, grids, patents, papers, catalogs, monologues, recipes, chemistry, specifications, speculation, flat files, field trials, menus, venues, gastronorms and order forms, lore and much more.

Winston’s world grew from a building located literally within a day’s drive of about 75 percent of America, where Winston Shelton himself, now in his early 90s, makes phone calls between an equation-covered blackboard and a bag of Doritos on the desk in front of him. The lights are kept low in the office. In the next room is the lab and down the hall, the kitchen. Fifteen minutes in Shelton’s presence and you’re rethinking cooking.

Copy on the company website concedes, “Some have even called us a cult. We don’t mind. In fact, we’re sort of proud of it.”

It’s Shelton’s high-performance mind and the sheer force of his character that have built the Winston brand, but not into a cult so much as a culture. Immerse yourself.

Elaine Evans
Elaine Evans Elaine Evans is thrilled to blog for KaTom, where her work in restaurants, bars, catering, and artisanal food has caught up at last with her career in journalism and public relations writing.
  1. October 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm, Dennis Duffy said:

    Really interesting and informative. I wish my dermtologist didn't remove my little face bumps w/liquid nitrogen. A trifle chilly!