Back in college we used to play the game "Can We Fry This?" When I first started cooking I learned the deep fryer was very good in emergenicies. For example I witnessed whole filet mignons, sides of salmon and countless pieces of bacon crisped in boiling oil. As I said, these were "emergencie fries." What was interesting to me was the uniform cooking that took place. The chef and sous chef noted that we were doing this as a last resort and acting like shoemakers by doing it. But guests had to be fed and dire times called for extreme measures.
When I moved on to The Park Avenue Cafe, I became further educated in the deep fryer. David Burke had one fryer flavored with curry powder for frying panko, nori crusted tuna, and shoe string potatoes for his lobster steak. We also fried mushrooms and anything else we could for chips and garnishes in regualr canola oil. David understood the fryer and the power it provides in the kitchen. Then I moved to Clio where Ken Oringer also understood the fryer, from lobster antennae to tempura battered lemon confit rings, the fryer was a work horse. And of course we were not shy about frying bacon for a room service burger, only in "emergencies."
What has evolved since these early experiences is the concept that fryers are often evil. Sure we consider frying tempura an art form, but deep frying an individual portion of fillet mignon is shoe making. And I am not buying that kool aid. The fryer, like many other pieces of equipment, is an incredible device. It creates an environment that ensures even cooking. Yesterday we "seared" short ribs in a minute rather than bumbling through the process in a heavy bottomed pan, spattering oil and worrying about burning fond. We deep fried mirepoix and shrimp shells. (yes, we need to be aware of allergy situations so pay attention to what you fry in your oil.) One issue may be that a chef doesn't like the flavor of the oil he fries in. Really, then why are you using it? Change the oil, capitalize on the tool.
I still remember watching an episode of Top Chef a few years ago where someone got chewed out for deep frying bacon instead of using the wood fired oven for maximum flavor. Let's get past our pretensions and work on using our tools and techniques to maximize our time in the kitchen.