My first experiment was frying a couple of eggs for my Saturday breakfast. My kitchen has severely limited counter space, so I set up the induction cooktop on a kitchen cart next to my built-in gas cooktop. As usual, I used an old cast iron skillet, as the eggs seem to taste better this way. Ordinarily, it takes several minutes for the gas cooktop to heat the skillet hot enough to cook eggs; however, with the induction cooktop, I turned on the unit to a medium setting, pored some oil onto it, and in the time it took me to get a couple of eggs out of the refrigerator, the pan was hot enough to cook the eggs. I was totally surprised that when I dropped the first egg onto the pan it sizzled and firmed up immediately; I had expected it to sit there unchanged for a minute or two while the pan heated up.
I conducted a more dramatic experiment that night. My fiancé Laura and a couple of friends had come over for a late dinner of steaks cooked on the grill. The weather was good, so we ate the steaks outside on the back deck. For dessert, I made bananas Foster. Making bananas Foster requires melting brown sugar in butter, which must be done at a fairly low heat. Maintaining that heat with a gas cooktop is tricky; however it was a snap with the induction cooker. Then, for the final step, I wheeled the cart out onto the deck, turned off the outside lights and, using the induction cooker with an outside outlet, brought the bananas Foster up to temperature, added the rum and flamed it off with a match right in front of the guests! The flickering blue flame added an impressive flair to an elegant dessert.
I was completely surprised and impressed that a portable unit could heat up a pan much faster and provide better low-level temperature control than my built-in gas cooktop.