For the last year, I have been using a blowtorch to char wood, meringues, marshmallows, and anything else that could benefit from an extremely quick blast of intense heat (theoretically up to about 1970°C (3578°F) , assuming no heat loss). While this can be extremely useful, it means effectively spraying propellant onto food, and hoping that it combusts efficiently. Butane, although less evil smelling than horrible farty propane, still has a chemical whiff about it, and I hereby renounce it as a way to blast food.
The alternative ? A heat gun, which plugs into the wall and produces a thin jet of super-hot air. Happening to walk by Maplins during their clearance sale, I picked this 2000W model for 15 pounds. It’s for stripping paint, bending plastics and defrosting frozen water pipes. It has two heat settings, 300°C and 600°C - both respectable cooking temperatures. As is often the case, buying tools marketed for construction is way cheaper than buying products designed for chefs (my laser pointed temperature probe cost £15 bought from a DIY supplier and would have cost me at least double from a kitchen equipment store).
Although I have no specific plans for it, I’m sure it won’t be long before I find something that would usefully take a hefty punch of combustion-less dry heat.