Sous Vide, translated from French, means “in a vacuum”. Although a bit misleading, it refers to cooking food in a sealed container, in a precisely temperature controlled water bath. Differing from traditional cooking methods, food cooked sous vide is cooked at the same temperature at which is served. For example, if you like your steak medium-rare (54C/130F), you would cook it at that same temperature.
The principles of sous vide have been around for a couple hundred years, however it wasn’t until the 1960s where it made its way into industrial kitchens. By the 1970s, it had started to make its transition into fine dining establishments. There was a particular challenge in the past with cooking foie gras, as it loses up to 50 percent of its weight during cooking – which is an extremely expensive waste. A chef-consultant working at a three-Michelin-star restaurant, Restaurant Troisgros, found that wrapping foie gras in plastic wrap, and cooking it slowly in a water bath, greatly diminished the amount of waste. Conjointly, a food scientist, Bruno Goussault was developing similar technology for use in large-scale food service applications.
Over the years, sous vide began to gain popularity in restaurants. At that time it costed about $1,500 for an immersion circulator, making it too expensive for the average home cook. However, cost-effective equipment has now been manufactured, and one can purchase sous vide equipment for a couple hundred dollars.
There are many advantages of using the sous vide method. Below are just a few.
- It’s basically idiot-proof. Once you have your sealed food, you simply set the temperature and timer and just let it do its thing.
- Its a great time saver. You can cook food in advance, chill it, then reheat it when you’re ready to serve.
- It can save precious fridge/freezer space. Once food it packaged, it takes up less space than bulky containers.
- It’s consistent. Once you have the proper temperature and time, you know that you will get the same results each time.
I was lucky enough to have been gifted a static water bath, and it has seriously elevated my food that I cook at home. I love that I can prepare a perfect medium-rare steak that is the same colour of pink all of the way through, without any grey colour on the outside. Plus, it’s super convenient and lets me forget about it while I do other things. I can put duck legs in during the morning, and by the time I come home at the end of the day I know that I’ll have some delicious duck confit! Another plus about the static water bath is that it’s silent and uses up very little power since there is no motor.
Check out the pics below to see the difference of sous vide vs. traditional cooking methods.
“What is Sous Vide“, Anova Culinary, https://anovaculinary.com/what-is-sous-vide/. Retrieved on August 8, 2017.
“Ten Reasons to Get a SousVide Supreme”, SousVide Supreme, https://www.sousvidesupreme.com/en-us/learn/10_great_reasons.htm. Retrieved on August 8, 2017.
Featured photo taken from, www.seriouseats.com