What’s All the Fuss With Sous Vide Anyway?

Modern sous-vide cooking originated in Switzerland in the 1960s as a way to preserve and sterilize food in hospital kitchens. Many restaurants now use the technique as a combination of cooking method and storage shortcut, because the food, once safely cooked under seal, can be quick-chilled and refrigerated for days.   In today’s kitchens, traditionally a piece of meat is place in a 600 deg F pan or Blazing hot grill and cooked until the center reaches the desired temperature (130 deg F for Medium Rare).  This results in almost 50% of the flesh being dry and overcooked while the center reaches the proper temperature.  With sous vide, the entire piece of meat is cooked in a medium that is the same temperature you want the center to be.  So, if you want Medium Rare, you set the temp for 130, let it go until the center reaches that temperature and the whole piece is 130 deg end to end without anything being over cooked.  Furthermore, you cannot over cook it because the temperature never goes above this.  Also, the longer you leave it in the water, the more tender the meat becomes.  This is why more tender cuts such as filet mignon require short times in the area of about 2 hours and beef shortribs which are very tough require days.

So, that sounds great and all, but there’s a lot more to it than just that.  Suffice to say, many people may dismiss this cooking method in modern kitchens as a passing trend.  My experience tells me that it will be around for a long time.  The evidence is in marketing.  A home cook can now purchase sous vide equipment that is geared to the home cook at fairly reasonable prices. 

One such piece of equipment is called “Sous Vide Magic” that allows you to connect a temperature controller to a rice cooker that will precisely maintain the temperature required for sous vide cooking.  This will set you back about $150 (for the controller alone, no rice cooker included).


Another product geared towards the home cook is the sous vide supreme.  It’s a heavy, tabletop (bread machine size) unit that’s self contained.  It’s creating a lot of buzz.  This will set you back about $450.


It’s suggested that both units be used in conjuction with a vacuum sealer.

While I am not endorsing any of these products in particular, my only point is that a lot of marketing and research dollars are going into making units available to the home cook.  They may become as common as the microwave.  Sort of a reverse microwave that cooks food in hours/days not seconds/minutes. 

So, these indicators tell me there’s a market and people are into it.  Yet, still, the vast majority of diners do not know what sous vide is.  I recommend reading up on it.  As they say, once you cook sous vide, why would you ever want to cook any other way again?


One Response

  1. Hi,

    My name is Chris Johns, and I work on the web side of SousVide Supreme. I see you have some familiarity with it. We are currently adding sous vide recipes to a section of our website for anyone interested in sous vide cooking to access. The recipes are submissions from professional/ home chefs and bloggers across the country. I saw a couple dishes you’ve got posted on here that look fantastic, and I wanted to see if you would allow us to share your recipe on the site. We will have all the recipe cooking info, as well as source and whatever url the source would like a link back to.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.

    Best Regards,

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