What's your impression of sous vide?

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What's your impression of sous vide? Would you order meals that have been sous vide already that would be quicker to prepare/easy to heat up & eat?
 
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
I've done a lot of sous-vide cooking, and I will claim very dogmatically, that it is the superior way to cook meat and fish. If you know your temps you have absolutely no issue getting the most flavorsome, tender and wonderfully cooked joints. I can't imagine anyone would have any reason to dislike something sous-vide unless it's reinforced with misinformation or a bad personal experience caused by badly done processes. The only issue with it is you need good kit to get reliable results, and that can be expensive for the home cook. And it does require a greater investment in time, but nobody sous-vides in a rush! If you're in a rush, you would eat something pan-fried!
 
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I see. I tried sous vide cooking for my steaks tonight for the first time and it was quite good! Probably not perfect since I just did it in a pot with a thermometer, adjusting the heat to keep the temperature steady.

I see that you're a former chef. Do you think regular consumers like it or dislike it for the most part? Are people turned off by the technique since it's cooked in a bag & might seem less natural? Given you're in the Netherlands, I would expect that it's much more popular there than here in the US.
 
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I'm a food enthusiast in the US and own two sous vide units from Anova. There are many different reasons I favor sous vide cooking in certain applications, and some of them have nothing to do with the flavor of the food. The ability to hold a perfectly soft boiled egg for an hour.. while waiting for your guests to arrive is an example of one of the practical benefits. I will say however, you cannot achieve many of the benefits trying to use a range with a thermometer, it simply isn't accurate enough. You really have to be accurate within about 1 degree F sometimes for hours. Eggs are one of the most dramatic examples of this.. if you sous vide an egg (no bag needed, they come with their own!) for an hour and a half.. look at the dramatic differences in just minor temperature changes:


We recently did our first steaks sous vide. We did two cuts, a sirloin as well as a filet. The filet is the shining example of the two because it is much less forgiving using traditional technique than a well marbled steak. You didn't say how you finished your steaks, but one thing sous vide removes from the equation is the maillard reaction that gives us that beautiful tasty crust. So we used clarified butter and got a large cast iron skillet absolutely smoking hot and seared the finished steaks about 40 seconds on each side. Also, with sous vide cooking there is no need to "rest" your steaks - you can take them from the bag straight into a smoking skillet and the window of time you have to do this with perfect result is huge.
 
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161
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
 
I see. I tried sous vide cooking for my steaks tonight for the first time and it was quite good! Probably not perfect since I just did it in a pot with a thermometer, adjusting the heat to keep the temperature steady.

I see that you're a former chef. Do you think regular consumers like it or dislike it for the most part? Are people turned off by the technique since it's cooked in a bag & might seem less natural? Given you're in the Netherlands, I would expect that it's much more popular there than here in the US.
Hi Jon, I've used sous-vide in three restaurants, professionally. One in a Michelin star rest in Manchester, UK, one in 5* resort in Greece, and another in France, only the Michelin star rest stated on the menu that it was sous-vide, and it was one of the attractions for the guests, although that was when it was fairly new. The other restaurants just did it as standard. Never had any issues with guests disliking the technique, as that would make them look very ignorant! Is this an issue in the US?
 
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Hi Jon, I've used sous-vide in three restaurants, professionally. One in a Michelin star rest in Manchester, UK, one in 5* resort in Greece, and another in France, only the Michelin star rest stated on the menu that it was sous-vide, and it was one of the attractions for the guests, although that was when it was fairly new. The other restaurants just did it as standard. Never had any issues with guests disliking the technique, as that would make them look very ignorant! Is this an issue in the US?

Not an issue that I've ever seen. Although I will say as a cook I dont like to use sous vide for steaks, fish, or things of that nature. However it does have its areas where ot shines.
 
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I'm not sure, but I don't think so. It seems much newer here compared to Europe, which makes sense given it was invented there. For example, I think Europe has a lot more things in the freezer section of the grocery store that has been sous vide (based on what I've read), but the US doesn't really have much. I'm new to sous vide, so just trying to learn more about it. It's an interesting concept, but I wasn't sure how people who don't really know about sous vide would think of it.

Also can you sous vide almost anything and have it taste good (maybe with a bit of searing)? Like vegetables, etc. Can you do rice or pasta or risotto as well? I thought you might know given your experience
 
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I thought sous vide is best for proteins? If you don't use it for steak or fish, what do you use it for? Chicken or veggies?

I like to use it for eggs and lunch meat mostly

You can cook eggs to only set the whites and have a perfectly runny yolk.

Or, I like to tie turkey breast and toss it in the cyrovac with garlic, thyme, and black pepper at 155. You can run it over the slicer after that. Super juicy turkey sandwich.

You know things that would be hard to do in any other way. I feel like most cooks should be confident cooking a steak or fish in a pan or on the grill.
 
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My impression?

It's nothing more than poaching, that's all.

I don't think it saves labour, money or time, as you have to factor those three items into getting the product into the bag and prepared before you can re-thermalize it.

It makes sense for larger items, which was what it was invented for-- originally to poach foie gras with a minimum of wieght loss.  Then the Euros figured it was a good way to heat up mass production food  for hospitals and prisons (look up the Knacka system).  It only gained popularity once the price of vacuum  machines    got to be under $8000  dollars 
 
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I love ya Pump, but that is a really surface level interpretation. And I don't have anything against poaching as a technique either. But precise temp cooking and poaching only have a lack of crust in common.
 
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I remember as a kid bringing a pan of water to boil and tossing in a Boil-n-Bag entree for an after school snack.
Straight from the HEB freezer section to ours.
They retailed at around 10 cents per box.
Meatloaf in tomato sauce was pretty ok.
Brand name Banquet....which is still in the frozen food biz pumping out low grade chicken pot pies and such.

I will give the SV fans the point for actually cooking instead of reaheating....
You can argue all day long and still cannot disprove the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same.

mimi
 
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Another aspect of sous vide that is not accomplished with traditional poaching is that there is no loss of nutrient/flavor. Take for instance a vegetable that is boiled/poached - you can't argue with the fact that some amount of nutrient and flavor is lost to the poaching liquid during the cooking process. Under vacuum seal that is not possible. Vegetables tend to have a slightly more intense flavor when cooked sous vide from my tests.

At the end of the day it's a technique. I think it's often pushed as a superior technique to some traditional methods, but really that's left up to the individual consuming the end result to decide. There are some things that you can accomplish with sous vide that are just plain not possible using a traditional method but that is what technique is all about.
 
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Joined Jan 15, 2015
 
What's your impression of sous vide? Would you order meals that have been sous vide already that would be quicker to prepare/easy to heat up & eat?
My impression?

SV is great technique to have more consistency on certain type of cooking.

For example, to get perfect medium rare seared duck breast, or steak, every time. 

Or getting perfect soft boiled egg, or hard-boiled egg with runny yolk.

I am not saying that those are not possible with traditional cooking, but using SV, that would be easily achievable.

Would you order meals that have been sous vide already that would be quicker to prepare/easy to heat up & eat?

SV is just a technique, and it's just one part of the equation. You still need to do more, like searing the SV'ed steak.

So, it's not just heating-up then eat :)

But, would I order a meal if it is stated has been cooked SV? Absolutely yes. 

Why yes? Because I would expect the done-ness (for example) would be precise, I won't expect overcooked meal!
 
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I remember as a kid bringing a pan of water to boil and tossing in a Boil-n-Bag entree for an after school snack.
Straight from the HEB freezer section to ours.
They retailed at around 10 cents per box.
Meatloaf in tomato sauce was pretty ok.
Brand name Banquet....which is still in the frozen food biz pumping out low grade chicken pot pies and such.

I will give the SV fans the point for actually cooking instead of reaheating....
You can argue all day long and still cannot disprove the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same.

mimi
Other than both utilizing a water bath there is absolutely no similarity between "boil in bag" entrees and sous vide.
 
5,448
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
 
Another aspect of sous vide that is not accomplished with traditional poaching is that there is no loss of nutrient/flavor. Take for instance a vegetable that is boiled/poached - you can't argue with the fact that some amount of nutrient and flavor is lost to the poaching liquid during the cooking process. Under vacuum seal that is not possible. Vegetables tend to have a slightly more intense flavor when cooked sous vide from my tests.
Well, yes that point is true.  However, no one said that you have to poach in gallons and gallons of liquid, no one said that liquid had to be water, and no one said you had to throw out that liquid once your item was poached......

Take for example a fairly standard procedure I learned in my apprenticeship, the poaching of fish:  The fillets would be placed in a buttered sauteuse, perhaps a garnish added, and "liquid" (wine or fumet or stock) added, the sautesue covered with the foil wrapper from a butter block, and the pan placed in the oven for a few minutes.  The liquid in the sauteuse never exceeds 80 C, so yes it is poaching.  The fillets are gently removed, the liquid reduced, mounted with butter, and this resulting sauce napped over the fillets. 

The argument that traditional poaching results in loss of flavor or nutritional value can be had, but the resulting liquid is consumed along with the protein.

Meh, 6 of one, and 1/2 dozen of the other.    Personally, I can't justify the cost of a vacuum machine, the vacuum bags, the circulator, and the additional labour involved getting that item in the bag and then out of the bag   
 
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What's your impression of sous vide? Would you order meals that have been sous vide already that would be quicker to prepare/easy to heat up & eat?

Yes @spanky .....you are absolutely correct.
I did stick with the topic (see above for a memory refreshment)
Altho IMO joining Chef Talk and wasting your very first post on trying to school another member is kinda lame.
If you will use the search function and read a few of the heated debates on this subject you may find my post to be a bit ironic as well as amusing.
Carry on.

mimi
 
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