How sous vide cooking can benefit smaller establishments
Once reserved for the fine dining pros of the catering and hospitality world, sous vide machines carried with them, and for some still do, an impression they’re too difficult to use, too expensive to buy and can only be mastered by Michelin star chefs.
It’s true, for decades high-end restaurants have been using sous vide machines in complex culinary concoctions – cooking everything from confit duck and Wagyu steak to quail eggs and truffle-infused vegetables, all to absolute perfection.
However, nowadays they are slowly but surely leaving their complicated-to-use, elitist image behind, and are becoming just as popular with chefs at smaller, independent establishments. The fact is, sous vide machines are incredibly easy to use and boast benefits that go far beyond the realms of fine dining.
As its French translation ‘under vacuum’ suggests, sous vide simply refers to the process of tightly sealing food in a vacuum bag, submerging it in a water bath and cooking it to a very precise and consistent temperature.
An affordable and reliable way of preparing food, this method not only ensures a constant cooking temperature as low as 20-30°C, but allows ingredients to cook for a long period of time. All of this means you don’t lose any of that all-important flavour and moisture, no matter how long it’s in there for.
Aside from the results tasting incredible, one of the main benefits this brings is a reduction in waste. While cooking food traditionally means control over heat and temperature is very difficult and time consuming to manage – which can lead to overcooked food, shrinkages, loss of flavour and loss of moisture – sous vide cooking is perfect every time. That means no more shrivelled, overdone steak heading straight from the pan to the bin, no more plates sent back to the kitchen and more money in your establishment’s pocket. In addition, it eliminates the risk of cross contamination during service – an issue always at the forefront of a chef’s mind.
Enabling you to cook individual or bigger portions in vacuum packs, it’s also remarkably time-saving. While traditional cooking methods can demand a chef’s undying attention, sous vide cooking brings food to the exact temperature you choose and holds it there all by itself. All our Instanta models also benefit from a digital display, showing the actual temperature you’ve set it to, and have a built-in timer. Some even have multiple timers including hours and minutes, so food can be left unmanned to cook away.
While water levels should be checked to avoid the sous vide machines boiling dry, our models have pre-warning alarms, which notify the user that the water level is getting low. Other features include an easy drain facility, heavy duty glass lids, allowing condensed water to drain back into the sous vide, and built-in agitator pumps, which eliminate cold spots.
Of course, all sous vide machines should be regularly cleaned and descaled, but overall it’s an easy, time-saving, reliable technique producing unique results that are near-on impossible to achieve through any other cooking method. Making it the perfect choice for small establishments looking to up their culinary game.