As sous vide machines start to find their way into more and more home kitchens, professional chefs around the world are chuckling to themselves and wondering where the rest of us have been for all these years!
In fact, renowned chef Heston Blumenthal even said that “Sous vide cooking is the single greatest advancement in cooking technology for decades.”
Sous vide has been commonplace in professional kitchens since around the 1990s, so why do the pros love it so much?
Of course, the most important thing to any chef, whether in a Michelin-starred kitchen or simply in the kitchen at home, is the taste and flavour of a dish.
When cooking using traditional methods, both flavour and juices can be lost along the way.
By vacuum sealing all your ingredients, however, you keep all of the flavours and juices together throughout the whole cooking process.
The flavour is all locked in and as your ingredients cook in their own natural juices, the flavour is kicked up a notch in the final product! Believe it or not, vacuum packing alone intensifies the flavour of any ingredient.
When you’re working in a professional kitchen, there’s no room for error, and things have to be done exactly by the book.
This is where sous vide really comes into its own, allowing chefs an unparalleled level of control over their dishes.
With a traditional oven or grill, the temperature will invariably vary by a couple of degrees throughout the cooking process.
But with sous vide, chefs can choose their temperature and maintain it within 0.5 degrees throughout.
This is how they manage to get your steak cooked exactly the way you like it, time after time.
In a professional kitchen, with orders coming thick and fast, it’s important to be able to spend as little time as possible prepping each dish.
While sous vide can mean lengthy cooking times, very little of this time actually requires the chef’s attention.
Most dishes require only a few minutes to prepare the ingredients and seal them in a vacuum pack.
After this, it’s a case of simply heating up the water bath to the desired temperature, drop in the ingredients and leave them to cook for at least the required time to ensure a properly-cooked dish.
There’s no need to check on the food or stir it while it cooks, leaving the chef free to crack on with the billion other things that need doing.
Once a dish is done, it can be held at serving temperature for a long time without a risk of it drying out, over-cooking or burning, which is another thing a busy chef can take off their mind!
The Nutritional Benefits
While taste and presentation are key to a professional chef’s work, they also care about the nutritional values of the food they’re serving up.
After all, we’re a much more health conscious society nowadays, and it’s important that chefs consider this at all times.
In a traditional high-temperature cooking method, a large number of important water soluble fats, vitamins and antioxidants are lost into the cooking liquid or evaporate into the air.
Much like the flavour and juices though, these important healthy elements are retained in the sous vide process!
One possible issue some people might have with sous vide cooking is that when the meat comes out, it can look a little bit strange and undercooked (even though it’s actually perfectly cooked).
Of course, presentation is just as important as taste to a professional chef, but this doesn’t need to be an issue with sous vide cooking.
Once the food comes out, it’s a quick and simple task to finish the meat off either in a pan or using a blowtorch to create a browning reaction and a crispy aroma, all while maintaining the tender and moist centre. This is what results in meat looking exactly like you’d expect it to when served on a plate.
If you’re a professional chef and you’re yet to try out sous vide in your own kitchen, why not check out out professional chef shop for all the equipment you could possibly need.