Providing high end corporate hospitality in the world of international motorsport proved to be just the beginning of the journey for Sprint Events boss Carlos Maidana and now, with the help of Sous Vide Tools, the ex racing driver is on the road to even greater success.
Inspired by a Sous Vide Tools demonstration at a catering show, Maidana approached the company, convinced that the technique was just the thing for his events catering. Not only that, at the time Sprint Events had also converted a 17th century coaching inn in High Wycombe into a gastro pub and dining venue. The Grouse & Ale, a perfect candidate for sous vide, has since won a number of awards for its innovative English cooking.
“If I remember correctly the demonstration involved a piece of pork loin and some salmon,” recalls Maidana. “I was amazed at the tenderness and texture of the pork, and by the retention of that delicate salmon flavour that is so often lost in traditional cooking methods.
“Alex and Chris at Sous Vide Tools convinced me that this technology was well suited to food led pubs, and that it could even take pressure off the head chefs by helping with the varying skill levels in the rest of the kitchen.
“Following the show, the Sprint team attended a Sous Vide Tools cookery skills day where we were blown away not only by the quality of the cooked food but by the techniques in food marinating and fruit preparation using the vac-pacs. We never looked back and now all of our kitchens use the products, even our outside event teams.”
Today Sprint uses sous vide for a range of dishes but finds it particularly useful for heavy muscle meats, tough cuts, and complicated stuffed meats that have been shaped specifically for presentation. Brined chicken is also a favourite for the sous vide treatment, and just about anything that needs to take on a deep marinade, especially spiced products for finishing on a BBQ griddle.
“My personal favourites are our own version of a chicken saltimbocca, Asian spiced duck breast, pork tenderloin, in fact, I could almost say most dishes benefit from a bit of sous vide,” adds Maidana. “We have become a lot more adventurous and less fearful of taking on complicated recipes from some of our peers. The main advantages of sous vide are the consistency and the presentation, along with the obvious benefit of a decrease in shrinkage which creates better yield.
“I guess we call ourselves chefs, but really we are all cooks in a pub environment. Our guests come to eat good pub grub and then we over deliver and sometimes amaze them away with plates that demonstrate real cooking skills. Sous vide helps capture this in a number of ways but primarily on
presentation, consistency and the ability to take on complicated cuts that you may not otherwise want to risk.
“A prime example of this is grouse, an expensive product that goes wrong in the blink of an eye. A sous vide breast of grouse with confit leg, baby roots, walnuts and boulangère potatoes, prepared sous vide, cooked and delivered by an 18 year old with assistance only on the sauce, is a dish to write home to mum about! “
Maidana recommends attending the Sous Vide Tools course to get a better understanding of the concept: “The course is a must so that someone within the brigade has a deeper practical knowledge, then after that it’s just practice and experimentation – as well as scouring the website for help and ideas which seem to be never ending,” he explains, all of which have put Sprint Events on the right track with sous vide.