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Sous vide is French for ‘under vacuum.’ The cooking method was developed in France in the early 1970s when George Pralus and a food scientist joined forces to devise the perfect method for producing foie gras. After numerous experiments the best method proved to be sealing the food in a pouch under vacuum before cooking it very slowly at a controlled temperature.
Sous-vide today uses a water bath to accurately cook the vacuum packed item at a precise temperature. This ensures an enhanced texture and taste and means that meats such as beef emerge tender enough to be cut with a fork. This process results in minimal shrinkage, with greater yield. Wastage is reduced through accurate portion control at regen stage.
Clifton Food Range® water baths are used by many Michelin starred chefs and by yacht chefs around the world.
Direct or Indirect Cooking
Direct cooking is when food items are prepared for immediate consumption. Indirect is used for food which is cooked, chilled and then stored in chilled conditions for subsequent regeneration.
Immersed or Vacuum Packs
Food can be poached directly in a liquid and not vacuum packed. The food portion is placed directly into oil for example and is not vacuum packed. Vegetable oil can be flavoured with a vanilla pod, star anise or such like.
Some chefs like to poach items in the bath filled with a stock eg chicken, vegetable etc. The most common process however is to put the food item into a vacuum bag and then cook ensuring their mise en place is done in advance.
THANKS: The content of this article has been kindly been agreed to by Clifton Food Range® who provide professional chefs with sous vide equipment—developed and manufactured by Nickel-Electro, a brand leader in temperature-control laboratory and science equipment. The range offers users an unparalleled specific temperature control to produce consistently perfect results. For more info on the range visit their website at http://www.cliftonfoodrange.co.uk/range/