What Is Sous-Vide Cooking?

Most, if not all, modern homes will have both a conventional oven and microwave installed in the kitchen, the two most common methods of cooking food. Despite this, a technique which has previously been used mostly by professional chefs instead of the average home foodie has been making waves in homes across the globe; Sous-vide.

Sous-vide is regarded as the most consistent method of perfectly cooking meat and other products to perfection with massively reduced chances of human error. This post will explain exactly how this fantastic method works, who uses it, and what the future of our home cooking might look like.


So what is it?

Sous-vide is French for “under vacuum” which partly explains how it works. Basically, sous-vide is a method of cooking which involves food being vacuum sealed in airtight plastic bags and placed in a water bath.

These specially designed and controlled water baths boil-cook the food right through to within 1°C, something which pan frying or oven cooking simply cannot promise.

Obviously boiling food doesn’t make it look very appealing to the eye however, because we have become so accustomed to seeing well cooked meat with a good bit of charring and colouring on the outside, so after vacuum and boiling, a quick bit of pan frying is required for best results.

One of the reasons it is held in such high regard is because it is much more consistent than any other method of cooking and largely removes human error. Aside from forgetting to take the food out of the water on time, the water baths will always cook food to perfection because it is cooked equally.

Pan cooking or oven cooking can’t promise entirely even cooking, particularly pan frying which is fraught with potential mistakes including overheating and misjudgement of the cook on the density of the meat/other food.

Who uses it?

At this stage you will no doubt be thinking “that’s all well and good but why haven’t I heard of it before then?”. That of course would be a very valid question and the short answer is because it has largely been in the hands of professionals.

Sous-vide has been popular with professional chefs for over 20 years and is used by the likes of Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsey and Raymond Blanc. There are two main reasons why it has become so popular with professional chefs, one because the vacuum packing allows them to preserve food for a good while and of course the consistently good results.


The Future of Home Cooking?

Well if you did a survey of your family and friends it would be unlikely to find many who have even heard of it, never mind own the equipment. However, that is certainly changing.

With the ever expanding world of cooking television programmes and the emergence of the Instagram generation’s “food porn” craze, sous-vide is slowly making its way into the public consciousness while also becoming more readily available to the amateur home chef.

Suppliers including Sous Vide Tools, who for years have provided the equipment to the professionals, are now making a splash in the home market, creating cheaper, smaller, home kitchen friendly equipment to make sous-vide more accessible to the masses.

Hopefully you will now understand just what sous-vide is, and appreciate why it is used on a professional scale, and why it could well become a regular fitting in kitchens of the future.