FE&S: Is sous vide becoming more popular in the United States?
BG: Absolutely and for a number of reasons. For starters, the sous vide preparation method maintains the natural flavor, integrity and consistent quality of meal items so chefs know their customers will get the same great tasting meals every time they visit. Also, since sous vide is a very precise technique, even if the head chef isn't around, food can still be prepared to perfection and finished by staff members who might have less experience or training. In addition, since food is vacuum sealed, it lasts longer, which means restaurants can both cut costs and reduce their food waste.
FE&S: What are some foods operators can cook sous vide?
BG: Sous vide is an incredibly versatile technique, and it develops flavors and textures that simply cannot be duplicated using any other cooking method, including braising, roasting, sautéing, deep frying, broiling, grilling and poaching. Meat and seafood are particularly well-suited to the technique because vacuum sealing the food locks in its natural juices, which helps to tenderize the meat and produce deep, natural flavors without the need for much additional seasoning or oils. But a wide variety of foods, including watermelon, spinach, monkfish and lamb can be beautifully prepared using sous vide.
FE&S: What is the training like for sous vide?
BG: Very few professional culinary arts higher education and training programs have had the skilled faculty, equipment or funding to offer programs in the sous vide process, which is why we created the Culinary Research and Education Academy (CREA). At CREA, students learn the proper techniques for sous vide, allowing them to create delicious meals that are safe to eat. Sous vide is an important technique to master since it's used in professional kitchens and food production facilities the world over, including in the most celebrated restaurants, hotels, country clubs, cruise lines, airlines and healthcare facilities. Even some of the culinary world's most celebrated chefs have come to CREA to learn sous vide — we've trained more than 43 3-star Michelin chefs — and have also started offering online courses for chefs who want to learn at their own pace.