The Pros and Cons of Sous Vide Cooking

To Bushwakker’s BrewPub the other night to give a talk in the Science Pub series on The Science of Sous Vide Cooking. Very good it was too. The world needs more talks in pubs! (Isn’t that like the original meaning of symposium?) The Q and A session at the end was particularly lively, and lengthy, no doubt assisted by good food and good ale.

This is the gist.

Sous vide is the most important technological advance in cooking in many years, maybe since the microwave.

But admittedly it has some drawbacks too. Let’s look at the main ones.

  1. The name. It is French (a sign of classy grub) for “under vacuum” (and not “under pressure” as some think). But being under vacuum is not the key thing. The technology should really be called something like “Precision Temperature Water Bath Cooking”—though that won’t happen. The term sous vide is here to stay.
  2. More clutter in the kitchen. Undeniably, SV equipment will take up some space.
  3. Things usually need to be vacuum sealed. But a ziploc bag works well as a substitute.
  4. Cost can be substantial.
  5. Safety is a concern. But a few simple rules, like not cooking below 53C, will maintain food safety.
  6. The food does not brown in a water bath. But it can be browned after cooking with a blowtorch or in a hot pan.
  7. And perhaps the main drawback: you have to experiment with food, discover what temperatures and times suit your palate. Many people simply do not have the curiosity or temperament to do this.

More later on the positives…



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One response to “The Pros and Cons of Sous Vide Cooking

  1. Pingback: The Good Side of Sous Vide | Breviosity

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