You’ve probably seen sous vide circulators at tradeshows and heard others talking about this unique method of cooking. The hype is real. With the many benefits sous vide cooking can bring to a foodservice operation, it can transform the way your kitchen operates for the better.
How sous vide works
The English translation of the French term “sous vide” is “under vacuum.” The sous vide cooking method starts by vacuum sealing food into an airtight container or bag. The food is then cooked in a water bath at a precise temperature. The water constantly circulates to ensure consistent heat throughout the bath for evenly cooked food. This method works for retherming food that has been blast frozen or for cooking raw, unfrozen food.
Benefits of sous vide cooking
With the problem of labor shortage in the foodservice industry, one of the results is under-trained staff serving inconsistent products. With the precision afforded by sous vide cooking, consistency is guaranteed. Simply set the circulator to the precise temperature, and it holds the food at that exact temperature — no higher, no lower. Over- or under-cooking is an issue of the past.
One significant benefit of cooking food to a precise temperature is that both taste and appearance are significantly improved. The vacuum-sealed container locks in flavors. Meats, for example, retain their natural juices, leaving them tender and delicious.
A lack of predictability is standard for the foodservice industry, but sous vide cooking can help alleviate some of those fluctuation pains, with a little prep work on your part. If you have prepped meals or pre-portioned foods and then vacuum-sealed them, they can be easily cooked or rethermed using the sous vide circulator. Because of the vacuum-sealed container, food can even be chilled and rethermed again, allowing for any unexpected traffic fluctuations.
Because sous vide circulators are easy to use, they make training new staff on specific kitchen cooking standards a much simpler process. While the mandate to “cook to doneness” might seem universal, it’s much more scientific to instruct less experienced chefs to cook at a specific temperature setting for a set period of time.
Sous vide circulators require less energy to operate than stoves or other more traditional cooking methods. Energy efficiency means less money spent on electricity and more available budget for other kitchen needs.
Because the sous vide method works in tandem with vacuum sealing, it helps eliminate waste, reducing overall food costs. Food prep can assist with portion control and even extend the food’s shelf life with the use of the vacuum sealer.
If you’re interested in learning how specialty equipment can help your kitchen become more efficient in a number of ways, check out this post for more info.