If you’ve had your nose in the food industry for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard the buzz on the latest trend: Sous Vide Restaurants. Everyone from world-renowned chefs to your next door neighbor has used this trendy technique – or at least heard of it.
Sous vide literally means “under vacuum.” The sous vide tool is used to maintain water at a consistent temperature so that airtight sealed food submerged in plastic bags cooks slowly and evenly. The tool’s consistent temperature control unlocks the food’s flavor and keeps its texture perfectly balanced.
But what makes this tool more special than the rest? Is the use of sous vide in restaurants necessary, or is it just another trendy tool that’ll end up taking up more counter space than it’s worth? Most importantly, should you use it in your restaurant?
Read on to discover why you should consider using sous vide in your restaurant.
Although both meats and vegetables can be cooked with this method, chefs commonly use it for meat; boasting even cooking without drying or over-crisping the meat’s outer layer. Because it is vacuum sealed, flavors and moisture are locked in; they have nowhere to go except back into the meat.
Cooking by sous vide then finishing it off with a quick sear makes the final product moist, tender, and packed with flavor. Since it’s fully cooked right out of the bag, a final sear is only necessary if you desire a crisp outside.
During a rush, it can become a challenge for your chef to deliver a perfectly cooked cut of meat, whether it be fish, poultry, or steak. The sous vide tool helps to eliminate inconsistencies in the kitchen because it allows food to be cooked predictably on a timer, then held at temperature until it is ready to be served.
The water’s perfect temperature further eliminates the inconsistencies that come with different pans, appliances, or even chefs. There’s no “hot spot,” like you might find in your oven, uneven heating like you may find on the grill or stove, or differences based upon who’s doing the cooking.
Some sous vide tools offer an app that you can use to monitor cooking time and temperature remotely. With exact temperatures and times tracked, you’re guaranteed consistent results – every time.
As mentioned above, food can be cooked sous vide then held – ready to go – until served. This drastically increases the efficiency of your kitchen. A cook can pre-portion each serving, set them to cook by sous vide, and do other prep in the meantime. It allows for more efficient use of their time; thus cutting on labor costs.
By cooking in individual servings, food waste and improper measurements will be drastically reduced, thus affecting your bottom line. You won’t have to worry about improper serving sizes or unused portions.
Because food is cooked in airtight bags, this allows for the freedom to cook almost anything within the temperature-controlled water. As long as the necessary cooking temperatures are the same, you could cook meats at the same time, in the same vessel, as vegetables, sides, or other foods. Hypothetically, you could create a menu that is almost entirely sous vide!
When food is done cooking, it can remain in it’s bag at a safe temperature. When it comes time to serve, the chef can simply sear and serve – or just plate it right from the bag – thus cutting prep time, and room for error, dramatically.
Especially with meat, this is a godsend. You don’t have to worry about it sitting out for too long and being exposed to dangerous airborne bacteria. And, since your kitchen can operate much more efficiently with the sous vide tool, your staff is less likely to risk injury or make dangerous errors or out of stress or during a rush. Phew!
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