A lesson in sous-vide
August 26, 2016
Onboard Hospitality headed out of the office and back to school, joining an event to celebrate a partnership between well-known onboard caterer Cuisine Solutions’ educational arm, CREA (The Culinary Research and Education Academy), and a top British culinary school. It was held at Westminster Kingsway College which is pioneering training in sous-vide cooking with a three-day course.
The new sous-vide course at Westminster Kingsway College is a pretty big deal. It’s the first time a college in the UK has done it and the chefs were clearly hungry to learn about the technique.
Sous Vide is French, for ‘under vacuum’ and it is a method of cooking which sees food sealed in an airtight bag and placed in a temperature-controlled water tank for cooking.
I don’t mind admitting that the words ‘boil-in-the-bag’ were what first sprung to mind when I read that definition. But at this event I learnt that sous-vide is quite the opposite of the afore-mentioned idiot-proof method of cooking, often associated with army cadets and lazy students.
To the contrary, sous-vide is incredibly technical and my first clue to that was when I met Cuisine Solutions’ Bruno Goussault who will be leading the course – his card reads ‘Chief Scientist’ – not ‘Head Chef’ as I expected.
Dr Goussault is widely acknowledged as pioneer in the sous-vide method and he explained to me why sous-vide is such a superior method of cooking.
- It cooks everything evenly so you’ll never have something burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.
- Cooking sous-vide allows for consistency. If you cook five steaks, every one will be the same.
- Nothing can escape the bag, so there is no oxidisaton and you can’t lose flavour.
- Nothing can get into the bag so there’s less chance of contamination with bacteria.
- You can hold something at the same temperature without damaging it so it’s particularly useful when you’re catering for lots of people.
- You can use it in pre-preparation, for instance to infuse a cake batter with flavour before you bake it.
So watch out for more sous-vide in onboard catering, it ticks a lot of the challenges, and read more in the next issue of Onboard Hospitality.