It’s not exactly a new technology, but the French idea emanating from the 70s to cook food to perfection in a tub of temperature controlled water is coming home. But while it’s a good concept and makes it near impossible to screw up, its one drawback is that it isn’t cheap.
Launched this week in Australia by celebrity chef Pete Evans, the Breville Sous Vide Supreme is a package designed to make it insanely simple to cook meat, fish, vegetables, desserts, and well anything you can seal in a vacuum bag to its perfect texture.
The pack requires the use of a vacuum sealer, making it possible for you to buy all your food in bulk, seal it, freeze it, and then take it out when you want to cook it.
When that happens, you merely throw the vacuum sealed food into the water bath at the desired temperature, keeping it there for as long as you need to, and then take it out and eat.
If the food is a protein, you can take it out, sear and caramelise it, and pretty it up, but the texture inside will be perfect, with a medium rare steak or perfectly cooked fish all possible from keeping your food in water.
“This really is a foolproof method of cooking dishes,” said chef Pete Evans, who has one at his home.
“What you’re trying to do is to make sure the internal temperature of your protein is at the desired ‘doneness,'” he said, adding that “it takes the guess work into putting [food] into an oven.”
The Breville Sous Vide allows for precision control of temperatures for between plus and minus half a Celsius degree, and with 11 litres of capacity, you can throw up to six pouches of food, a deboned lamb lent, or just one entire chicken.
Yes, you can throw a chicken into a water bath. It kind of brings The Simpsons to mind.
“Once you submerge at the desired temperature, meat is usually an hour to two hours,” said Evans. “You can’t overcook it.”
Technically you can, he later added, though that’s common sense: any food left in a tub of water for too long, regardless of the temperature control, is going to break down and turn to mush.
But keen cooks are unlikely to let it get that far, and since you can control your cooking in such a way, will probably get immense pleasure with this kitchen tool.
It isn’t cheap though, and carrying a recommended retail price of $799.95, this is not for the casual chef. Rather, such a big investment also means a constant purchasing of vacuum sealing bags, as most of the food you put into the water bath will be vacuum sealed. That said, it does come with a vacuum sealer (the Breville Fresh Keeper) and a grilling plate (Breville Thermal Pro Grill) making it a little more than just the water bath itself.
In essence, think just under a thousand dollars roughly tothis into your home. If cooking things perfectly without any effort is worth that to you, you’ll find the Breville Sous Vide Supreme in stores.
UPDATE (June 24): The good people at Breville have let us know that the Sous Vide Supreme kit for $799 is exactly that – a kit – and thus comes with the Sous Vide unit, a vacuum sealer, and a grilling plate, so we’ve updated our article.