Do You Sous Vide?


While checking out the food blogs this morning, I saw this wonderful little video on the The “sous vide” style low boil described in the video is a simplistic, yet effective variation on the much more precise method used by some professional chefs. (I tried it  and the eggs poached that way-but for a little less time- are really excellent!)

Sous vide literally means under pressure vacuum (thanks to Addélice’s comment) and refers to a cooking technique in which the chef seals food into an airtight plastic bag with a vacuum-packer (like a food saver or Seal-A-Meal) and then simmers it in water at a low and precise temperature.

The sous vide cooking method is memorialized in the book Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide by Thomas Keller, famed chef-proprietor of  Per Se in the Time Warner building in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle and The French Laundry in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. The book includes commercial preparation of receipts like Compressed Watermelon and Hayden Mango “Yolk”Salad of Heirloom Beets, Anjou Pear, Mache with Candied Walnuts and Blue Goat Cheese Coulis;   Air-cured Waygu, Treviso Leaves, Compressed Asian Pear and Whipped Pine Nut Oil.

The secret to sous vide is discovering the exact temperature required to achieve the most sublime results. My wife and I discovered these sublime results when we celebrated our anniversary last august at Per Se.


  1. Addelice says:

    well, sous vide litereally means under vacuum, not under pressure.

  2. BobBorger says:

    Thanks for you comment. I appreciate it. I just IM'd a friend in France and she set me straight as well. Actually we were "dancing" in Second LIfe.

    “sous vide = without air and in a package !
    thing is in a package and without air! without any germs !
    sous vide= vacuum packed”

  3. Ans says:

    I am confused… why is it called under vacuum cooking, when only the sealing happens under vacuum? the actual cooking does not have to do anything with vacuum… that's misleading don't you think?

  4. Addelice says:

    The actual cooking does have a lot to do with vacuum – air is evacuated from the pouch and then sealed.
    The title of Keller's book is a bit misleading but also correct: There is low air pressure inside the bag, but the food inside the pouch is compressed by the air pressure from the outside (since the pouch is flexible). You are right, it's confusing.