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Sous vide, or food preparation by vacuum-sealing: which equipment works best?

It`s always a professional chef with the right cooking method that delivers a flawless dish. The cooking method that guarantees the most consistent results is sous vide, or vacuum-sealing the food, then treating it at a meticulously chosen and precisely stable temperature.

Why do restaurants choose sous vide for meat, fish and vegetables?

The sous vide method guarantees a sumptuous, rich-tasting dish every time, but that`s not the only reason for choosing it. Chefs agree that sous vide provides the following advantages:

  • Taste. Food cooked in its own juices retains the most flavour, while additional additives such as oils, spices, etc., can further enhance it. Chefs also like to use the leftover juice for sauces.
  • Time savings. Since food preparation using the sous vide method requires a relatively low but stable temperature, it takes an hour or so to prepare, yet once the machine is set up it does almost everything else by itself. The kitchen staff can focus on other work during this time.
  • It is impossible to spoil food. Food cooked at the right temperature won`t overcook or burn, even if you forget to take it out in time.
  • A healthy choice. The food is cooked without added fat and retains all its beneficial properties, because the nutrients do not leach out into water or steam.
  • Consistency. Once the formula for the most appropriate temperature and timing is determined, the same results are obtained each time.

What equipment is needed for sous vide cooking?

The sous vide production process requires a knowledge of the features of the food and the required cooking temperatures, but it is simple. After choosing the products – meat, fish or vegetables, alone or with herbs and spices – they are put vacuum bags. The air is removed with a special vacuum packaging machine and they are placed in a temperature-controlled environment in water or steam for a set amount of time.

Therefore, there are three main purchases you`ll need to start preparing sous vide:

  • Vacuum packaging machines can be portable or stationary, and vacuum-seal different volumes of food.
  • Vacuum bags that are chosen according to the size of the vacuum packaging machine.
  • Circulators, which are smart pots or ovens with a sous vide function.

Food prepared using the sous vide method is very succulent and has a natural flavour. However, if you cook meat or fish steaks sous vide, you may want to finish them with a crispy crust. We recommend that you fry them very briefly (for about 30 seconds) in a pan, and drizzle them with the oil or butter in which they were fried. Any stainless steel or cast iron frying pan will do. We would like to remind you that a wide selection of cast iron pans is available in our online shop.

Advice from AUDORES

After years of helping restaurant and kitchen managers choose the right equipment, our experts have a few tips for those who want to start cooking sous vide. Here they are:

Vacuum packaging machines

The cost of the smallest compared to an industrial vacuum packaging machine varies by over ten times, but there are also significant differences in their applications. We advise you to consider your current and future needs, as well as to define the size and quantities of food to be cooked, when thinking about purchasing this appliance.

For example, one of Lavezzi`s largest and most advanced vacuum packaging machines, the industrial ULTRA model and its accessories, will allow you to prepare extremely large quantities of food and to vacuum-seal it with gas. Smaller appliances from the same manufacturer, such as the OPTIMA or BOXER vacuum packaging machines, are ideal for any kitchen with lower volumes of food to vacuum package. All of Lavezzi’s vacuum packaging machines have digital controls and precise parameters, while many can be upgraded with a range of accessories.

Vacuum bags

The vacuum bags used in restaurants come in different sizes – the largest can hold a whole fillet or fish, while the smaller ones can be used for portioning. Choose the right bag sizes according to the size of your vacuum packaging machine, and use a smaller machine and bags if you are planning to store and heat vacuumed portion-prepared food, thereby saving on both kitchen space and plastic.

Furthermore, attention should be paid to the quality of the bags. In the AUDORES e-shop, you can find special sous vide bags for vacuum packaging machines from the manufacturer Hendi, consisting of two layers of food-grade polyethylene and an outer layer of polyamide. These bags can be heated up to +110°C and will not lose their tight seal and will remain sturdy.

Sous vide cooking equipment

For the sous vide method, you can use any device that can maintain a stable, low temperature in a medium of water or steam for a fixed period of time. For sous vide cooking at home, people often use smart pots or portable circulators such as this Bartscher SV ST15L. However, for a more efficient kitchen, it`s a good idea to choose a more advanced appliance, such as the SV G16 with a memory function from the same manufacturer, or the ultra-advanced and intelligent SmartVide7 circulator with a Bluetooth function from Sammic. In the circulator section of our range, you will find dozens of expertly selected, high-quality solutions for sous vide production.

If you’d prefer to go the extra mile and cook sous vide in a versatile unit, we invite you to book a consultation with us – our team will offer you advice on how to choose a unit that will meet your needs and help reduce your restaurant costs. Contact us.

Sous vide