Food is sealed in airtight plastic bags and then immersed in a water bath held at a specific temperature using an immersion circulator. The method is used in some of the world’s top restaurants as an example of modern cooking turning to the world of science for new techniques to take dining to the next level. Chef Chris has been studying the technique, even keeping his own immersion circulator at ICE. Last week he and a group of students turned their attention to veal breast, short ribs and brisket — all tough cuts of meat that are traditionally braised for extended periods to become tender. Chef Chris set out to try three different sets of meat, all set at variable times and temperatures, to see which would result in tender meat, but being careful to make sure it was not mushy. He cooked all the cuts at 66ºC for 48 hours, 62ºC for 72 hours, 72ºC for 36 hours. Just to give you an idea of how low that temperature is, the boiling point of water is 100ºC.
So, how did everything turn out? We’ll have to wait and see. Before we were able to taste, Chef Chris and Chef Instructor James Briscione left to travel to Venice, Italy on April 17 to work with one of the world’s premier sous-vide equipment manufacturers — ORVED. This will enable Chef Chris and Chef James to learn more about the latest techniques, and then continue to share the methods with their students. They’ll be back later this week, so stay tuned for an update from their trip.