Welcome to Vollrath University. I’m Chef Rich, and we’re here today to talk about sous vide. We’d like to explain to you what sous vide is, and then we’d like to show you the process, all the way from our vacuum pack unit, through the process, to the presentation. Really, sous vide is a method or technique of cooking. It’s precise cooking, designed to maintain the integrity of the food. We’re not going to overcook it or undercook it with sous vide. It’s precise, controlled cooking. It also has some other advantages, one being we place the product in the water bath, we walk away; we can do another task in the kitchen and come back when the product is ready. It also reduces shrinkage and waste, maintains the integrity of the food, and prescribes a consistent result so that patrons come back to the restaurant each and every time and get the same exact meal. Vacuum packing then is the first step in sous vide. So today we’re going to prepare a fillet. So we want to take our fillet and season it. And by the way, when you’re using sous vide, you want to use the freshest ingredients possible. Because we’re cooking at low temperatures, we always want to make sure our ingredients are as fresh as they can be. We’re going to place the product in this, in this case in our Vollrath In-Chamber Vacuum Pack Machine. For more information on vacuum packaging, please see us at Vollrathuniversity.com for other videos on vacuum packaging. Let’s vacuum pack our fillet. Okay, so now our fillet is vacuum packed. It’s ready to be placed in the water bath. Sous vide uses a water bath because the water is the most efficient way to transfer the heat. We can illustrate this by thinking of an oven. We can put our hand into a 180 degree oven and hold it in there for quite a long time. But we couldn’t put our hand into a 180 degree water bath. We’d burn ourselves because the water’s much better at transferring the heat than the air is. Okay, so we’ve got our fillet now in the water bath. Sous vide is an excellent method for cooking all sorts of proteins, seafood, shell fish, vegetables, and even fruit. It’s a wide variety of items we can place in a sous vide. So let’s now talk about the controls of this Vollrath sous vide circulator. First on the pump itself, or the unit itself, on the back we have a pump speed, a variable pump speed. We have it at the low setting right now, just to gently move some of the water around. We could put it on high speed if we wanted to move that water a little bit quicker, but for this, it’s perfect at that low speed. On the front of the unit you’ll see three presets. Those are nice to be able to set three distinct temperatures, depending on the different recipes, so if you have a staff you can tell them setting number one is for fish, setting number two is for steaks and so forth. The high speed rotary knob shows the display here, we’re showing current temperature of the water. We press the knob once. That shows the preset that we want the water to maintain. Now with cleanup of the Vollrath unit, you can see it’s a system, it’s a designed piece to fit together to be on the counter at all times. The pump assembly is separate so it can come out, but really for this unit we have on the end a nice valve so it’s easier to clean. You don’t have to pick up a big heavy bath of water to try and take it to the sink and dump it. At the end of the day simply go to the valve and empty out the water. Okay so now we’re going to leave our tenderloins to cook for a little while here. I’m actually going to let these set now for an hour at this 138 degrees. We could also use a cook chill type technique. Let’s say we were doing a duck. We could prepare our duck sous vide. We could then put it into a quick chill, into an ice bath to chill it down, to store, and then at service to re-thermalize in the sous vide, place the item in the bath then just to warm it through or heat the product through. So in this case of the fillet, we’re going to leave it in there for an hour to cook. Again we could do something where it was more of a cook chill process so you wouldn’t have an hour of cook time per service items. Also with sous vide, there are advantages of being able to have a larger window of doneness. These fillets, as I said, are about an hour for an inch thick fillet at this temperature, but we’re really going to have a little bit more than that because we’re not going to ever exceed that temperature. We could leave them in there for longer, so that window for doneness as I call it, or the area of forgiveness is a lot greater with sous vide, versus, say on a stovetop where you’re relying on the skill of a chef to pull it off that very hot sauté pan right when the item’s done. It’s an excellent method as I said for fish, seafood and lobster, as you’re going to get right to that precise temperature that you want, but never overcook it; and, again your window of over doneness on delicate items like that is much, much larger. Okay, now our fillets have been in for about an hour. Let’s go and take a fillet out of the sous vide bath. Let’s get ready to sear this now; give it that nice color that we’re all so familiar with. So to do this today what we’re going to do is put a nice carbon steel fry pan in a Vollrath induction unit. I love cooking on induction as it’s another very precise method of cooking, very fast and efficient. So we’re going to use a carbon steel pan to give this a nice, browned exterior. Now we could also do this on a char broiler—I’m going to add a little bit of oil here. If we wanted those nice markings we get from a char broiler, we could do this sear on a char broiler. Let’s just go ahead and use our sauté pan here today—a nice hot pan to get a nice sear on the exterior of this. Also searing it helps raise the temperature of it. We’re using low temperature cooking, in this case 138 degrees. Most of us are used to receiving a steak on our plate that’s a little bit warmer, so by doing this spinal sear, we’re also going to raise the exterior of the steak temperature just a little bit. We’re not going to really change the interior, or the core temperature. We’re just going to go ahead here and brown this up a little bit on the exterior. So now let’s just go ahead and show you the advantages here of the sous vide. As I said, we had this fillet in the sous vide water bath for about an hour. We just seared it. Now, just to show you the advantages of sous vide, after one hour’s time, just look at the interior of that perfectly done, medium fillet. So now we plate this up for a nice dinner, and maybe use some vegetables here that we have prepared for a nice plated sous vide-prepared fillet. As you can see, the sous vide process offers a system with very high control, a high level of efficiency, and most importantly, a high level of quality time and time again. I’m Chef Rich and thank you for joining us in Vollrath University.
In this video, Chef Rich of Vollrath will demonstrate how to cook a fillet using the sous vide method. From vacuum packaging the meat at the beginning of preparation to displaying the meat at the end, he highlights the benefits of sous vide cooking.