Photo: Cuisine Solutions

What Is Sous Vide? An Explainer On The French Cooking Method

You’ve probably heard the term “sous vide”. You’ve even most likely eaten food that was cooked “sous vide” without knowing it. In lead up to the International Sous Vide Day Celebration brunch at Conrad Washington DC on January 26, we put together an explainer with everything you need to know about sous vide.

What is it? 

Sous vide is French for “under vacuum,” which describes a cooking technique in which food is vacuum-sealed, then slow cooked in hot water. The International Sous Vide Day festivities coincide with the birthday sous vide’s greatest pioneer, Dr. Bruno Goussault. 

Why does it matter? 

The cooking method allows for food to cook at a precise temperature to enhance flavors and maintain moisture, consistency and nutrients that are often lost during conventional cooking techniques. Meats are extremely tender due to the slow cooking process and, since the food is vacuum sealed, there is minimal processing and preservatives needed to keep it fresh. Also, because the scientific technique is precise, the risk of overcooking or under cooking the food is almost zero. 

Cuisine Solutions, headquartered in Northern Virginia is the global authority on sous vide cooking – they have pioneered, perfected and popularized this innovative slow cooking technique that has been adopted by chefs from around the world. Big names such as Thomas Keller, Mark Miller and Daniel Boulud have worked with Cuisine Solutions in developing their own sous vide recipes. Even locally, a number of chefs offer up sous vide items on the menu.

The sous vide technique is also used in making cocktails – whether to infuse liquors with flavors or to use fruit, vegetable peels and seeds to make flavored syrups. For example: The peels and insides of a butternut squash or the trimming from a pumpkin, that would normally go unused, can be put through the sous vide technique to get an intensely flavored liquid used to enhance other dishes. 

Sous vide prepared items are gaining popularity worldwide and can be found in school programs, airlines and cruise ships, hotels, restaurants and retail locations, including major retailers such as Starbucks and Costco (look for the sous vide egg bites!). 

Where to try it? 

You’ll see sous vide items labeled on many restaurants across town, but you can also experience it at home by purchasing from My Cuisine Solutions. They offer a number of options – I especially love the 72-hour short rib, vegan chili, mushroom risotto and butter chicken. The coconut chai oatmeal is also delicious! 

You can also learn more about the French roots of this technique while enjoying innovative cuisine and craft cocktails prepared by Cuisine Solutions acclaimed chefs at the International Sous Vide Day celebration brunch on January 26 at the Conrad Washington DC Estuary restaurant. It’s going to be fantastic – special guest chef Kyle Connaughton of SingleThread Farm in California, which earned three Michelin Stars in 2018, is among the group of talented culinary innovators showcased at this brunch along with local chefs like Estuary’s Bryan Voltaggio, Unconventional Diner’s David Deshaies, DBGB Kitchen’s Nicholas Tang, Equinox’s Todd Gray and more.

The afternoon begins with a culinary experience featuring artful drinks, created by incorporating sous vide techniques, passed appetizers and concludes with brunch at Estuary, showcasing a number of food stations spotlighting signature sous vide proteins, as well as sous vide creations prepared by DC’s leading restaurants. 

International Sous Vide Day Celebration is on January 26 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Tickets for this event are all-inclusive, priced at $125 per person and are available for purchase here. All proceeds from this event will benefit Careers through Culinary Arts Program

Conrad Washington DC: 950 New York Ave. NW, DC; 202-844-5900; www.eventbrite.com