While not commonly discussed in the restaurant kitchen, the Sous Vide method of cooking has pretty much captivated America’s home chefs. The fact that you can vacum-seal a steak, place the sealed steak within a controlled water bath, and produce an excellent steak is so popular it’s still being marketed as the next big thing towards the current day (in comparison, the book Modernist Cuisine, the book that’s commonly regarded as the book that brought Sous Vide to the mainstream, came out almost five years ago). But there are a few reasons why machines such as Sous Vide immersion circulators aren’t home to every commercial kitchen out there.
Most chefs use Sous Vide cooking with a combi oven.
There’s a good and a bad to this. The good? The fact that most chefs can use their combi oven(s) to cook foods Sous-Vide has been established for some time now. And while the methods between the combi oven (using both convection heat and steam) and an immersion circulator (surrounding food in a water bath) are different, the end result is pretty much similar. Not to mention that unlike your convectional commercial cooking appliances, it’s doesn’t emit as much carbon emissions.
But the bad? Combi ovens are still quite expensive for most restaurants.
Vacuum-packing your food can go either way.
You don’t just dunk your food in the immersion machine or the combi oven. One of the most crucial steps you must do to cook your food Sous-Vide is to vacuum-pack your food. Now it doesn’t seem much at first, but the fact that you have to get the vacuuming machine and constantly supplying the packaging materials could mean that you have extra space and costs gone just because you want to cook Sous Vide.
Sous Vide cooking takes a very long time.
If you decide to use a commercial immersion ciculator in your commercial kitchen, it could take up to 24 hours to get your food cooked. Yep, twenty-four hours. That might not be a big problem if you run, say, a reservation-only fine dining restaurant. But if you choose to run a fast-casual place, it’s going to simply take too long to get your food ready. Remember, table turnover is one of the most important aspects of running a successful restaurant.