Sous-Vide with Heston Blumenthal in Chicago

October 22 2009 - 6:15 AM

Heston_blumenthalIf you watch Top Chef or eat out often enough chances are that you've come across the cooking process of sous vide. It's where your cooking is primarilly done by vacuum sealing proteins and placing them in a hot water bath. The temp of that bath is the goal temp of the food so you'll never over-cook anything. Since the food is vacuum sealed, you also won't have to worry about the heat drying your food out.

In any case Sous Vide Supreme is bringing this cooking technology to your home. Until now you were limited to the uneven temp control from hacked crock pots or really expensive immersion circulators. Considering the hack will run you $150ish you may want the control and programability of a smart device.

So… sure I want one. What foodie wouldn't? But do I need one? Who better than Chef Heston Blumenthal to convince me that I do. How would he do that? With scrambled eggs? Poached pears? Perfect chicken? Steak? Salmon?

How do you inspire the home chef? It's so easy even Chef Blumenthal, can do it..?

He started out talking about what he's doing at The Fat Duck, which for the past several years has been one of the top 5 restaurants in the world depending on the year and list… He mentioned his Mad Hatter's mock turtle soup dish. Scroll down and click on the 'Mock Turtle Soup' video. It's a very interesting dish to say the least. It has a great concept to it and technically, it demonstrates a manical attention to detail paired with inspiration.  It becomes more interesting that he is the rep for this device which he says are at least as accurate as the $1K+ science equipment he's using in his restaurant. He also says that he uses the sous vide method with all of his proteins. He finishes them in different ways to achive certain textures, colors, carmelizations, etc.

HB_SV The chicken was perfect and so was the steak. The salmon and eggplant started to address the range that 5º here and 10º there will afford you. But the special dishes were the first and last.

The final dish was a poached pear with, among other ingredients, honey and a late harvest riesling. After hearing about it I wondered why the need to add the honey. That riesling should pick it up on its own. What I didn't realize was that the alcohol from the wine was still clearly there and added a stoutness to a poached pear that I wasn't expecting and one that was dependent on the sous vide method.

The first course was the kicker. Scrambled eggs. Sure there were truffles on top but they weren't
'barely set'. They were 'NOT set'. It was a custard of scrambled eggs. I would never, maybe could never, do that on the stove top. Cholesterol be damned they were tasty. It reminded me of the egg sandwich I had at the Charlotte Hotel in London. The Brits sure know how to do eggs. Whether it's worth the price of the Sous Vide Supreme I'll leave up to you but know that they were the best scrambled eggs I've ever had.