IF it’s culinary and it’s got a French name, it has to be hot, hip and happening. Non?
The latest trendy food preparation gig dished up by the tres hottest restaurants is sous vide. Sounds delectable, don’t it? Like a saucy chick called Vida, or something like that. But saucy it ain’t, and it is about as sexy a method of cooking as opening a can or microwaving fish-fingers.
Sous vide means without air. When used in cooking it can also be translated as without soul, love, passion or employment of the senses. For quite simply sous vide cooking means cooking the fucking thing in a plastic bag ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ plain and simple, no buts, ums or ah’s.
Let us thus go to one of these trendy restaurants such as Quartier Francais, La Colombe or Bizerca and order a sous vide something, like a loin of veal. What happens is that the ingredient is slightly browned in a pan, shoved in a plastic bag and all the air removed from the bag. Dump the plastic covered veal into some warm water and wait until the heat from the water cooks the meat. Open up, slap it onto plate and your sous vide veau avec massive price tag is ready.
Bag-in cooking was the kind of thing my mom used to do for us in London when she had no time and had to hurry to get to the bingo hall before the bar opened. We had boil-in-bag Madras Curry, boil-in-a-bag Chicken a la King and boil-in-a-bag Fish Stew. At least Heinz and Craft and these food companies had the decency of taking the trouble to cook the stuff before bunging it in the bag and selling it at Tesco.
Restaurant sous vide is an impersonal, short-cut way of cooking. You can’ touch, feel or smell your ingredient or its reaction to the cooking process. Chuck in pot, smoke a joint while reading Elizabeth David, take the thing out, unwrap and serve. To rapturous applause of restaurant punters who don’t know what’s happening in the kitchen.
Witnessing the execution of sous vide the other day, the assistant chef smiled. “Easy, isn’t it. And with all the hassles kitchen staff give us, it’s a pity we can’t sous vide everything.”
Le short cut with sous vide.
-,,,,,,,,, Darian Morgan
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