Mention “sous vide” and most people will think of food that has been cooked at a very low temperature. Sous vide cooking involves sealing ingredients in a vacuum pack bag and cooking in a water bath, a combination oven, or indeed any other cooker that can set and hold a target temperature. Essentially, sous vide cooking is about preparing dishes at an optimal cooking temperature; the temperature being sufficiently high enough to eradicate thermo-tolerant pathogens, whilst still being low enough to maximize flavour. Once cooked, the product is usually served immediately, or it can be seared and / or served or stored in a refrigerator (preferably below 3 degrees Celsius). This makes sous vide a flexible option for the busy caterer, as it enables high quality dishes to be prepared and stored in advance of busy service times.
Sous vide cooking has caught the imagination of chefs from all over the world because it is considered one of the best forms of cooking for enhancing the flavour and texture of food. When food is cooked at low temperatures there is minimal moisture loss. Foods, especially meats, become tender and more succulent when prepared at lower temperatures. This style of cooking also has a reputation for enhancing the visual appearance of food as well as its texture.
However, food cooked at low temperatures has the potential to cause food poisoning because there is a risk that pathogens may be able to survive the cooking process; therefore only those chefs who fully understand the risks associated with sous vide, and have received the appropriate food safety training, should engage in it.
Chefs must ensure they take all necessary steps to mitigate the risk of food poisoning, and that includes only using the freshest of ingredients from a reputable and traceable source. They must also be totally familiar with the equipment, temperatures and times to be used in the cooking process, and to have received the correct and sufficient training.
Personal and environmental hygiene is also extremely important in sous vide cooking; food handlers must make sure that they personally are scrupulously clean, as well as the kitchen in which it the food is to be prepared.
To summarise: Sous vide cooking should only be carried out by professionally trained chefs who fully understand this particular cooking technique and the potential food poisoning hazards associated with it.
If you would like to have your staff professionally trained in sous vide cooking and the food safety training necessary, please contact us today.