Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades are the creators of the Sous Vide Supreme water oven, nutritional specialists with a new book out, and sous vide enthusiasts. They recently gave me some of their time to answer my questions about the Sous Vide Supreme, the direction of their company, and how they use sous vide.
1) You are both physicians and authors, which isn't the background most cutting edge manufacturers have and you claim it all started with a room service pork chop! Can you relate the story of how you got into sous vide to our readers?
It's true that it all started with that pork chop. Being in the health and nutrition business for many years we were acquainted with the concept of sous vide cooking, but had not thought to attempt it ourselves until a few years ago when we enjoyed a remarkable double cut pork chop from the room service menu of a Las Vegas hotel. In our experience 'room service' and 'remarkable' don't usually appear in the same sentence, but what arrived was the most succulent, tender pork chop we?d ever eaten ? and we?re from the South, where they know how to cook a pork chop! The meat was perfectly cooked edge to edge with a golden sear on either side. It was, perhaps, the best pork chop we'd ever eaten. So much so, that the next morning, we dropped by the restaurant to inquire how it was cooked and were told it was prepared sous vide.
So memorable, in fact, was that chop, that when we returned home, we were determined to learn more about the sous vide technique, and purchase a sous vide machine for our home, but at that time, all the available machines were made for industrial lab use or commercial kitchens. Worse yet, the least expensive device would set us back more than $1500 and it looked like a science project. If one doesn?t exist, we reasoned, then that was a market deficiency we could cure.? (It might not be as odd as it seems, since Mike was an engineer before he was a doctor, and not unacquainted with how electrical things work.) To cure that deficiency in the market, we set about to assemble the team of designers, manufacturers, and culinary professionals, who have been integral to the development of the SousVide Supreme?.
2) The SousVide Supreme seems to currently be alone in the middle of the sous vide market and was the first machine to really look like an appliance instead of a scientific instrument.? Can you discuss the thought process behind the design and positioning of the Sous Vide Supreme?
As non-professional cooks who love to make and enjoy good food, we wanted to be able to do sous vide cooking regularly ourselves.? And to do that, we wanted something that we didn't have to spend a grand on or hide in the cupboard and pull out to use.? We wanted a sleek, counter-worthy appliance that would be at home next to our espresso machine and the other stainless, high-end appliances in our own kitchen.? In discussions with our design firm we specified that we wanted the look and feel of an Italian sports car -- sleek and beautiful and fun to drive. We knew that our first customers would be foodies, already familiar with the sous vide method, but that had been stymied by the cost and clunkiness of the apparatus required to do it.? So our initial goal was to create something that would appeal to these adventurous early adopters and also translate to the broader community, because our ultimate goal is that sous vide cooking will change the way the average home chef cooks.
3) What is your favorite meal to prepare sous vide?? What is the most amazing sous vide meal you've had?
It's really hard to pick a favorite, because everything is so good. If forced, since we come from the South, we love good pork, so there is that now famous (and amazing) room-service double cut pork chop.? And country-style pork ribs cooked sous vide are absolutely divine.? But a perfectly medium rare and fork tender piece of tri-tip is pretty special, too.? Then there's what it does to vegetables: beets are like candy, so flavorful and intensified in their ?beetiness.? And can you say risotto?? No standing and stirring for half an hour--just put the ingredients in the pouch and let it swim in the water bath for a bit and voila! Risotto!
4) Probably because of your medical and nutritional background one area you focus on is the health benefits of sous vide. Not only from the cooking method itself but also how it can shape your habits by preparing meals ahead of time.? Can you elaborate a little more?
The nature of sous vide cooking--vacuum sealed foods, cooked gently and precisely at lower temperatures--preserves the nutritional quality of food better than any aggressive high-temperature method.? Cooking in the vacuum-sealed pouch preserves the delicate fats that would be harmed by high heat and oxygen, and normally drip into the pan or grate, or evaporate into air. Additionally, the water soluble vitamins and antioxidants that would be lost in cooking liquids stay in the pouch with the food.? The vacuum environment means that delicate fats don't oxidize or peroxidize, reducing the free-radical burden that is a consequence of traditional methods of cooking. The nutritional essence of a given food remains intact.? The convenience factor is another thing all together. Because it just takes a few minutes of hands on time to prepare foods for sous vide cooking and the cooking itself is completely hands off, busy families can enjoy top quality food almost faster than they can wheel through the drive-thru lane.
5) Can you give us any insight into what new innovations we can expect from you in the future?
- Our product line has expanded rapidly this year, but we have much more in the pipeline.? At upcoming tradeshows we will be showing off product prototypes for both the commercial kitchen and home kitchen. This year we will launch: ?
- Our Chef Series commercial line of products, which will include the SousVide Supreme Chef water oven (available later this spring) which has been specifically designed for the heavier use of a restaurant/commercial kitchen and the affordable, low-profile SousVide Supreme VacMaster chamber vacuum sealer (available now.)
- SousVide Supreme Zip Pouches ? cooking stable zip-closure pouches to enable home cooks without a chamber vacuum sealer to prepare dishes containing liquids.? The pouches will be available with and without valves, in both quart (0.9 liter) and gallon (3.8 liter) sizes.
- SousVide Supreme Zip Sealer, a new hand-held vacuum sealer for use with SousVide Supreme Zip Pouches with valves to make vacuum sealing easier and more affordable.?
- We're also introducing a multi-colored line of the SousVide Supreme
- And finally, a new series of cookbook titles, including Sous Vide Meat, Sous Vide One Pots, Sous Vide Poultry, and Sous Vide Cocktails.
This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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