By Wayne MacPhail
Joe Agostino loves giving his food a bath. Steak, chicken, vegetables, fruit, even custard. Agostino, the chef at the Broadview Hotel in Toronto, has been dropping vacuum sealed bags of food into pots and vats of temperature-controlled waters for five years now. "It removes the human error," explains Agostino. The cooking technique is called sous vide (under vacuum) and has been restaurants' secret prep weapon for decades. Basically food is vacuum sealed and then left in pots of circulating water that's maintained at a temperature much lower than boiling for prolonged periods - hours, even days. The result? Perfectly cooked food, evenly heated all the way through. Bacteria aren't an issue, even at the lower temperatures because the duration of the cooking kills as effectively as higher heat. The advantage? For chefs and home cooks it means food can be perfectly prepared ahead of time, kept cold until needed then seared, glazed or heated just before serving. Thanks to inexpensive home sous vide units, the technique is making in-roads into home kitchens. Chef Agonisto shows us how it's done in the our exclusive sous video. Want even more information. Agostino suggests Under Pressure, by Thomas Keller as an ideal primer. Want to try it yourself? Agostino suggests the Anova Circulator.