From Conventional Chef to Sous Vide Specialist | The Tool Shed

From Conventional Chef to Sous Vide Specialist

One thing we love about what we do is getting the opportunity to meet so many fantastic chefs and showing them how our products can help them every day. We like a challenge and love it when we are able to turn a traditional chef’s view around. That happened to us recently with Damian Brown, Owner and Head Chef at The Chesil Rectory in Winchester, Hampshire. He has spent many years shunning the idea of investing in a Foodtek™ Thermal Circulator. But now he’s now fully sold.

Have you ever been to The Chesil Rectory?

If you haven’t already paid a visit to The Chesil Rectory in Winchester, Hampshire we recommend you go very soon.  It’s a fantastic place! The restaurant offers refined comfort food, using lots of fresh, local produce, as well as quality products from across the country. This includes poultry from the much-acclaimed Johnson and Swarbrick in Goosnargh, Preston.

You can choose from two menus. The first is a set menu with three starters, three mains and three desserts, with the choices changing every fortnight. Then there’s the individually priced menu with six starters, mains and desserts to choose from. It’s for those wanting something a little extra special!

Being a listed Tudor building, Damian has only a small kitchen to work with but the restaurant can cater for up to 80 on a Saturday night. People like to visit this place in winter because they get the fires going and offer homely cooked food. The meat dishes are just delicious and the game is particularly popular here.

Choosing the right tool for the job

A few months ago Damian admitted he had been curious about the effect of water bath cookery for some time. However his approach to cooking had always been old school so he had shunned the idea. Our director, Alex knew that Damian didn’t want to spend too much money so recommended the Foodtek™ Platinum Thermal Circulator. The product guarantees a temperature stability of 0.03°C between 20°C to 100°C on all cooking pots up to 58 litres, and is quickly assembled to any pot with its clamp.

The thermal circulator keeps the water moving so you don’t have a problem with hot spots, which you can get in a water bath.  A month after buying his first thermal circulator Damian invested in a second, as he wanted to be able to have them ready to use at different temperatures.

Small changes can make a big difference

Despite his reluctance to start using this technique Damian has now completely changed the way he approaches the service. Before, the emphasis was on getting the meat cooked and then focusing on the garnishes. But the water baths free up more time which has enabled Damian to be so much more creative. Another change is that the whole team really enjoy cooking fish, which Damian didn’t do before. He admits he is still learning every day and is regularly trying different things he can do with his new products.

Looking to the future

Over the next few months Damian wants to experiment with the sous vide technique further with plans to roast whole joints over a 48-hour period, rather than cooking individual portions as they do currently for their Sunday lunches. Our mouths are watering at the thought!