Most foodies have heard of the term Sous Vide, but what does it really mean? French for “under vacuum,” this technique involves cryovacking food and then cooking it in a circulated temperature-controlled water bath for an extended period of time. The sous-vide method is used in several gourmet restaurants by world renowned chefs such as Heston Blumenthal Paul Bocuse, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adrià, Joël Robuchon, and Charlie Trotter. The Sous Vide technique allows chefs to perfectly cook a variety of foods that can then be “picked up to order” during the pressure of a busy service. Case in point – a beautiful short rib that is cooked in a circulator and then kissed on the grill before being plated and sent out of the kitchen.
This cooking technique, wildly popular in New York, is being used in Colorado kitchens as well –but under the radar. Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow in food in the absence of oxygen and produce the deadly botulinum toxin, so sous-vide cooking must be performed under carefully controlled conditions to avoid botulism poisoning. Unless you have a HAACP plan in place, using Sous Vide is a health department violation.
That is unless you are Chef Kelly Whitaker of Pizzeria Basta. Kelly is the first chef in Boulder to write a HAACP plan and submit it for approval. There is no stove in the Pizzeria Basta kitchen and when Chef Whitaker decided to add entrees to his dinner menu he needed a way to do them well and finish them in the wood fired oven. His logical choice? Sous Vide. While his plan has not been 100% implemented yet, like I said it’s still pending approval, Chef Whitaker is turning out delicious pizzas, a short rib and a series of pastas that will keep you coming back for more.
Check out Pizzeria Basta on Saturday August the 7th, as they host a wine dinner with Infinite Monkey Theorem. Enjoy three courses with paired wines for just $39 per person. Call 303-997-8775 for reservations.
Pizzeria Basta – 3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, Colorado. 303-997-8775.