Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Creative Series

Polyscience is one of the most trusted sous vide brands in the professional kitchen, but they generally price themselves out of the range of the home market.   When they released the Sous Vide Professional they managed to bring the price point down to 799.95$, which was still several hundred dollars away from the consumer appliance range.

Today, Polyscience is consolidating the brand names of their circulators by renaming the 7306 aka the Sous Vide Thermal Circulator to the Sous Vide Professional - Classic Series.  It also got some minor cosmetic changes to reflect the rebrand.

The Sous Vide Professional will henceforth be known as the Sous Vide Professional - Chef Series.

But this probably isn't interesting to anyone except for myself.  Cause, as someone who covers the sous vide appliance market, I can tell you this: no one cares about this stuff except for me and like ten other people.

The exciting news (to you) is that Polyscience also announced the Sous Vide Professional - Creative Series.  The Creative series is "Specifically designed for the casual user", which is code for "This is the new consumer option from Polyscience".  Priced at 499.95$, this model has a number of differences from the Chef Series.  

But lets get to the nitty gritty.  The Creative can heat a 20 liter bath to a maximum temperature of 99ºC within 0.1ºC, and has a fixed flow rate of 6 liters per minute.  Contrast that to the SVP Chef which can heat a 30 liter bath to a maximum temperature of 100ºC within 0.07ºC, and has a variable flow rate of up to 12 liters per minute.  According to the website, the Creative takes up the same amount of space as the Chef (14.125 x 3.875 x 7.375 in), but is significantly lighter (5.5 pounds versus 9.5 pounds).

There are some other things you give up, including some failure mode indicators, the cookbook and the storage/carry case.

For the home user, the Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Creative Series sacrifices things you won't care about, and gives you (most of) the things you wanted at a pretty great price point.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nomiku Update/Thoughts

For those not paying attention, the Nomiku is a kickstartered approach to launching an immersion circulator company.  The exciting news is that the Nomiku team has exceeded its $200,000 goal.  And by exceeded, I mean, they blew the doors off.  They still have over a week left and they have raised a total of $309,073.

Most of the money raised has been through 829 people effectively pre-ordering the Nomiku at 299$.  While I think the fact that geek new outlets covering this stuff overlaps nicely with the Nomiku's target market, I also suspect that this is really good news for anyone in the sous vide business.

Even if it means another competitor.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nomiku: Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

I had been quietly stalking following Q and Abe from the first time I heard they were working with haxlr8r to prototype a new sous vide cooker.  Yesterday, to much fanfare, they kickstarted Nomiku, an immersion circulator targeting home/amateur cooks.

They are off to a fantastic start, having already raised 16% of their $200,000 goal.  But less about their successes and more about the product and what I think it means.  As we know, I am of the mindset that the more products out there, the better it is for everyone right now.  At some point there will be consolidation in the sous vide appliance market, but only after it's been proven.  And by proven, I mean, when Salton starts shipping one.

But, if you are reading this, you are probably just a sous vide nerd.  So, nerd, eat some hot spec:

Heater output: 750 Watts.
Circulation rate: 10 L/min.
Temperature accuracy: 0.2° C.
Display: 1.3" full color OLED.
Minimum water height: 4 inches.
Voltage: 120V (US + Canada, shipping in December 2012) and 220V versions (the 220V version will work with 220V-240V, and will ship in March 2013)
Capacity: 5 Gallons
Temperature range: 0ºC - 100ºC
Price: 299$ USD

Some quick commentary from the me:
  1. 300$ for an immersion circulator is excellent pricing.  The price point clearly says "we're coming after you, Sous Vide Supreme".  (The SousVide Supreme Demi is priced at 320$). 

  2. While it's no match for the Polyscience Sous Vide Professional, at half the price it promises to deliver way more than half the value.  

  3. I love the simplicity of the UI.  Pretty brilliant, just turn the dial. 

  4. The design looks pretty shnazzy and modern, but I have to say that the form factor does make it look like a garden hose nozzle (or a g-spot stimulator for a water buffalo).  
It's a great project, so you should go to Kickstarter right now and contribute!

Monday, May 21, 2012

SousVide Supreme Chef

Eades Appliance Technology LLC, the folks who brought you the SousVide Supreme and the SousVide Supreme Demi, just launched their third appliance: the SousVide Supreme Chef.  Along with this commercial version of the original SousVide Supreme, they have launched a new website to go along with it.  

The price of the SVS Chef is 750$ USD, which I believe is telegraphing where they think they can win against other, more established players in the commercial sous vide market: larger kitchens.  The only way I can see a purchasing justification of 250$ more than the SVS is that there are kitchens where UL and NSF ratings influence the decision.

It's a challenging price point, because for an extra $50, you can purchase a Polyscience Sous Vide Professional.  The SVP can handle about three times the volume that an SVS Chef can with a higher degree of accuracy.  Being circulated, it is also going to be able to recover from the temperature drop when larger quantities of food are placed in the water bath.  These factors are pretty compelling from a cook's perspective.

Of course, important to note, that there could be other differentiators to establish value at this price point, but I haven't seen them yet.  While I was researching the SVS Chef I did uncover that there could be another variation of the product that we haven't seen yet.  The UL listing for the SVS Chef had two model numbers, the SVS10CN (a.k.a. The SVS Chef) and the SVS10C, which could be something we haven't seen yet.

Ultimately, I think having a model geared towards the professional kitchen makes a lot of sense.  I am curious to see how the SVS Chef fares in the marketplace.

Anyone considering purchasing one?  If so, tell us in the comments below?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SideKIC: Sous Vide Review (Accuracy/Stability)

Welcome to the third part of my ongoing review of the SideKIC.  The first piece covered SideKIC esthetics, the second part covered SideKIC usage and now we are going to talk about the initial heat up times, the temperature accuracy and temperature stabilization (what happens when we introduce cold product to the water bath).

Initial Heatup 
The first thing I wanted to understand was how long it would take for the SideKIC to bring a water bath up to temperature.  I am less interested in being mathematically precise and more interested in what this would be like for someone who was new to sous vide cooking.  I added 6.25 quarts of hot tap water to a stockpot.  This amount happened to be what it took to get the water levels to the correct place on the SideKIC (between the first and second windows).

I turned on the device, and set the the temperature to 155ºF.  The SideKIC read the initial water temperature as 129ºF.  To be honest, I don't actually do much cooking in the 155 temperature range.  I am usually doing sub 140ºF or over 170ºF temperatures.   With an uncovered and uninsulated stockpot, it took 32 minutes to come up to temperature.

Overall, the time it took to come up to temperature was longer than what I have experienced with other equipment, but it wasn't unreasonable.  This can also be mitigated by adding hot water from a tea kettle to bring the water bath up faster.

Using an external thermometer, I tested multiple spots in the bath for temperature variance, and found that overall the SideKIC kept temperatures to within .7ºF.  For 99% of the cooking you are likely to do, I think this is totally acceptable.  It is also important to note that there are limitations in accuracy with thermometers, and the temperature range didn't exceeded the margin of error.

My stability test was to use the SideKIC to heat up and stabilize a six quart water bath at 140ºF.   Once stabilized I added a hunk of frozen beef.  By hunk, I mean, 430 grams of 2.5" thick chuck roast, that had been hiding in my freezer for quite some time.   After I added the beef, the temperature in the water bath dropped down to 136ºF.  It took about nine minutes for the water bath to return to 140ºF.  After that, the SideKIC overshot by about .6ºF.  It took about another ten minutes to stabilize.  I never observed the temperature of the water bath get much more than .6 degrees off.  Which, again, with the margin of error for my thermometer.  Obviously, adding more frozen product might impact both the bounce back time as well as the degree of temperature overshoot.

The initial heatup can be time consuming, but the accuracy and stability is totally fine for most home use.  You might want to be careful about adding too much frozen product, because I assume if you lower the temperature of the water bath too low you are going to experience a fairly significant stabilization time as the heater will be working overtime to get back up to temperature.

I cannot guarantee that my results will match anyone else's results.  I did my best to perform tests in a way that would be accurate and make sense to readers of this blog.  If you think I should have done things differently, let me know!

Product: SideKIC Immersion Circulator
Manufacturer: ICA Kitchen, LLC
Available at

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sous Vide Supreme On America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen Video
America's Test Kitchen talks sous vide and uses the Sous Vide Supreme as the basis of the conversation.  I have a lot of opinions about sous vide, as a trend, as a technique and as a market.  At the end of the day though, I am really just enthusiastic about it all.  Which is why, whenever it gets any mainstream coverage, I approve.

I do have a couple of issues with the video:

  1. They give SousVide Supreme all of the credit for the increased adoption of sous vide in the the consumer kitchen.  While there is no doubt that the SousVide Supreme has been pretty important in legitimizing the consumer sous vide market, there are a number of factors that have contributed to the rise of sous vide in the home.  For example, the increased use of sous vide in television shows like Top Chef or Iron Chef America have also contributed to peoples awareness of this technique.
  2. They claim that there are no competitors to the SousVide Supreme which I think is just not true.  There are other devices like the Sous Vide Professional (Polyscience),  Fresh Meals Magic (Fresh Meals Solutions) and most recently the SideKIC (IcaKitchen).
  3. They claim that you cannot overcook your food, which is an easy mistake to make.  Heck, I made this mistake.  While it is true that you can't burn your food, or go past whatever the water temperature of your bath is, you can absolutely overcook your food.  Overcooking just has a different meaning with low temperature cookery.  Low temperature overcooking can be as simple as drying out your short rib, or even basically dissolving a swordfish steak.
Overall, hard to complain.  Visibility like this is great for the whole market.  

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