History of Sous Vide

The history of cooking is a long one, and it’s full of interesting facts, insights, and revolutions that changed the course of human history. In fact, there are many that believed the development of humanity and civilization itself can be attributed in large part to the invention of cooking.

The human mind requires a great deal of energy to power, and humanity’s ability to cook allowed for easier digestion, and greater energy which in turn could fuel our ever present search for knowledge, and drive toward innovation.

While it may seem as though cooking has essentially run its course, and the revolutions of the cooking world are only found in history books, the reality is that this could not be further from the truth. The fact is that cooking is an art and science that is and always has been in the midst of great change.

The world of cooking today is every bit as exciting as it ever was, and this fact can perhaps be seen most clearly in the recent increase in popularity observed in sous vide cooking.

While sous vide is gaining popularity in the household, the history of sous vide is an old one, and worth exploring as it is – in a sense – a microcosm for the greater world of cooking.

Here to help you better understand where sous vide has come from, and where it may go from here is a brief history of sous vide cooking, and a small celebration of those that have allowed the cooking method to grow and thrive in the modern world.

Looking Back

The fact that sous vide cooking has worked its way into the kitchens of so many homes across the world is truly amazing. The sous vide cooking method was once reserved only for the kitchens of fine dining restaurants, and the idea that it could be an accessible means of cooking for people all over the world was almost unheard of.

While the recent developments seen in sous vide cooking may be unbelievable, the reality is that sous vide has been growing and adapting for far longer than many people think. In fact, the history of sous vide cooking can be traced back to the late 18th century.

Sous vide’s early development is widely attributed to a man by the name of Sir Benjamin Thompson. Sir Benjamin Thompson initially developed a very early and somewhat crude sous vide method, the would prove to be the foundation of well over 200 years of development, fine tuning, and eventually the creation of the sous vide method that many renowned chefs and amateur cooks alike have adopted all over the world.

While the development of the sous vide method initially took off in the late 18th century, it was not until much later that sous vide once again resurfaced and became a part of the public consciousness as it relates to cooking. It was the mid 1960’s before sous vide, and its powerful almost unparalleled ability to produce high quality results again surfaced, but it does not surfacr in th exact way that one might expect.

The emergence of sous vide in the 1960’s was not directly related to cooking, but instead was seen as an effective means of preservation. While sous vide is in fact an effective means of preservation, limiting it to such narrow confines is almost tragic in that sous vide cooking is truly the most revolutionary aspect of this centuries old means of preparing food.

Though the 1960’s were largely about rediscovering sous vide cooking, a time would come in which the true power and use of sous vide cooking would be better understood and harnessed by the general public, and people would not have to wait long. The 1970’s, in fact, saw the rise of sous vide cooking, and it in essence can all be attribute to just one man: Georges Pralus.

Georges Pralus initially discovered the effectiveness of sous vide cooking while he was perfecting his method of cooking froie gras. Georges Pralus determind that the sous vide method was by far the most effective means of cooking froie gras and set about spreading the word about the revolutionary new (or at least recently rediscovered) means of cooking. Today we know, of course, that sous vide is great for far more than froie gras.

The most recent, and perhaps greatest contributor to the sous vide method is Bruno Goussault, who is well known in sous vide circles for a few different reasons. The first is Bruno Goussault’s dedication to the actual science of sous vide cooking. Goussault dedicated many years to learning about the ideal temperature and time to prepare different foods, and perhaps best of all sharing these new discoveries with other cooks.

Rather than keeping his sous vide revelations to himself, Goussault set about meeting with many of the world’s top chefs to teach them about the sous vide method, and how they could use it to improve not only the quality of their food during preparation, but also the efficiency of their preparations. Without this tireless effort on the part of Goussault, it is possible that the world would not have sous vide cooking, or at least we may not have it the form that we love and appreciate each and every day.

Final Thoughts

The history of sous vide cooking is every bit as rich and full as the history of cooking itself. Just as the history of cooking has no real end, only continual development, so too does the world of sous vide cooking constantly evolve.

It is hard to imagine even sixty years ago that sous vide cooking would be a staple of the fins dining restaurant, and even more unbelievable that it would come to find its place in home kitchens all across the globe.

One thing is for sure: sous vide cooking is every bit as exciting as it was in 1799, and the future promises to bring more developments, which will keep people coming back to sous vide for another 200 years or more. If you’re looking to get in on the sous vide revolution, check out our review page to find the best sous vide cookers for sale.

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