My wife and I have been watching the cooking series Top Chef for years and have always been amazed when one of the chefs uses a water oven to cook up a dish. One of the first times we saw it used was with Richard Blais - one of the favorite Top Chef contestants of all time. He finally won the show in April 2011. Back to the water oven. The real question is - how do you use one? There are lots of videos online, including several from SousVide with Richard Blais actually cooking up food with their product. Some review sites call the water oven a "slow cooker". You vacuum seal the food you are going to cook - say a steak. Then immerse the vacuum sealed steak into the water oven and let it cook at a preset temperature. Seems simple enough - right? Well, overall consumer reviews are very positive for the SousVide and celebrity chefs around the world are supporting this product as well.
Check out the Richard Blais promotional video below:
Choosing a Water Oven
When we went to look for a water oven, I was very surprised to find just one option, the SousVide Supreme. All the salespeople pretty much told us that there were was no competition. I did some more research and found that the Sharp Healsio water oven does exist but only in some Asian countries. So our search was limited to one product. A note to consumers, the SousVide Supreme SVS-10LS SousVide Supreme Water Oven will not disappoint. About the only thing some owners mention is that the price is a bit high. At close to $400 the SousVide Supreme is not cheap, but the ability to cook foods with an alternative method will not only surprise your dinner guests, they will be amazed with the flavors and even cooking process that the water oven provides. One added product you will need is a vacuum sealer, some of the better ones will cost you $200+, so be prepared for that cost as well. The SousVide allows you to put the airtight vacuum pouch into a "water bath" as some note. With a precise temperature control, you get near perfect results. You may wonder what 'sous vide' means in French - it translates to 'under vacuum' - and the first water oven was developed back in the 70's. Where can you buy these? We found them online at Amazon.com, in stores like Sur La Table, and at the official website for SousVide Supreme.
Best Water Oven:
RECOMMENDED - The top rated water oven on the market is the SousVide Supreme SVS-10LS which goes for $400. I like that the interior is ample sized and the dimensions of the product are 9.9" x 12.6" x 6.8" (FOR THE INTERIOR). Features include a timer that displays to 1 minute resolution and a settings variable from 0 to 99 hours. When the cycle has ended an audible beep will keep repeating itself. The temperature display is a digital LED screen that has adjustable increments of 1 degree. The range goes from 86 degrees up to 210 degrees. The total volume is 11.2 liters, although maximum cooking capacity is 10 liters. Results are consistently amazing - cook things like steak, chicken, vegetables, and ribs. The unit is efficient for both cooking and energy use. Also, the water oven is totally quiet. The water oven comes with an instructional DVD, a user manual with time and temperature tables and 15 recipes to get you started. There are dozens of videos we found on YouTube showing you exactly how to cook certain dishes. The "hands off" description is one way to describe this machine. Just seal up the food, put it into the water, and walk away. The cooking is exact and the timer will let you know when it's done. There is a SousVide Supreme Demi for $300, but most owners say stick with the larger SVS-10LS model. Read reviews, watch the video demonstrations, and then make the right pick for your cooking needs. Either way, we don't think you'll be disappointed.