Earlier this year, a chef in L.A. explained to me what he thought made his steak tartare especially good: a sous-vide egg. Sous vide may sound fancy, but it’s a pretty simple technique. You cook food in a water bath at a constant temperature, in most cases sealed in a bag. It allows for very even, controlled cooking, which means that the chef knew he’d have a perfectly creamy egg yolk every time he plated his dish.
I looked around his kitchen and found a batch of eggs gently cooking in a water bath. There was contraption sticking out of the tub, circulating water and regulating the temperature. I had no need for something intended for commercial use like he had, so I asked him if there was a home version he recommended. He curtly replied, “No. They all suck.”
The team at ChefSteps plans to change that. The Seattle-based company announced today that it would sell their own sous vide tool, the Joule, which they promise will be the most powerful on the market. Food nerds of America, rejoice.
Why should we think that ChefSteps’ first foray into hardware will succeed where others have failed? Well, when it comes to sous-vide cooking, ChefSteps has some serious cred. Brought to you by the same minds that created the epic cookbook set, Modernist Cuisine, ChefSteps has been the pied piper of sous-vide cooking since they launched in 2012, regularly deploying the technique in their handy cooking videos. In the past they’ve show us how to prepare a sous-vide egg, sous-vide barbecue brisket and sous-vide steak. But knowing that many home cooks don’t have access to a good sous-vide tool, they’ve created one with 1,100 watts of power, a magnet that secures it to the bottom of your pot, and the ability to control it from your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth with their app.
The Joule is available now for pre-order for $199 through January 15; after that the price will jump to $299. The first units will ship in May.
Check out ChefSteps announcement video below.