Secret is in the science

Unless you're a modern cooking geek, some of Kevin Sousa's dishes can seem like magic tricks -- tender short ribs that are pink in the middle, an egg with an equally creamy white and yolk, lamb loin a perfect medium all the way through. But it's science, not magic, that has given chefs the ability to cook foods at precise, low temperatures, resulting in new textures and tastes.

The technique is called "sous vide," French for under pressure, which refers to the fact that many foods are vacuum sealed in plastic. The most important characteristic of this technique is that the food is cooked in a water bath held at a precise temperature much lower than typically used for cooking.

For example, the egg in the beet salad (which doesn't require vacuum sealing, because it's contained in its shell) is cooked for one hour at 61.5 degrees Celsius (142.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Long cooking times are common, like the short ribs, which are cooked for 48 hours.


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