Sous vide, the method of cooking vacuum-sealed food in a temperature-controlled water bath, has long been the domain of top chefs and molecular gastronomists, but a trio of local tech-foodies is bringing the exclusive and believed-to-be expensive way of cooking to the everyday kitchen. With its ease of use and small price tag, the team behind the new hand-held Nomiku device is hoping to get an edge on the competition.
This new San Francisco start-up endeavor is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Abe and Lisa Fetterman and Wipop 'Bam' Suppipat. Lisa is a food and media savant while her husband is a Princeton grad with a PhD in plasma physics, and Suppipat has a degree in industrial design from RISD and is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute.
As Lisa said, "we all have our special X-men skills of getting this product to the market" -- including a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier in the summer.
The Nomiku ditches the boxy look of its competitors for a silhouette that resembles a clothespin with a nob. It snaps on to almost any pot, with one end submerged to heat the water. Set the dial on top of the Nomiku to the desired temperature, and wait.
Currently, the Nomiku comes sans vacuum sealer to create that air-tight seal that your ingredients will need, but Lisa says using a Zip Loc Bag is just as good. She recommends using the Zip-Loc method explained on the Cooking Issues blog. There aren't any immediate plans to add a sealer attachment, though she said it's definitely on their radar.
The payoff to cooking sous vide? "Perfection," according to Lisa, who recommends cooking proteins like foie gras and steak "under vacuum" -- that is, if you want them to turn out perfectly cooked all the way through.
It is the aim of Nomiku to make sous vide more accessible to the everyday cook, and that means a lower price. Most machines, like the PolyScience Immersion Circulator or the Sous Vide Supreme, run about $500 or more; the Nomiku comes in at about $360.
The combo of simplicity and price is what the team hopes to drive average joes to welcoming sous vide into their lives.
"It's not even about money. People appreciate our functionality and they understand design," Lisa said, "I'm hungry for sous vide, my friends are hungry for sous vide, I think most people are ready."
The team recently returned from China after working with manufacturers to start