vacuum” cooking seals
in the best flavors
BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY EVAN KAFKA
“Here, taste this,” says Dan Barber, the
chef-owner of Blue Hill restaurant
in Manhattan. His hand moves toward mine, but I can’t make out what
he’s holding. It’s a small piece of meat—not beef, for
sure. But is it chicken? Pork? I put it in my mouth.
Ah, of course. It’s duck.
Then I furrow my brow. It’s not any duck I’ve
had before. It tastes purely of duck, but the texture
is different—not at all stringy or fatty. Rather,
it’s pink, smooth and juicy. And not crispy. Not
“Amazing, isn’t it?” he asks.
Barber had cooked the duck sous vide, French
for “under vacuum.” The technique, once reserved
for industrial applications, was experimental in
France 30 years ago, and these days, it’s catching on
in restaurants from London to Los Angeles.
Barber, chef-owner of
Blue Hill in
with a stew
of “seven flat