By Sara Johnson
Fast-casual restaurants, where time and quality are paramount, are an ideal cooking playground for sous vide. In June 2019, chef Siddharth Bauari (“Chef Sid”) opened Fireless Kitchen in Singapore’s Funan Mall with a build-your-own-meal food concept that’s becoming increasingly popular in the sous vide realm. Bauari spoke to Sous-Vide magazine about the new venture.
Sous-Vide: What first inspired you to create Fireless Kitchen?
Siddharth Bauari: I’ve been working for five-star luxury hotels around the world for the last 17 years. I learned about sous vide and how simple this technique is for consistent food quality. This technique can be used to provide healthy, nutritious, yet delicious meals—debunking the stereotype that healthy food is bland and tasteless. Singapore is also moving towards a healthy lifestyle trend, and I decided to open a concept that is not only healthy but also delivers consistently delicious meals at an affordable price for everyday consumers.
SV: How did you decide what you wanted to include on the menu?
SB: In Singapore, in all of these fancy restaurants, sous vide is just a word you read on the menu, and many people don’t really know what this means and what it does. Sous vide machines have always been in the back kitchen or hidden from the guests. So we do things a little differently at Fireless Kitchen. We display all of our sous vide machines in a little window, where our customers can see the food being cooked in our vacuum bags. With this visual, captivating display, this gives us the opportunity to explain our concept to our guests, and they can see how their food is being cooked. Our menu features a build-your-own-bowl concept, where guests can choose a protein, a staple—like a base or carbohydrate or salad—and companions like vegetables for a customized meal. We have created our own signature dishes as well, like, 12-hour sous vide pork belly with homemade barbecue sauce that is suited very much to the Asian palate, and sweet potato mash that is made with the Japanese purple sweet potato. It’s naturally sweet, and this pairs beautifully with the pork belly as a protein.
SV: Are you truly fireless? Do you use any pan-searing or things like that?
SB: We use inductions as well, because in Singapore I understand that people want a texture as well. So once we have done sous vide, we just give a little bit of texture on the meat or on any protein, so we use inductions. But our core cooking technique for most of our dishes is sous vide. For salmon, we do sous vide, but make the skin a little bit like people like in Singapore, they like a crispy skin kind of thing, so we need to really deliver that little bit of the crunchiness and the texture to the dish.
SV: What are your plans for growing the company?
SB: My plan is to open a few more outlets in Singapore, with the goal to educate and share more of this technique, and the health benefits it brings by locking in the nutrients, flavor, and goodness of the food that we usually lose on the pan with open fire. Sous vide is really a simple concept that anyone can use at home. I’m also partnering with cooking studios and lifestyle hotels to teach cooking classes, so the idea is really to share the concept of sous vide that is not widely known in Singapore with as many people as possible, through as many means as I can.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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