Meet the Master

Cuisine Solutions’ Chief Scientist Dr. Bruno Goussault reveals his rules of the kitchen and responds to reader questions about the sous-vide cooking method.

“My biggest goal during my life has changed. At the beginning of my job I wanted to be the best scientist in the world. Now I want to spend the rest of my life transmitting my knowledge.”

DR. BRUNO GOUSSAULT , SOUS-VIDE PIONEER

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Dr. Bruno Goussault is recognized as the founder of modern sous-vide. In 1971, Dr. Goussault developed sous-vide as a way of improving the tenderness of roast beef. Dr. Goussault discovered that if the beef was vacuum-sealed in a specially designed pouch and slowly cooked at a slightly-lower-than-usual temperature, it showed little sign of profit-robbing shrinkage compared to conventional cooking methods. Plus, the flavor was notably enhanced.

This was the birth of the new technology of sous-vide, and it was quickly adopted by top chefs throughout Europe. Today, as the chief scientist at Cuisine Solutions, Dr. Goussault continues to refine this revolutionary water bath cooking method—and share his knowledge with world-renowned and up-and-coming chefs alike. He founded the Culinary Research & Education Academy (CREA), where he has taught more than 80 percent of chefs with three Michelin stars, including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Yannick Alléno, Joël Robuchon, and Anne-Sophie Pic, as well as the next generation of chefs.

Dr. Goussault sits on the board of the Association des Chimistes (Association of Chemists) and Ingénieurs et Cadres des Industries Agricoles et Alimentaires (Engineers and Managers of Agricultural and Food Industries), and was recently selected for the prestigious Albert Einstein Legacy Project’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future initiative.

FAQ with Dr. Bruno Goussault

What’s your No. 1 rule for the lab?

Precision and accuracy, with everything. That translates into cleanliness and attention to detail. I’m a scientist, so I look at sous-vide in a scientific way.

Should home cooks try sous-vide without proper training?

When people make a mistake in the process, the result is usually quite awful—and sometimes even unhealthy. It’s important to know what good sous-vide tastes and feels like in order to know what you’re doing wrong.

How do results differ between conventional and sous-vide cooking?

People love sous-vide because of the flavors and textures it provides. Nothing leaves the food when you use the sous-vide method. All of the flavor is concentrated. Nothing is lost.

What foods or ingredients don’t benefit from sous-vide?

All of the green vegetables are very difficult to cook sous-vide because of the chlorophyll. Chlorophyll needs oxygen to stay green. When you cook bright green vegetables in a sous-vide method, they turn an unappetizing shade of military khaki.

What is the most unusual or surprising food that you’ve tried in the sous-vide method?

Watermelon comes to mind. You open a new avenue or a new world—a new texture, a new taste, a new something—and the results you obtain with sous-vide are sometimes ones that you have never encountered before. Also, I love celery root because it transforms into something with the texture of a scallop.

Why do you use precise temperatures?

You need to have the hydrolysis of different elements. You cook to obtain a result. When you work at precise temperatures, you’re addressing things like the color and tenderness as well as the water-holding capacities of the food. When you cook vegetables, like carrots, you can play around with finding just the right temperature and time because sometimes you want the crunch while wanting them to be cooked. This is possible with sous-vide.

What cooking style benefits the most from sous-vide cooking?

Many types of cuisine can be prepared very well with the method. From traditional French to Mexican, it can all be made better with sous-vide.

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