US isn't ready for KitchenAid's revamped sous-vide system, VP says

KitchenAid featured an updated, three-part sous vide cooking system during the IFA 2015 electronics trade show. But the appliance manufacturer is focused strengthening the product's presence in Europe rather than expanding to the US, where sous vide use is less common.

Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ashlee Clark Thompson
2 min read

BERLIN -- Companies have attempted to introduce small sous-vide machines into American kitchens to popularize this relatively new cooking method. But KitchenAid says the US needs more time to embrace sous vide before the company will brings its three-part cooking system into the US.

KitchenAid, a home appliance company that's a part of the Whirlpool brand, featured an updated version of its Chef Touch Sous Vide Collection Thursday during the IFA trade show. The product, which costs about 10,000 euros, includes a vacuum sealer, steam oven and freezer to give sous-vide enthusiasts the necessary tools to make the most out of this cooking process. The collection, which you can also buy as three separate pieces, has been available in Europe since 2010, and KitchenAid updated the design this year.

Both professional chefs and home cooks use sous vide to apply a precise temperature to the food they cook. The cooking method, which has been around since the 1970s, involves two parts: vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking the bag in a controlled environment. We've often seen countertop products that control the temperature of circulating water to cook the food.

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The Chef Touch Sous Vide Collection contains (from the top) a steam oven, a vacuum sealer and a freezer.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

To cook with KitchenAid's sous-vide system, you put food in a plastic bag and use the vacuum sealer located in the middle drawer to remove all of the air from the bag. You cook the food in the steam oven that's located at the top of the unit. Don't want to eat right away? You can put your bag in the bottom freezer, which will drop the temperature of the food inside to minus 18 degrees C (minus 4 degrees F) in one hour, to preserve your food for as long as three months.

At IFA Thursday, Whirlpool Executive Vice President Esther Berrozpe Galindo said France and Italy are the target countries for the triple-decker sous-vide system, but the company will continue its expansion into the rest of Europe. Galindo said market research shows that American consumers haven't adopted sous vide on a large scale, and they aren't ready for such a high-end machine. But the company is "working on when is the time to bring that solution to the US," she said.

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The vacuum sealer is in the middle compartment of the Chef Touch Sous Vide Collection.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Sous-vide machines haven't become a necessity in the American kitchen, but we've seen enough small sous-vide machines and tools to realize that the cooking technique is catching on US. But it could be years before there is a large enough American sous-vide following to justify KitchenAid's introduction of the expensive Chef Touch system into the US.

For more of the best of IFA 2015, see CNET's complete coverage.