Just wondering what you guys are using for circulators and vacuum sealers at work. My chef expressed interest in getting a setup today and asked me to look around.
We are a high end, farm-to-table type joint, using as much local produce and protein as we can. Small-ish menu, that changes whenever we feel like it. Some items change weekly, some last a month. We dont have a ton of room, so its not like we are going to be converting the entire menu to sous vide. Probably pick one protein to do for a few days, see how it goes, then try another. See what works for us.
Vac would prob see more use than the circulator, as we have things to bag that wouldnt be getting the sous vide treatment. Thanks!
This might be a good start,
"not the cooler":laugh: the sous-vide supreme.
Originally Posted by goodchef1
I'd go for a table-top model to save space.
Also depends on how big a bag are you gonna bag your food in. Individual portions? Whole cuts? Check out the size of the stuff you want to bag before getting a machine. And check out the different sizes of vacuum bags that you can/wanna get. Make sure they fit, you don't wanna get a XXL bag with a mid size machine.
Currently I use a Berkel 250 chamber vac at my job, it's alright, really idiot proof because of the presets. It seems to have reliability issues though. We had the same machine at my last job and has some issues as well. I prefer Koch though. Had one at a job a few back and it was wonderful. We had no reliability issues (it was brand new and very well taken care of by the staff). What I really liked was the fact that it had 2 sealer bars, i could seal 4 medium bags at the same time, a huge advantage. Also, analog controls for pressure and seal allow you to make quick changes. I think they have a new "space saving" version out as well, same innards but a smaller footprint. I would throw up a link but my internet is acting weak. As for circulators, I have only ever used a polyscience, I believe it was a 720b or something like that. Used those for a couple years at a few places, no issues.
P.S. I also liked the bubble shape on the koch lid, lets you hat MUCH larger items in your cryovac. Plus I forgot that it has an optional gas flush, not seen on lower end machines.
We use several Berkel units at the culinary school where I work: a 250 and a 350 (both tabletop) and a 450 floor model with dual sealing bars. Many students have used the machines without incident. If I were going to buy a Berkel, I would purchasew a Sipromac instead since they make the Berkel machines and a unit with a Sipromac label is about $1000 less than the same Berkel model.
Look for a vacuum machine with a Busch brand vacuum pump- they are bulletproof. The usual area of failure in most machines is the circuit board which usually craps out after the warranty period and by then the machine is obsolete so that a replacement board is not available.
Look at Mini Pack for chamber vacuum machines. Busch pumps are standard in most of the quality machines like Koch, Multivac, Berkel and so on. Mini pack is a company that is really gearing up for the sous vide/restaurant market and seems to have the best understanding of what people are trying to accomplish with low temp cooking. They make several different units so I am sure you will find something to meet your needs. They now have a model that print labels which is a huge help for organization and HAACP plans which are mandatory in NYC.
In terms of thermal circulators I would look at Polyscience. They seem to be the only company who is producing a circulator with the chef in mind. They offer solid support and make a solid performing machine. Their new machine "sous professional" is simple to use and a good price as far as circulators are concerned...hope this helps.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Our restaurant is part of a compound, all owned by the same organization. Between us and the building next door is a small alley way, and then apartments in the next building that each have their own entrances. We are trying to annex 1 or 2 of these apartments to convert into a prep kitchen with additional storage, refrigeration, and counter space. We basically have no space to set anything up right now, but if this plan comes together we will have more than enough room to have baths and other equipment set up permanently.
We're gearing up for some vacuum sealing and packaging at my work as well. Thanks to all for your comments.