When you write a blog called Vacuum, you get all kinds of traffic to your site that you don't expect or plan to see any sense in. Then, slowly but surely, you feel an unexplainable compulsion to be an "internet expert" (i.e. someone who quotes really well from real experts) in all things vacuum.
Thus, this note on vacuum cooking, and the remarkable device called the Gastrovac.
A photo of this apparatus on Flickr (I'll thumbnail it here when I get permission).
Time Magazine: "Adoring a vacuum", Sept 2006
The patented Gastrovac is the result of that kind of collaboration. To design it, Torres and Javier Andrés, of Valencia's well-regarded La Sucursal restaurant, joined forces with a team of scientists at Valencia's Polytechnic University. But there's a big difference to the Gastrovac's goal: while Adrià and Blumenthal routinely rely on kitchen alchemy to turn one food into another (this summer's menu at Adrià's El Bulli in Rosas, Spain, features gelatin and olive oil made into "false olives" and melon turned into caviar), the Gastrovac uses technology to make food taste more like itself.
International Cooking Concepts: Gastrovac, the vacuum revolution
The Gastrovac is a compact appliance for cooking and impregnating in a vacuum. It is patented in over 160 countries and developed with the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and the cooks Javier Andrés (La Sucursal Restaurant, Valencia) and Sergio Torres (El Rodat Restaurant, Jávea). It functions as follows: by creating an artificial low pressure, oxygen-free atmosphere, the Gastrovac considerably reduces cooking and frying temperatures, maintaining the texture, colour and nutrients of the food. Moreover, the Gastrovac creates the “sponge effect”: when the atmospheric pressure is restored, the food absorbs the liquid around it, allowing infinite combinations of foods and flavours.
Details in the owner's manual (pdf)
IN ORDER TO CAUSE THE “SPONGE EFFECT” DURING THE VAUUM BREAKING PROCESS, IT IS ADVISABLE TO PRESS THE VACUUM BREAKING BUTTON SEVERAL TIMES (AS MANY AS POSSIBLE) UNTIL THE MEASURE GAUGE INDICATES ABOUT -0,5 BAR. ONCE THIS LEVEL IS REACHED, WE CAN THEN DISCONNECT THE VACUUM HOSE FROM THE OUTLET ON THE LID, OR PRESS THE VACUUM BREAKING BUTTON UNTIL THE MEASURE GAUGE INDICATES 0. THIS PROCESS WILL HELP THE PRODUCT TO ABSORB THE LIQUID WHERE IT IS DIPED