I first used vac-pac machines when I worked in London. They were quite big and bulky then, and mainly used to prolong the life of meat and fish by vacuuming all the air out, hence stopping oxidation .

In today’s kitchens and galleys, using a vac-pac machine has many uses, from the obvious cost-effective storage of food to, using different cooking techniques and compressing fruits and vegetables.

I ordered my machine from a company called Nisbets, a catering company in the UK, but it can also be ordered from the main supplier Vacit.com, where I ordered all the bags necessary for use with the machine.

We use it a lot on Slipstream. It’s certainly an essential piece of equipment in the galley. It’s great for marinating meats and fish, compressing items like melon, peach and cucumber and storing weekend food or food for the long crossings, as well as tidying dry stores with half-open bags of flour or nuts!

There are a few cookery books available showing techniques on how to cook vac-packed food.  When meat like beef, pigeon and lamb are vac-packed, we can cook them in steamers and water baths at certain temperatures, giving fantastic results  with the meat being so tender.  I now even confit duck legs in the steamer – certainly less mess!

I would certainly recommend a vac-pac machine in any professional galley. They could be a little bulky for small galleys and the cost is quite high, but with the cost effectiveness of storing food and the endless possibilities of cooking “sous vide”, they are a great addition to any galley and chef.

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