Sous Vide Cooking in Restaurants: A Qualitative Study of Ontario Public Health Inspector Knowledge, Experience, Practices and Needs

Wendy Briggs, Andrew Papadopoulos, Anne Wilcock Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 51-61, Jan 2019 Volume 39, Issue 1: Pages 51–61

The use of the sous vide cooking method in restaurants outside Europe has grown in popularity over the past ten years. Whereas some jurisdictions have responded to the increased popularity of sous vide by releasing guidance documents or updating food codes to provide direction to restaurant operators and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs), the province of Ontario has not yet produced any sous vide resources or legislative updates. To determine if there is a need for sous vide resources in Ontario, a qualitative study was conducted, using a focus group and one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with PHIs who had encountered sous vide use in the field. Identification and enforcement emerged as predominant concerns among the PHIs, as well as the potential for the improper use of sous vide processes by restaurant operators. The data provided by the study participants suggest that sous vide use in restaurants is under-reported because of difficulties with its identification. The development and promotion of training resources for both PHIs and operators is recommended, followed by the creation of Ontario guidelines for safe sous vide cooking in restaurants. These findings and recommendations are likely applicable to many jurisdictions, both in and outside of Canada, where sous vide is a relatively new cooking method in local restaurants.

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