Today, January 26th, is International Sous Vide Day and it is the 50th anniversary of sous vide. I joined a global panel discussion about sous vide cooking. To watch the panel discussion, register for free at InternationalSousVideDay.com. The panel discussion was hosted by the ISVA, so I thought this is an excellent occasion to tell you more about the International Sous Vide Association (ISVA). The ISVA was founded by Jason Logsdon and Mike La Charite and I have been involved as a member of the ISVA advisory committee since the beginning. Among other things, I presented at the ISVA virtual sous vide summit in 2020, and compiled the food safety information on the ISVA website. When I first started with sous vide, 10 years ago, there was very little information about sous vide available. What got me started was Jason’s book Beginning Sous Vide.
I’ve met Jason in person when I was in New York City in 2017.
What I really like about the ISVA is not only Jason’s and Mike’s passion for sous vide, but also the objective approach of the ISVA. The ISVA is not only independent in that it is not directly affiliated with any particular brand or machine, but it also leaves room for various opinions while being rigorous about facts. This is described in the norms manifest on the ISVA website.
I thought the best way to tell you about the ISVA and its activities was to interview Jason and Mike. They agreed to be interviewed, and the result is below. Thanks Jason and Mike!
Could you introduce yourselves to my readers?
Jason: Hey there, I’m Jason Logsdon! I’m an author, public speaker and passionate home cook who loves to try new things, exploring everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to blow torches, foams, spheres and infusions. I run AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com, one of the largest sous vide and modernist cooking websites, MakeThatBacon.com, a website dedicated to helping bloggers succeed, and I’m the president of the International Sous Vide Association.
Mike: Hey everyone, I’m Mike La Charite. I’m a corporate/association meeting planner by trade and a home cook who loves trying new foods and experimenting in the kitchen. I started cooking sous vide in 2015 and I’ve never looked back.
How did you get started with sous vide?
Jason: A little more than 10 years ago I got a copy of Thomas Keller’s Under Pressure cookbook and a sous vide temperature controller. I found the whole thing horribly confusing and couldn’t find much easy-to-follow information online either, it was all very scientific and buried in an eGullet message board that spanned 100 pages of random posts.
But instead of giving up, I dove into the information that was out there and really got to know and understand sous vide. And what I discovered was it wasn’t that complicated.
That led to me starting a blog, then writing a cookbook, creating an iphone app, creating some kitchen products, and a dozen more cookbooks. Then moving into teaching with email and video courses, hands-on classes, and even hosting a 3 day sous vide conference.
Mike: I’d heard “of” sous vide but didn’t really know anything about it. For Christmas 2015 my mother-in-law gave me a Sansaire (RIP) – I still joke with my wife that her mom gave me the best “wrappable” gift I’ve ever received. I cooked a ribeye the next day and was hooked. I found Jason’s website and Serious Eats and was off and running.
What made you decide to found the International Sous Vide Association?
As legend has it, Mike was at a conference center in Delaware and they had a convention for the “Miniature Figurines Association of America” going on. He thought if they could have a conference, why couldn’t fans of sous vide have one as well! Mike was a fan of Jason’s books so he reached out through Facebook. We hit it off and formed the ISVA to help bring sous vide cooks together, to help them learn and elevate their cooking, and to raise the profile of sous vide overall.
What is the mission of the ISVA?
The International Sous Vide Association (ISVA) is a collaborative community of sous vide enthusiasts who explore the technique, learn from one another, and network with like-minded individuals. We provide education, networking opportunities and live events for both professional and amateur enthusiasts of sous vide and other precision low temperature cooking methods. The ISVA is independent of any individual brand or machine.
Who else besides yourselves is part of the collaborative community of sous vide enthusiasts?
Our community encompasses the whole range of sous vide cooks and includes chefs and CEOs from PolyScience, CREA, VacMaster, Cuisine Solutions, Anova Culinary and Vesta Precision; celebrity chefs and cooks like Chef James Briscione, Chef Rich Rosendale, Scott “The Seattle Food Geek” Heimindinger, and Meathead Goldwyn; all the way down to home cooks who just cook for their families. Our advisory board also represents a dozen countries. It’s this mix of professionals, bloggers, and passionate home cooks that really encourages the full exploration of the sous vide technique, in all of its forms.
What are the main activities of the ISVA?
We try to bring a sense of community and education to sous vide cooks. To do that, we host a free monthly sous vide showcase (https://www.theisva.org/showcase) where we bring in some top chefs and cooks to demo their favorite dishes. We also host an annual sous vide conference.
We also host a weekly interview show called Exploring Sous Vide, where Jason talks to some of the biggest names in the industry, including Chef James Brisione, Chef David Pietranczyk, Chef AJ Schaller, Chef Eric Villegas…and of course the legendary Stefan Boer (click here to watch that video). You can see those conducted live on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/theisva/videos/) or past episodes on your favorite podcast platforms.
What is Champions of Sous Vide and how does it relate to the ISVA?
Champions of Sous Vide is our online community of sous vide enthusiasts. It’s a place to share recipes, videos, tips and tricks with other fans of sous vide. We have over 100 recipes in there, and that list is constantly growing.
We also have a paid, VIP section with all the recordings from our conferences, showcases, and other presentations. It’s more than 30 hours of sous vide content and we’re also adding to that regularly.
We also have a Champions of Sous Vide book available, filled with recipes from 2 dozen top sous vide cooks, including Stefan.
What online sous vide resources are available from the ISVA for free?
Both the Exploring Sous Vide show and the monthly Sous Vide Showcases are free. The Champions of Sous Vide network is also free for most of the content. We also have several guides on sous vide food safety, of which Stefan was a large part of creating, several approved devices we have tested and stand by, and a general resources directory all available on our website, theisva.org.
What paid online sous vide resources from the ISVA are available?
We run a yearly conference, currently it is online and scheduled for August 6 to 8th, 2021. It’s several days of amazing content for home cooks and professional chefs alike. The main day is focused on sous vide recipes, technique, and education while the final day is specifically for chefs and restaurateurs who want to streamline their operations with sous vide.
The Champions of Sous Vide VIP section is our other paid resource. It contains all of our video and audio content we’ve created over the years. So you can go back and watch all of the showcase videos and all of the conference videos. We’ve had some amazing speakers and the content is really awesome!
If my readers are interested in contributing to the ISVA, what can they do and how can they sign up?
We are all about community engagement! There are several ways to get involved.
The easiest is to come check out an Exploring Sous Vide Show (https://www.facebook.com/theisva/videos/) or Sous Vide Showcase (https://www.theisva.org/showcase), say “hi” in the comments, and just engage with the other cooks. We have many members who tune in for all the events and have a great time hanging out.
We also are always looking for new cooks to demo their favorite dishes for our showcases. Our presenters run the spectrum from award winning chefs to home cooks who are just normal people! Everything is pre-recorded so there’s no stress for you, you just need an interesting dish you’d like to share and a cell phone camera to record yourself making it! Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to talk through it.
And if you are doing really cool things with sous vide, we are always looking for new guests on the Exploring Sous Vide show. I love talking to new and interesting people and exploring how they use sous vide. That’s the only one where speaking decent english is a requirement since like many ignorant Americans I don’t speak any other languages 🙂
What are your ideas for the future of ISVA?
We are always looking for exciting new ways to grow sous vide! In 2021 we are looking to expand our monthly showcases to more international audiences – stay tuned to Stefan for one that may be coming your way!
We are also exploring smaller in-person events as it becomes safer to do so. These might be half day seminars or broader culinary experiences around sous vide.
We have a large focus on bringing more diversity to both our organization and sous vide. This is not only gender and race, but also more diversity in cuisine and style. We hope that will continue to grow over the years.