The ChefSteps Transformation Contest: Show us yours.

 

This contest has closed! Big thanks to all who submitted photos, we’ll be announcing a winner soon. If you missed the deadline but still want to show off your stuff, please share it on the forum. We can’t wait to see what you’ve created.

Calling all cooks! We want to see how you get from sleazy to sexy—in the kitchen, that is.

This week, we’re releasing a meaty update to our comprehensive class Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics. It’s all about teaching you to transform cheap, tough cuts of meat—think chuck, shoulder, tongue—into amazing, flavor-packed steaks, braises, and deep-fried delicacies. To do this, we harness the power of sous vide cooking, selecting the perfect time-and-temperature settings to achieve the exact texture of our choice. It all adds up to game-changing recipes like Carnitas Tacos with Mole, Boeuf Bourguignon with Scallion Ash, and savory Beef Tongue Fritters.

But transformation is nothing new, right? When you take squishy, overripe berries and make a jewel-toned jam, you’re transforming compost fodder into a smooth, decadent spread. Same goes for aging tomatoes—the basis of so many amazing pasta sauces. Sushi chefs transform leftover tuna bits into maki-roll magic, while nose-to-tail types relish the challenge of turning stinky offal into melt-in-your-mouth delicacies.

But enough about those guys. This contest is about you.

In this class, we share our favorite transformation techniques, but now, we want to know yours. What’s your favorite way to take something inexpensive, overripe, leftover—whatever—and turn it into a killer dish, condiment, beverage, or ingredient?

What will you win?

We’ll select the idea that inspires us the most, and our team of chefs will send the winner a big basket that’s full of hand-selected amazing goodies for your kitchen (a $500 value), sourced from our favorite Pike Place Market shops.

How do you enter?

There are two easy ways:

1. Send us a short video of yourself explaining your favorite transformative technique or recipe. You can demo it, draw it, or just talk about it—no real rules, just be you.

2. Send us two photos—a “before” shot of the sleazy ingredient in question, and a second “after” image that shows how you transformed it. Include a brief description of what you did.

CONTEST JUST EXTENDED! Send video or images to info@chefsteps.com with subject line Transformation by 11:59 PST on Tuesday, May 5. We’ll announce a winner as soon as we get through them all.

So go on, show us yours. We can’t wait to see it.

Official contest rules:
Void where prohibited. No purchase required. You must be over 18.

Why Sous Vide Makes Life Easier

We’d like to introduce you to Nima Mojgani. A longtime friend of two of the ChefSteps’ founders, Nima is best described as a typical 20-something city-dweller. Eating out most nights on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and cooking only sporadically for his girlfriend, Nima never showed any interest in trying any of the ChefSteps techniques for himself – thinking it would be out his rudimentary culinary reach.

So last week, we gave him instructions to make his favorite meal – steak – but rather than cooking the dish his normal way, we gave him a five minute starter course on how to do it sous vide style and this is what he had to say:

“I’m not a bad cook, per se – but not a good one, either. What surprised me most about sous vide was really how simple it was. I didn’t need to watch the steak as it cooked – which is huge because normally I stress about when to flip it over or cover the pan or when take it off the stove so that it’s medium rare. I could have literally sat back and hammered out two games of Call of Duty on the Xbox while it was cooking. Worst case scenario, the steak might have changed a shade of reddish pink while I was cooking.

I thought I’d need expensive equipment and was expecting I’d need vacuum seal bags like the ones on those infomercials – but a regular zip-lock did the job. My small apartment normally didn’t smell like steak afterwards and I didn’t have to marinate anything before. Normally I’m a bit fearful of spending any more than $10-15 on a good cut of meat when I’m cooking it myself out of fear that I’ll mess something up – but with sous vide I could go for something a little better the next time I’m out. Oh, and clean up – that was a cinch.”

ChefSteps is Chris Young, Grant Crilly and Ryan Matthew Smith.
Sign up for our free online sous vide cooking course.

 

The ChefSteps Forum Is Really Cooking!

When we started building our sous vide course, we knew how crucial our interaction and communication with you, our students, and the culinary community at large would be to the success of our online courses. We envisioned the forum as an extramural course to put you in an exchange with world class chefs, writers, inventors, artists, scientists and everyone else with a curious mind and a passion for exquisite food.

Well, guess what? The ChefSteps forum is really starting to cook thanks to the contributions of some amazing new members. We’ve added some new categories to the list above, including paramedic/firefighter, clinical psychologist, software guru, financier, etc., plus lots of other new students and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of information and interaction that’s taking place. We thought you might like to get to know a few of these folks better, so here are some of the members of our forum you’ll get to meet when you sign up and get cooking.

After purchasing a PolyScience immersion circulator from our store, paramedic/firefighter Mason Perry took to our course and has been cooking up a sous vide storm ever since. He prepared a five course sous vide dinner and this delicious looking sous vide hamburger with sous vide asparagus and smashed potatoes. He now has his own thread on our forum to post all of his dishes.

victorwol works in tv post-production when he’s not perfecting the art of cooking sous vide eggs. BlvCook has been cooking sous vide for the past year and a half and has great questions. Trevor Teich is a chef in Chicago with a terrific blog and lots of great advice. Duda Ferreira knows a thing or two about sous vide corned ox tongue.

Computer consultant, Johan Edstrom (Seijoed on the forum), is not only cooking sous vide, but is one of your go to guys for DIY immersion circulator info. He has a great group on Google+ along with Brendan Lee, clinical psychologist, and
Patrick Ancillotti, another awesome computer guy (thanks for your help), and they will all jump in to answer your questions and ask even better questions to keep the discussion going.

We’ve added a new Pinterest board to showcase some of the dishes that our forum members have posted, so check it out and pin away! Chris Young also just added the first quiz on Module 1, so you can gauge how you’re doing on the course.

Don’t forget that the usual suspects; Chris Young, Grant Crilly, Ryan Matthew Smith, Michael Natkin, Nathan Pegram and other members of our team are also responding to your questions, so sign up, spread the word and be a part of it all.

A sincere thank you to all of our forum members from Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

Shout Out To Our First ChefSteps Store Customer!

PolyScience-Sous-Vide-Water-BathLaurence Morris was our very first customer at the ChefSteps store page. He will be busy cooking sous vide (no doubt trying out all of our recipes) with his brand new PolyScience CHEF Series Immersion Circulator.

We have some nice discounts on PolyScience equipment, and even though it’s a good sized hit to the wallet, consider that you’ve invested in an infinitely versatile water oven that will enable you to utilize cooking techniques that will deliver extraordinary results. Not to mention, we’re talking a top of the line, jaw-dropping holiday gift for that deserving food fanatic in your life.

Congratulations and thank you, Laurence! Your purchase helps keep our online sous vide cooking course free to learn. We look forward to hearing from you on the Chefsteps forum.

Appreciatively,
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

 

Module 1 of Our Sous Vide Cooking Class Is Live!

The ChefSteps team has been hustling like crazy, but we’re finally starting to see the fruits of our labor. Module 1 of the Accelerated Sous Vide Cooking Course is up and running. In this module, we answer the ongoing question: “Why cook sous vide?” and we also present what we hope to have you learn in the course. Module 2 is in production right now, so we’re going to be keeping you busy.

We’re still working out the kinks on our new forum page and we’ll keep at it until it’s just right —more details about that in an upcoming post — but please sign up now to ask your questions and post your experiences with ChefSteps so far.

In addition, there are some new tasty bits for you to try that we’ve added to the course. The first one is a simple approach (you choose the food) to get you started: Improvised Sous Vide Cooking — Pot on a Stove and the second is a much more advanced recipe for Sous Vide Pastrami. Give them a try and check in with us on the forum if you need help or want to share your results.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about all that’s happening. The input we receive from each of you plays an important role in designing our course and determining what gets built on the ChefSteps site. We want to hear from you every step of the way, and with your help, we’ll figure out what’s working and what isn’t to make the experience better for everyone.

Many thanks,
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

P.S. We’ve got some nice deals on PolyScience equipment right now and every purchase helps support the free courses, so if you’re in the market, please check it out.

The Team At ChefSteps’ Online Culinary School Is Growing!


Our ChefSteps family is undergoing a growth spurt as we expand our team and build our company. We’ve brought in some extra help to hasten the launch of our Sous Vide course and are striving to build a company that will continue to excite our team and our students. We thought you might like to see some of the new faces alongside those of our founders’ at our beautiful location in Pike Place Market.

What would your perfect job be and where would you work if you could pick any place in the world? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned, there’s a lot to look forward to!

Cheers!
The Team at ChefSteps