Part Four: Precision Cooking – What Chef Roney Likes Best

CVap's precision cooking makes chef roney happy

Read all parts in this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

That Chef Patrick Roney calls the CVap® a “workhorse” nicely describes the burden it removes from professional cooking. But as he describes below, it’s also a precision cooking oven, created to cook and hold at exacting temperatures and without variation. Learning how to make it walk the fine line of perfection is a matter of gathering information and experimenting with food.

Easy question: What unique aspects of CVap help your style of precision cooking?

It’s just so precise, which is something other ovens I’ve used can’t do. They can get close, but not perfectly and not consistently. Things we’re putting in CVap are cooked so precisely that we don’t even have to stick thermometers in the food to make sure the food is done. It’s that reliable.

The food that goes in hardly loses any moisture or weight, which means really high yield, which is great for food cost.

Being able to control the environment in the CVap and to maximize that moisture barrier that surrounds the food—things like eggs and scallops and steaks and fish, which all hold a lot of moisture—that’s a great asset to me.

It’s pretty fun when you figure out how to put different things inside it and see how it holds them all just perfectly. You can’t do that with a warming cabinet or an ordinary oven because you can’t control the moisture.

precision cooking is what it's all about

In the past seven years you’ve used CVaps at three different restaurants. Has it changed the way you plan out a menu? Knowing what you can cook and hold with it surely influences that, right?

Most definitely. You have more comfort writing a menu toward the sweet spot of how the CVap works and what you can get from it. If you have a couple of CVaps in one place, you can develop a couple of menus that lean on those sweet spots and how you control the cooking environment in each. You can build your menu around a CVap to a great extent.

Fantastic for Fish

Earlier you mentioned holding scallops in CVap. What about finfish? Does that work as well?

It’s absolutely great for finfish. Knowing your desired temperature when that fish is perfect is the key to setting CVap correctly. But you have to know exactly what temp you want to hold each specific fish because one doesn’t work for all. A monkfish will be perfect at a temperature that a flounder isn’t, so it’s essential figure that out. But once you have that knowledge, it’s easy.

Five Faves

Here’s a lighting round question: Give me your five favorite CVap settings and the foods you hold or cook them in.

OK, here goes:

  • Fried rabbit legs, 130°F plus 4 browning.
  • Holding New York strips, 125°F plus 0 browning.
  • Braising anything—shanks oxtail, short ribs—180°F plus 2 browning.
  • Large proteins, 125°F plus 2 browning.
  • Fish, I have a couple: If holding scallops or flounder, 133°F plus 0 browning.
    Salmon is kind of variable, in that you don’t want it dried out, but most people prefer it cooked all way through. So, 140°F plus 1 browning.

Follow Ashbourne Farms

Follow Chef Patrick Roney

Part Three: CVap® Networking: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

CVap helps chef Roney save labor

Read all parts in this series: Part One | Part Two | Part Four

Experimenting with CVap ovens helped Chef Patrick Roney master its basics. But networking with other chefs who used it was mind-expanding and unexpected. Read on as he talks about learning new ways to use it, as well as how CVaps save labor, and become almost like staff members.

How did you meet so many chefs who also used CVap?

I know it sounds corny, but it was a wonderful day that I met the late Chef Barry Yates at a Star Chefs conference in New York. I told him what I was doing with CVap, and he started giving me his own research information. That exchange of information between us is still happening.

During that Star Chefs event and one other I attended, I got to see what other chefs were doing, and I dug in further. At the second Star Chefs, I got to work the Winston booth and get feedback and find out how restaurants were thriving by using it.

What types of restaurants were using it?

It ran the gamut: fine dining, barbecue, fast food…and it didn’t matter what type, really, because CVap was the workhorse allowing them to save labor, time, money, effort, staffing, greatly increase quality and create new things. I learned a lot from being around other users.

You’ve mentioned that it saves time cooking by letting you do other things. Does that ultimately benefit your labor cost?

It saves people in the kitchen, which helps save labor. When I first used it at The Oakroom, I had a small team there—just four of us in that kitchen—so we called the CVap the Fifth Man. Every night we were open, that thing was running.

It also lowers the stress of a kitchen to have CVap in there. There are a lot of things happening during the early part of service—a lot of stuff that one cook is expected to pay attention to. Having that CVap prepped and full of whatever that cook needs, all of it staged and ready to finish or go right to the plate removes stress from that cook’s scope of responsibility. What then happens is it opens up a lot more opportunities to be better at some other aspect of the dishes coming off that station. The cook can do other things because CVap is taking care of the rest.

Now that you’re at Ashbourne Farms, where all events are large-scale dinners, how does CVap help?

When you’ve got to have 300 pieces of something cooked exactly the same for a high-end function, you can’t beat them. But to be able to cook and hold those perfectly for two hours before service, that’s what’s really amazing. Knowing you can do that frees you up during crunch time when so many plates are spinning. You have that ace in the hole.

In our next blog, Patrick talks about CVap’s balance of workhorse labor-savor and its precision cooking abilities. 

Follow Ashbourne Farms

Follow Chef Patrick Roney