This series explores how connected devices are used in real-life people’s home kitchens. It’s one thing to watch a demo of connected cooking appliances on a company website or at Pirch in Manhattan, but it’s quite another to use them in your own house. These are stories of people who use technology to make delicious food for themselves, their families, and their friends.
Name: Cole Wagoner
Title: Sous Vide King of Alabama (he’s originally from Portland, y’all)
Preferred Technology: Anova Precision Cooker
Why: Cole moved from Portland, Oregon, to rural Alabama “to chase a girl” (whom he’s now married to) and suddenly found himself without access to the high-quality restaurants he loved. “I drive by the Chili’s and the parking lot is full, and I get sad,” he said. His solution? Make fancy restaurant-style food himself. He considers himself an early adopter of all sorts of technology, and so the Anova made sense for him. Sous vide has given him access to a new level of cooking and transformed his attitudes about the kitchen. “It broke down the barrier for me to cook things I’ve never had before in my life that I want to try,” he said, noting that he’s “going to plate it like you’re paying $60 for it.”
How He Discovered It: While watching Top Chef, Cole kept hearing a phrase he didn’t understand. He googled “sous vide” and realized that home units were quite affordable. He bought his Anova a year and a half ago and started using Reddit’s sous vide thread along with YouTube videos and messaging people on Instagram to teach himself how to use it. Now he cooks with it three to seven times per week
Favorite Dish to Make: “I like to buy a duck for $20 at Publix and then get five meals out of it,” he said. Think Asian duck breast and handmade duck-confit tortellini cooked in a duck broth. Or rack of lamb with tomato confit risotto (the recipe for the tomato confit came from Thomas Keller, natch). “I stay away from chicken and pork,” he explained.
Other Kitchen Technology: He uses a digital thermometer for his charcoal smoker and recently bought an Apple Watch. “I spent $350 to basically have a kitchen timer,” he said.
What’s Next: He considers himself a “sous vide evangelist” and has convinced eight people in the past three months to buy a sous vide after seeing him work his magic. Cole also wants to start catering small private events, like 6-person dinner parties and such. He said, “I want to come in and show you all the things you’re missing.”