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Mark Harrison

Sous Vide Supreme down to £350 in John Lewis

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I was in John Lewis Bluewater today, and saw two things that surprised me:

- Sous Vide Supreme on display (also their re-branded vacuum sealer)

- At £349 rather than the the £429 at which others seem to sell it.

After about 20 minutes discussion with SWMBO while visiting other shops, we went back and bought one - and sure enough, the price was £349! I've just checked, and it's on their website as well.

We had a "quick" (two hour) steak this evening, which it did very well, and it's now running a 48-hour lamb which I'll find out about on Friday :-)

My initial reaction is that it's very good:

- The thermal stability is much better than the DIY sous-vide machine I built at the end of last year (based on a CD101 PID and a Tesco slow cooker.)

- The internal volume is much bigger than that of the home-made solution.

- The user interface, once it's switched on, is very intuitive. The hard part, for which I did need to go to the manual, is switching it on - you have to hold the on button for three seconds.

DISCLAIMER: I have no connection with John Lewis other than as an intermittent customer. I hope, based on the £2.99 lobster thread, that this kind of post is acceptable on egullet's UK forum, but please accept my apologies if it's against protocol..

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It's been £350 since in John Lewis since it became available, I got maine back in November last year. I use it a lot, if I had a choice between a SVS and a microwave I'd go with the SVS.


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Hi:

I bought one of these a couple of months ago. The bags are a right rip off. Does anyone in the UK have a source for rolls of food grade plastic at a reasonable price?

Cheers

Drew

Cut Cook Eat


Drew @ Cut Cook Eat

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I bought one of these a couple of months ago. The bags are a right rip off. Does anyone in the UK have a source for rolls of food grade plastic at a reasonable price?

There are better vac-packers for sv cooking than the SVS-branded offering. Without spending much.

A pump-while-I-press button and a just-seal-it-now button make things (especially fluid things) so much easier!

Next truth: you don't necessarily get the best deal with rolls, AND rolls are only strictly needed for big items (like a whole side of Salmon) which won't actually fit into a SVS. For sv, you don't need a roll.

You can get pretty good deals on bags by buying in bulk.

Take a look at http://www.nisbets.co.uk/products/ProductList.asp?TopGroupCode=C25&ParentGroupCode=S1358&GroupCode=10806

BUT do note that 1/ even for online orders (unless they are doing another promotion) you need to spend £30 to get free delivery ... AND 2/ being a trade supplier, they quote prices trade-style, without adding the VAT - but even so, the prices really aren't too bad. (And for tiny things, you can cut the bags in half ...)

By the way, does anyone know if John Lewis will be offering the SVS Demi?


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Just a word of warning about the SVS - it makes a right mess if the thermostat fails as mine did a few months ago. Customer service thereafter was very poor. The facts (we are dealing with a machine that had been used a dozen or so times before - not a brand new piece of kit).....

The payload was chuck steak, home made beef stock and similar confit onion. About 2lb in total. It had been set up on a Saturday at about 50C. All was well when I left the house on Sunday morning and similarly when my wife left at about 7.50pm. When we returned at 9.30pm the thermostat had failed and the temperature gauge was showing 100.5C. The bag had broken and steam filled the kitchen. An unwholesome meat solution was congealing all over the romm - a vile mess. And very smelly. A gallon or so of liquid had escaped, still some left in the machine so it had not boiled dry.

I emailed SVS and a representative phoned to apologise. A major concern of mine was that the machine would have boiled dry if left for another hour and would presunably have caught fire. The SVS representative gave me a line about not having had the problem before and sought to reassure me that a further thermostat would have disabled the machine thus preventing a fire. Quite why this clown came out with such a line is beyond me - if thermostat 1 fails I'm supposed to believe that thermostat 2 would have saved the day. That stretches my credulity a tad too far.

Anyway, the UK agents for SVS sent a new machine by courier in exchange for the old. More useless customer service here. If I was running SVS customer services and such an unusual and potentially dangerous problem developed (first time ever according to them but I do not believe that either)I would organise a member of staff to deliver a replacement at my customer's preferred time rather than leaving that customer to wait on some useless courier service who can predict their arrival no more accurately than am or pm. So I waste a morning on that. I'm pleased to say that the replacement machine is working OK so my downside is no more than a loss of ingredients, half a day waiting for a replacement to arrive plus some tedious kitchen clean up time.

So we have a poor reliability/bad component problem combined with bad customer service (no offer of compensation for cash, time & aggravation etc.) If I had any foreknowledge of that I would not have purchased the machine.

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... A major concern of mine was that the machine would have boiled dry if left for another hour and would presunably have caught fire. The SVS representative ... sought to reassure me that a further thermostat would have disabled the machine thus preventing a fire. Quite why this clown came out with such a line is beyond me - if thermostat 1 fails I'm supposed to believe that thermostat 2 would have saved the day. That stretches my credulity a tad too far.

...

An unfortunate experience indeed Alex, however, from your report that the thing was indicating (a very believable) 100C, my expectation would be that the failure involved the switching of the relay (sticking 'on'), rather than the "thermostat".

Regarding the main control 'thermostat' - its actually a small computer, and subject to all the sorts of glitches that computers can encounter, including susceptibility to mains-borne interference. But I don't think this incident sounds like the computer going haywire.

However, any 'secondary' thermostat that might be fitted would be likely to be of the form of a thermal cut-out -- when it gets 'too hot', the heat opens a switch, cutting off the power completely.

It would be very old tech, and very robustly reliable.

I think such things are normally required for product liability insurance.

I'm just slightly surprised that the SVS safety cut-out (assuming it has one) would be designed to operate at a temperature ABOVE 100C. Since the machine should never be operated that hot, and boiling causes pressure build-up inside bags that will soften below 100C - with the potential for dangerous bag bursting, as you experienced.

Perhaps they just used a standard 'kettle boiled dry' component for the safety cutout...

My own sv setup is home-made, with electronic modules bought on eBay and sent from China.

As you might suppose, I had some concerns about reliability and safety!

Initially, I plugged the whole arrangement into the mains through an RCD safety cutout plug, so that any electricity leakage to earth would cause an instant shut-off.

I seem to have stopped using it, but such physical insurance really ought to be used with any homebrew stuff involving mains electricity. An RCD only costs £5 to 10 at somewhere like B&Q.

And it does no harm to use such a thing on anything electrical (particularly high-power devices) left running while your home (or office, etc) is unattended. Even if your house 'fusebox' has an overall RCD, using a more sensitive single-socket one, as well, is no bad thing.

Also, my heated tank being a tea-urn, it has its own adjustable thermostat, mechanical and inaccurate though it may be. I don't set it to maximum (as is the normal advice to over-ride such things), instead I set it only slightly above my desired temperature. Thus, it should only come into play if my home-made controller were to 'stick full on' - but by setting the urn thermostat to less than maximum, it would actually intervene as my secondary 'thermal cutout' (before relying on any safety 'boil dry' cutout that my urn might have).


Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Alex while I understand you are angry that you had a problem with your SVS, I do not think it is fair for you to accuse them of bad customer service, u they could have done everything by email with no voice contact, sent things by post not courier, not contacted you to give you reassurance that there were backup safety systems to prevent fire and taken weeks if not months to replace your SVS.

SVS contacted you after receiving your email, tried to reassure you of the safety of their equipment, they sent you a new machine in exchange for old and they sent it by courier so you had "half a day waiting for a replacement to arrive" I can't see what more they could do. They could have asked you to return the SVS by post for inspection, repaired it, and then returned it by post and that could have taken weeks or months.

While I understand your anger at having a product fail, I must disagree when you say you had bad customer service from SVS from the actions you detailed I would say you received excellent customer service for a £350 appliance.


Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Drew,

I was talking about the Sous Vide Supreme - ie the sous vide cooker, not the vacuum sealer. I don't use their vacuum sealer, so can't comment on it (though I've read elsewhere that it's overpriced.)

Alex,

Where did you buy your SVS from? There is a reason I bought mine from John Lewis, though, on what you describe - sending "them" (whoever "they" are an email, getting a call in return, and a replacement couriered out doesn't sound like anything other than "good" service!)

I agree that this is worrying, but I looked at various immersion circulators before buying the SVS, and in three months of scouring the Internet for everything about Sous Vide wasn't able to come up with a single instance of one failing from any customer! I wonder, therefore, whether something is "odd" about the UK (230v) machines, compared to the US (110v) ones that SVS, being an American company, presumably sell in far higher numbers.

Dougal,

Firstly - thank you for the link - I shall call them in the morning and see whether their bags would fit my vacuum sealer.

Secondly, good point about the "secondary thermostat solution" - my first sous vide machine used a Tesco Rice Cooker, which has the same characteristics :-)

Mark

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Hello all.

I am thinking into buying some sous vide equipment for my home. Is the sous vide supreme (or the demi) the way to go even now?

I would actually like something more similar to the polyscience circulator but the price is not within my reach, and I have found this one: http://www.sousvidetools.com/sous-vide-chef-thermal-circulator

I know that its more expensive than the svs, but my kitchen is not that big and I really love the idea that it is portable and I could actually visit my family next time and cook for them with this.

What do you think?

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This is great thank you. But has anyone had any experience with it? I wouldn't mind saving for something a bit better like the addelice controller.

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Hello all.

I am thinking into buying some sous vide equipment for my home. Is the sous vide supreme (or the demi) the way to go even now?

I would actually like something more similar to the polyscience circulator but the price is not within my reach, and I have found this one: http://www.sousvidet...rmal-circulator

I know that its more expensive than the svs, but my kitchen is not that big and I really love the idea that it is portable and I could actually visit my family next time and cook for them with this.

What do you think?

I've got one of them (I bought it direct from the Swiss factory. The price was about the same, but it came with a European plug). It works very well. I've had mine a few weeks and am very satisifed. The only slight drawback is that it seems to use a mechanical relay rather than an electronic one, so it might wear out after a few years of heavy use.

There's this other thread about it.

(Edited to add links)


Edited by Neil Smith (log)

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Have a look at http://www.allpax.de...de-Geraet.html. It's the same circulator, but a lot cheaper. Shipping to the UK is 17.85 Euros.

Just to mention that I bought this a year ago and it works amazingly!! I think it is the definite SV tool for the home cook. At first I was worried about its accuracy (it being 4 times less expensive than the Polyscience one...) but it has been bang on so far.

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