Meet... Dr. Bruno Goussault
Chief Scientist, Cuisine Solutions

Education: Ph.D. in Economics, Universtiy of Paris Pantheon; and a post-graduate degree from the Institut d'Etudes du Développement Economique et Social (IEDES)

Experience: In the 1960s, Goussault worked for the United Nations in Africa and improved techniques for milling sorghum and millet. Then, back in France, he invented a super-quick-cooking two-minute rice. While working as a meat specialist in 1971, Goussault discovered that if roast beef was vacuum-sealed in a specially designed pouch and slowly cooked at a slightly-lower-than-usual temperature, it showed little sign of profit-robbing shrinkage compared to conventional cooking methods. Plus, the flavor was notably enhanced..

Other: Goussault also heads up the faculty at the Culinary Research and Education Academy, (CREA), a school he founded in 1991 to train chefs on the art and science of sous-vide. Cuisine Solutions is the parent company of CREA.


Bruno Goussault with students at the Culinary Research and Education Academy, Paris.


Prepared Foods’ “Food for Thought” feature interview series involves food company R&D professionals, nutritionists, research chefs and other industry executives.

In this third edition, Prepared Foods Chief Editor Bob Garrison talks with Dr. Bruno Goussault, chief scientist, Cuisine Solutions. Cuisine Solutions, Alexandria, Va., formulates, processes and packages sous-vide (“under vacuum”) entrees, sauces, side dishes and other items for foodservice operators ranging from casual national chains to first-class hotels. The company recently opened its fourth processing plant, a new $30 million facility in Sterling, Va. It complements a plant in nearby Alexandria, as well as two plants in Louviers and Le Petre, France. Cuisine Solutions also partners with Chicago’s Kendall College to run a sous-vide training kitchen for culinary students.

Cuisine Solutions says distinguished chefs such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter, Michel Richard and Mark Miller endorse and use the company’s products. Others, such as Panera Bread’s Dan Kish, have called Goussault the “Einstein of cooking.”

Prepared Foods: You certainly have a fascinating global background in economics, process engineering and experience that’s touched every part of food science, production and even food packaging.
How do you describe yourself?

Dr. Bruno Goussault: I am a scientist at the service of chefs, who are true artists. While I am not a chef, I stand next to world-class chefs to help them to understand what is actually happening within a product while it is being cooked and to explain to them how to obtain the optimal results they seek.

PF: If we looked into your freezer or refrigerator, what sous-vide products would we find? What are few of your personal favorites? Why?

Goussault: You would likely find the base ingredients for dishes that I will cook and assemble at the time of plating. Those could include rack of lamb, the base for a veal stew, pork belly and beef short ribs. And you’d likely find all kinds of white fish: cod fish, halibut and turbot.

PF: Tell us about your average day.

Goussault: My average day depends on the needs at Cuisine Solutions and CREA (Culinary Research & Education Academy, Paris). I alternate between working with the Cuisine Solutions’ quality assurance teams in the United States and in France and leading research work and chef training at CREA.

My number-one job at Cuisine Solutions is to keep improving the sous-vide technique. I started developing the method in 1971 and have continued to advance it ever since.  I help our chefs develop new sous-vide products that are superior in quality, flavor, tenderness and nutritional integrity compared to any others in the world.  At CREA, I am focused primarily on research and teaching some of the world’s great chefs on using the sous-vie method.  At the same time, I learn from them, too.  

Between these two roles, I am able to help Cuisine Solutions advance and expand the adoption of sous-vide around the globe.

PF: Your sous-vide work dates back to 1971. However, it seems as though so many food companies and restaurant operators are still discovering it today. Looking back, how do you describe the technology’s development and growth during the ‘70s?

Goussault: In the ‘70s the excitement of sous-vide was just beginning and it was all about the discovery of cooking at low temperatures. In 1974, I worked on a study that was presented at an international frozen-foods conference in Strasbourg, France, about the sous-vide cooking of beef shoulder. We discovered that cooking beef with this technique extended its shelf life to 60 days. 

PF: What happened with the technology during the ‘80s and ‘90s?

Goussault: During the ‘80s and ‘90s, the enthusiasm of sous-vide was really about new phases of development in the restaurants and well as within the meat industry. It was an era of experimentation and learning. In 1991, I founded CREA in Paris to train chefs around the world in the art and science of precise temperature cooking.

PF: Finally, how would you describe developments during these last 13 years?

Goussault: After several decades of research, the 2000’s brought us right where we needed to be for correct temperature cooking and its expanding developments. We have now entered into a phase where restaurants and other food companies are really taking an interest in the fact that sous-vide menu items can be readily and consistently prepared and plated from a wide-variety of diverse serving venues—without the need to invest in millions of dollars of new equipment.

PF: That brings me to next question. What market factors are driving today’s interest?

Goussault: There is a buzz because consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and demanding about their food choices and what they want: high-quality meals quickly and easily prepared at a great price. The sous-vide preparation method maintains the natural flavor, integrity and consistent quality of meal items, so our [restaurant operator] partners know their customers will get the same great-tasting meals no matter what restaurant location they visit or what flight they are taking across the country.

Sous-vide also eliminates the need for additives or preservatives, producing foods that are more natural and minimally processed; features deep, intense flavor and less product shrinkage and yield; tenderizes and preserves food’s nutritional content (so items like meat, poultry and fish can be easily cut with a fork); enhances natural flavors so fewer herbs and spices are required; and frees up a chef to spend more time on side dishes and creative presentation.

PF: What questions and/or concerns do you hear most from food scientist and product formulators?

Goussault: Typically the biggest concerns revolve around how long and how hot to cook the food. Whereas most cooking relies on a chef’s ability to judge whether a protein has been properly cooked based on sight, smell and feel—sous-vide relies on precise times and temperatures. 

For example, there is a window for meats and fish. It falls between 52 degrees Celsius (about 125 degrees Fahrenheit) and 62 degrees Celsius (about 144 degrees Fahrenheit). If the meat doesn’t reach an internal temperature of 52, you risk potentially harmful bacteria, and once it climbs above 62, you begin denaturing proteins. It takes extensive experience and expertise to find the perfect internal temperature and cooking time for dishes while not compromising safety.

PF: Can you elaborate on this a little more. We know one corporate research chef who’s expressed those same concerns.

Goussault: The objectives and challenges of sous-vide cooking are two-fold.  On the one hand, you first need to develop a food’s taste, texture and colors.  And at the same time, you need to destroy the vegetative forms of pathogenic bacteria to ensure it is safe to eat.  We have discovered that it is possible to realize both of those objectives at the same time if you follow the proper techniques.

Long cooking times—followed by proper cooling—kills bacteria with the same effectiveness as higher temperatures. This process also stabilizes the food so it can be stored longer before serving. Low temperatures make for better tasting food because there is virtually no loss of natural flavors.  On the other hand, higher temperatures cause the cell walls in food to burst and make it impossible for the food to reabsorb the liquid it loses. Ultimately, this causes a product to dry out.

Sous-vide is just as much about the science as it is the art, which is why we created CREA. Students going through the program learn the proper techniques for sous-vide, allowing them to create delicious meals that are safe to eat. 

PF: Here’s another real chef’s question. “What would be the shelf life of a product that was sous-vide processed just under pasteurization (such as fish)? As we know once we hit the pasteurization point on some products, the eating quality goes down. How do we work though this?”

Goussault: Shelf life depends on the balance between the alteration and the conservation of good and bad bacterial flora, as well as enzymatic actions. Tenderness increases during the extended storage of meat as naturally-occurring enzymes break down the proteins (a process called “proteolysis”). This is what we call meat maturation. This happens much faster in fish, and the smell, sapidity and texture can reveal how far along it is in this process. Processes like this that may last three weeks in a typical cut of meat can turn bad in fish after nine to 10 days.

PF: Let’s look at today’s market and also into the future. How would you describe sous-vide’s maturity and market penetration?

Goussault: We always are in a phase of market penetration and expansion, and the pace is quickening   In 2010, Time magazine called sous-vide the "edge of culinary innovation" but it’s matured since then to move beyond the point of just being an haute cuisine trend. It’s here to stay. No other cooking method produces such consistently excellent textures and flavors, or maintains the natural integrity of foods so well. That’s why our fine restaurant-quality products are trusted by the world’s top chefs and favored by passionate foodies.

These days, we are experiencing extraordinarily strong demand from fast-casual restaurant chains, airlines, hotels and more to work with us to prepare custom, sous-vide menu items.  So strong, in fact, that we are just opened a second plant in Virginia to handle the increased demand.  This will be our fourth plant in the world, and is the most highly automated sous-vide production facility on earth.

PF: Where do you see more growth opportunities?

Goussault: We always are conducting new research involving microbiology, texture, packaging, temperature and ingredients. In the domain of cooked vegetables, for example, there is still so much to do. Our commitment to investing in research and innovation helps both Cuisine Solutions as a business, or customers, consumers and the industry.

There are definitely more opportunities for growth in the fast-casual restaurant industry, especially as chains fight to compete with the explosion of trendy, local fast-casual restaurants. Consumers have more choices for a quality, price-friendly meal today than ever before, so fast-casual chains are getting creative to bring customers to the table through new dining experiences and higher quality menu options.

Airlines, too, are looking for new ways to raise their profiles and provide consumers an experience that goes beyond mere transportation. Offering gourmet meals can enhance the flying experience and build loyalty, and sous-vide meals can ensure consistent taste and quality in a space that does not have room for a full kitchen, let alone a cooking staff.

Hotels also are looking for ways to differentiate themselves and offering gourmet, room-service meals, 24-7 is a benefit they can bring to the recreational and business traveler alike. With sous-vide, they don’t have to worry about keeping a head chef on staff around the clock and guests can be served a gourmet meal no matter what time of day or night.

PF: What are a few concerns? What could challenge sous-vide’s growth and what can you do to address those potential threats?

Goussault: We see tremendous opportunities for growth in this industry. Research must continue because there are always new things we can learn about sous-vide cooking for meat and fish and we still have everything to discover when it comes to fruits and vegetables. 

In terms of challenges, they relate to people understanding the benefits of sous-vide food, including its ability to maintain the natural flavor, integrity and consistent quality of menu offerings from a wide variety of diverse serving venues. Through CREA, we are helping educate a new generation of chefs on the art and science of sous-vide cooking. And, through our work with our partners across a broad spectrum of food service industries, we are helping educate new converts to the benefits of sous-vide cooking.

At Cuisine Solutions, we are all about the food. Because of our work perfecting the art and science of sous-vide, we have made it possible for restaurants and food companies of all sizes to serve gourmet meals to their consumers without the need to do an overhaul of their own kitchens and equipment. All of this combines to create a very strong future for the sous-vide industry, and especially for Cuisine Solutions.