May 2008: Interview with Mark Walker – New Product Development Manager at Loxtonfoodco – who uses Clifton water baths to develop new product lines.
Q) Mark, how long have you been using Clifton Food Range water baths in production development?
A) For about eighteen months now.
Q) Which type of foods are you developing in the baths?
A) We are developing a full range of sous vide products with various proteins including beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish and we are also looking at working with some types of fruit.
Q) Do you use the water baths every day?
A) Yes, they are in constant daily use, for both cooking and regeneration.
Q) Have the baths made the development cycle shorter and more efficient?
A) Yes, they have removed any guesswork with regards to time and temperature, letting us gain precise results quite often with the first hit.
Q) What methods did you use prior to acquiring the Clifton water bath?
A) Before the Clifton Food Range bath we used a pasta boiler. This could operate within our required temperature range of 70-95ºC, but it lacked the accuracy that the Clifton unit has.
Q) What are the key advantages derived from using the Clifton baths compared to a more traditional approach?
A) The baths maintain a constant temperature over long periods of time making them ideal for those long slow cooks – you could not get this consistency using traditional methods. They also have large capacity tanks and smooth internal
surfaces which means the vacuum packs stay intact.
Q) What is the equipment actually like to use?
A) The baths are easy to use, with simple controls, and are very easy to clean as well. As each unit is compact they don’t hog the work surface and they are also economical to run.
Q) How easy is it to move from trial stage to production on your own premises?
A) Very easy. The trial recipe is scaled up and cooking times and temperatures are mirrored in the factory, so the end result is an accurate reflection of the original development sample. This is vital: we pride ourselves on product quality and consistency and the results at the development stage in terms of taste and texture must be mirrored in the finished products that come off the production line.
Q) So Clifton Food Range is very much part of your company now.
A) The water baths have proved their worth very quickly. We have two baths now which allow us great flexibility: to compliment our first unit we recently bought an FLD-8/22 Duobath™ which has two separate controllable tanks allowing two cooks to work simultaneously with different times and temperatures. The two units now form the basis for all our sous vide development taking us forward to the next level.