Sous vide has graduated from being a specialized technique adored by the few, to a specialized technique anyone can use. There are now a couple of consumer-grade sous vide cooker options on the market: the Sous Vide Supreme
, which is a big tank of water that holds a constant temperature; and the new Polyscience Creative circulator
, which you immerse in your own bath of water (a stock pot works well). The Polyscience one is a lower-budget (but still $500) version of the immersion circulators used in laboratories and kitchens worldwide: it keeps the temperature steadier than the Sous Vide Supreme, with no hot or cold spots, even if you add and remove food from the bath frequently. But it costs more, and it's not styled like a countertop appliance, if you're into that.
The third option is the slightly more DIY approach
, which entails buying your giftee a PID temperature controller
that hooks up to a rice cooker or slow cooker. This is the cheapest and in many ways the most flexible option.
Creative circulator, $500; Sous Vide Supreme
, $429, or Sous Vide Supreme Demi, $329; PID controller