Can someone explain sous vide to me?

When Carla agreed to sous vide her steak last night on Top Chef (although she noted that she was unfamiliar with the technique), alarm bells went off in my head. Having perused the internet today, it's clear that I'm not I am not alone.

Although it was definitely the wrong move for Carla, the technique seems to be widely appreciated by chefs and those who appreciate good food. But I don't really get it. I don't mean the concept. I understand how the cooking happens. I'm just not sure why or when anyone would want to use it. I don't think I've ever eaten anything cooked sous vide. Does it just make your protein mush? What effect does it have on food? When is it the right technique to use?

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