By Carley Knobloch
You might not be unboxing a robot butler this decade, but there’s a good chance you’ll be adding a robotic appliance to your kitchen. With ovens that recognize what’s inside and tell you how to cook it, slow cookers that are controlled via app and appliances that stop when your meal is “just right,” will home cooks go the way of telegraph operators? Here’s what’s cooking in the techiest kitchens of today.
My Oven, My Sous Chef
If you’ve got an overloaded cookbook shelf that you rarely touch, the idea of an appliance that walks you through meal prep might sound good. June Oven is a fast-heating countertop oven that uses a built-in camera and temperature sensors to “see” what you put in it and determines the ideal temperature, setting and cooking time. You can even stream video of your meal heating up—because why should restaurant meals hog your feed? But as for throwing out your cookbooks, not yet. It will take time for the technology to fully develop for this product and others to reach their full potential.
Who needs a cook when your appliance can prep a dish to your specifications? Sous-vide cooking heats water to the ideal temperature for your preferred doneness—meat, fish, and vegetables will all work. (Sous-vide is a French technique that involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and immersing it in a pot of low-temperature water.) Some sous-vide products have associated apps that walk you through the recipes, and can even be controlled with Amazon Alexa voice command, too. Selling under $200, they are now affordably priced for passionate home cooks looking to take the mystery out of a perfectly cooked dinner. You’ll still need to season before cooking, and sear some items afterward (steak looks a bit grey when it emerges from the water bath) so it’s not quite putting chefs out of a job. But, man, it makes gourmet cooking a cinch for home chefs, and the results are delicious.
Hello Egg wants to be the home cook’s sidekick, and it has thought of everything. Just place this small egg- shaped device on your kitchen counter, then start talking to this kitchen assistant (think Amazon Alexa with a degree from the CIA). It will help you come up with a meal plan for the week, come up with shopping lists and even order your produce for you. When it comes time to cook a meal, Hello Egg will walk you through the recipe with both voice instructions and short videos explaining techniques (in case it’s been a while since you whipped cream or zested a lemon).
With all this kitchen technology, home cooks can rest assured that their success rate in the kitchen will improve and that the future offers a lot of help with dinner.