SAN JOSE, Calif. — An emerging Silicon Valley style of cuisine is on the rise. It should come as no surprise that it has a scientific bent and uses sensors, microcontrollers, wireless networks and mobile apps. Consider this your invite to a high-tech cook off in July.
A handful of startups are putting a new spin on the old stereotype of the Internet refrigerator that sends you a text when you need to buy milk. This time around the goals are more diverse, useful and tasty.
“I’m sick of discussions dominated by the Internet refrigerator,” said Jim Reich, a CTO of Palate Home Inc., a San Francisco startup making a connected precision grill for consumers. “Kitchen devices can have higher value than that because this is an area where you can make a big difference in people’s lives,” he said.
For its part, Palate Home is about to ship alpha units of its Palate Smart Grill, a device that aims to bring consumers the sous-vide experience offered in top restaurants. I had to look up sous vide to find out it’s a method of slow cooking food often in sealed bags in relatively low temperature water baths, popularized in the 1960’s.
According to the Palate Home Web site:
The best chefs have specialized tools for precision cooking, like combi ovens which cost tens of thousands of dollars and require a dedicated water line. We’ve optimized this precision-cooking technique for the home chef in an electric grill. [It requires] just one minute for setup, and one minute when you’re ready to eat. Powerful software and advanced sensors automatically adjust the cooking profile to give optimum results for your exact food.
Reich planted the idea in my head to organize a session on “Cooking with IoT” at the Embedded Systems Conference in Santa Clara where I am also helping organize a broader session on the Internet of Things.
Next page: Intelligent pans, connected scales
There are plenty of potential panelists for our “Cooking with IoT” session.
For instance, at least three companies are already selling networked sous-vide devices. Sansaire is selling a $199 gadget, Nomiku has $299 and $129 versions — it claims the latter is the first to use WiFi (shipping in April) — and Anova Culinary has a $179 Bluetooth model and a $599 pro version that cooks up to eight pounds of food in 15 gallons of water.
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