Sous-vide is a cooking method that allows you to make amazingly tender vegetables and meats by cooking food in a warm water bath. It’s risen in popularity in the last few years and home machines like Anova have driven down the price of a good machine in the past year. Now there’s the Mellow, a sort of sous-vide smart crockpot that you can program to make your soft boiled eggs at an exact time and keep food cool until it needs to be cooked.
It works by refrigerating the water – and the items in it – until it’s ready to cook. The machine then raises the water temperature to 195 degrees Fahrenheit and circulates the water around the vacuum-sealed ingredients until they’re ready to eat. You don’t need a vacuum sealer and the kit includes resealable plastic bags. A built-in scale weighs the food and sets the time and temperature based on food type. In short, you drop food in, press a button on your phone, and come home to a really nice steak.
The real smarts are in the app which can figure out what you’re eating, remind you of recipes, and ask you if you’d like to try new variations on old favorites. You can also set the cooker to turn on at a certain time and notify you when your food is done.
The machine costs $400 in pre-order and may be worth the price. Given that it’s sort of like a programmable coffeemaker crossed with a really nice cooking device, you get a lot of value in a small package and, as a sous-vide convert, let me tell you that a good sous-vide steak or chicken breast is amazing and the strangely crisp yet cooked vegetables that come out of these things are great.
Mellow also looks really nice. Created by Catarina Violante and Ze Pinto Ferreira, the team was originally based in Portugal and is now designing kitchen hardware in the UK. Their vision is to create easy-to-manage tools for home chefs so they can “relax” and let the food cook itself. Sounds tasty.