This year the tech world has taken one eye off the living room, distracted, it seems, by what’s going on in the kitchen. Because what is a hub of the home without a connected home hub?
From the expected smart fridges and sous vides, to the elegance of under-counter extraction and sheer brilliance of froach pods – and even a seedling incubating urn – we’ve delved into the culinarily inclined innovations to look out for in 2019. Some of these products are on sale now and others are due to launch later this year.
KitchenAid Smart Display
A welcome upgrade to the slew of same-same smart displays available, this Google-Assistant-powered design has a 10in touch screen, can play you the headlines, stream from Spotify or Netflix and all the rest you’d expect – but, thanks to a partnership with smart recipe and shopping planner app Yummly you can access thousands of step-by-step video cooking ideas from some of the world’s leading chefs. Sensibly it’s also IPX5 water resistant, so you can rinse it under the tap when you’ve finished prodding it with greasy fingers. The KitchenAid Smart Display is due to be released in the second half of 2019.
Price: £TBC | KitchenAid
Choc Creator V2.0 Plus
Instead of 3D-printing in plastic, the Choc Creator will turn your doodles and designs into intricate 2D or 3D models from quality couverture dark chocolate (with a cocoa butter percentage of at least 54). The depth of the layered prints varies from a 20mm morsel up to a 38mm mouthful, and can be designed using traditional CAD software. To use, molten tempered chocolate is drawn up via a large syringe and then kept heated at an ideal 31°C throughout the printing process.
Samsung Family Hub 4.0
The look and cooling capabilities haven’t changed much from previous Family Hub designs, but Samsung has updated its flagship side-by-side fridge freezer with some genuinely smart features. The 29in Wi-Fi connected touchscreen with 5W speakers remains at the heart of the experience, as does the built-in HD camera allowing you to “view inside” from your smartphone or via the big screen without opening the door (thus saving energy), but it’s improvements to Bixby voice and SmartThings home control that Samsung reckons will elevate the user experience beyond just having a big tablet nailed to the fridge door.
Ask Bixby for a Morning Briefing and the voice ID technology can now distinguish between family members, adjusting diary and schedule information accordingly. Also, its language is more conversational and its actions now go beyond simply opening apps. And if CES demos are to be believed the fridge will soon benefit from Bixby Vision and with it, the ability to identify food in the fridge, tag it with best-before dates and even suggest recipes.
Price: £2,699 | Samsung
An invention of the early 1960s as a way to blend and cook soup simultaneously, the Thermomix is now the most advanced kitchen tool available with the ability to grind, chop, mix, knead, stir, whisk, blend, steam, cook, weigh and emulsify. But with the all-new TM6 you can add sous-vide cooking, fermentation and browning to this comprehensive list, not to mention access to 40,000 step-by-step recipes via the quad-core Wi-Fi connected processor and 6.8in touchscreen display. As it’s smart, there must be a hidden-cost subscription service involved somewhere, and in this case it’s the £30-a-year inspiration network Cookidoo.
Price: £1,099 | Thermomix
Boskke Till Planter
Developed in partnership with leading supermarket herb growers such as O’Hanlon Herbs in Ireland, the Till Planter uses Slo-Flo irrigation (a reservoir hidden in the walls), which gradually feeds water to the plant via a terracotta-based composite disc in the bottom of the internal planting cup – the upshot being that you may only need to water the plants once a month, and your shop-bought potted herbs last longer than a few days.
Price: From £9.95 to £24.95 | Boskke
Hive Explorer 2.0
In the near future, when the insurmountable environmental issues surrounding meat production finally hit home, our supermarket shelves could well be stacked with processed flour beetle larvae. In the meantime, LIVIN Farms has created the Hive Explorer 2.0, a simple home cultivation kit that will not only get rid of your food waste – turning it into plant fertiliser – but produce enough larvae (aka mealworms) to make up to three protein-packed meals a week. The kit features a clean air filter, automated climate control and hot plate and full instructions (including recipes) for you to start cultivating your own. Apparently, they’re great lightly fried and seasoned as a beer snack. Enjoy. (Pre-orders are open now for September 2019 shipping).
Price: $137 | Livinfarms
BORA Pure Puru
Cooking and extraction go together like foam reduction and Michelin-starred restaurants, and we’re astonished it has taken appliance brands so long to properly marry hobs and extractor fans. Admittedly BORA isn’t the only brand offering under-counter extraction, but this is by far the most elegant, with four oversized induction rings combined with a design-focused air-inlet nozzle that’s available in six colours to match your room scheme.
The air is cleaned at source using a charcoal filter with ion exchanger, so cooking smells don’t make it into the rest of the house – a bonus for open-plan layouts – and the recirculation model is only 200mm thick, so you don’t lose too much cupboard space. The extraction rate automatically adjusts itself to match the cooking conditions and any parts of the extractor that come in contact with cooking vapours can be put in the dishwasher for cleaning.
Price: From £2,028 | Bora
Valek Rolling Pin
From zebra stripes and gingerbread men to paisley prints, geometric patterns and intricate woodland scenes, this embossing rolling pin from Poland can’t help but raise a smile. Made from local solid beech, each design is laser-engraved and then hand-finished with oil. They are 45cm long, 6cm in diameter and weigh a satisfying 600g. For something a little more personal they also offer a bespoke service for just €10 more with your choice of name, text or emojis.
Price: from €30 | Valek
Morphy Richards Mico
A game-changer for the lazy – sorry, time-poor – freelancer or office worker, Mico is a cheese toastie maker designed for the microwave that produces a sandwich in a fraction of the time it takes to dig out the Breville from the back of the cupboard. The secret lies in the sealed silicone-coated metal plates that convert the microwaves into conventional grill cooking; and while we were more than a little sceptical, the mess-free perfectly browned and suitably ooozy results in under five minutes has us convinced.
Alessi Sbriciola Breadboard
Designed by Anna and Gian Franco Gasparini for Alessi, this exceptionally sensible but ultimately stylish breadboard made from solid, supremely sustainable bamboo is a crumb-hater’s dream come true. The wide open slats allow crumbs to fall through to the thermoplastic resin tray below, while you can store your bread knife (assuming it’s shorter than 42cm) in the dedicated compartment. Note the slats stop where the knife drawer starts so your blade tray will remain clean no matter how many loaves you get through.
Wüsthof 9in Double Serrated Bread Knife
To complement the Sbriciola, we’ve chosen this perfectly weighted double-serrated bread knife, designed by Björn Berger for Wüsthof. The precision-forged, full-tang knife features a nature-fibre and resin handle, sculpted to reduce fatigue; and as with all in the collection it’s finished with two distinct stainless-steel rivets. Not only does the unique double serration result in smoother cuts with less tearing and fewer crumbs than a standard serrated edge, but the deeper scallops and recessed teeth should mean that the blade never touches your cutting board, which in turn significantly extends times between sharpening.
Joule Sous Vide
Despite being a technology developed by professionals to save time without dropping standards when catering for the masses, sous vide remains the holy grail for at-home chefs and cookery show contestants. And with its 99.8 per cent efficiency, compact cutlery-drawer-sized design and 1,100 watts of power, Joule might finally make that perfectly done steak at home a reality. Combined with a novice-friendly app featuring dozens of step-by-step guides and tips, it’s the simplest design we’ve seen, and while it still takes preparation and patience to get right, being able to choose how done you like your meat – from a photo on your phone – and letting the app do the rest is a simple but welcome feature for the uninitiated.
Joseph Joseph Froach Pods
Part frying, part poaching, these simple pods offer an altogether healthier way to cook eggs that uses up to 95 per cent less oil than traditional frying. Simply wipe a little oil on the underside of the pod, place in a frying pan, crack an egg into the hole on top, then add a little water to the reservoir at the side and watch as it “steam-fries” to perfection. However, they’ll only work with non-stick pans.
Based around the Bios Urn – a 100 per cent biodegradable plant pot designed to contain a loved one’s remains and all the ingredients to grow a tree or plant as a natural memorial – the Incube, rather than simply burying the urn outside, lets you incubate a seedling at home and enjoy new life from old. The modern plant pot comes with a self-watering sensor that monitors soil moisture as well as air temperature and humidity levels, to maximise your plant’s chance of survival, which is just as well, given the circumstances.
At a towering 750mm tall, the Bios Incube is sure to make its presence felt around the house – or get under your feet – depending on the your fondness for the deceased.
Price: $695 | Bios
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