If Sesame Street was about kitchen tech instead of toddler edu-tainment, “smart” would be the word of the day. Heading into 2016, everything in your scullery is becoming “smart” in one way or another. Kitchens haven’t seen as big a paradigm shift since the invention of the microwave.
But not every new kitchen invention will be adopted by professional cooks or the regular schmo. Below, I set the odds on which new piece of cooking tech will become the next must-have gadget to revolutionize your kitchen and which will find itself in a heap next to your Slap Chop.
Food processors are all the rage! They’re one of the best ways to make otherwise expensive treats, like almond butter, and you’re starting to see these handy workhorses becoming kitchen staples. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it’s definitely a tool you want.
This sleek food processor from Cuisinart speeds along your prep and cooking, with a large capacity work bowl for making quick meals for weeknight dinners or weekend parties. The technology on these are improving at a rapid rate; eventually blades will be replaced by freakin’ laser beams.
This smart food scale allows you to meet your dietary goals by giving you real-time, graphic insight into the nutrition of the food you eat. The Orange Chef’s prep pad uses an intuitive countertop app for the iPad that helps you plan meals, personalize nutrition goals, and customize ingredients. You’re going to see more of these arrive on the market as people want apps that are easy to use and which aid in living healthier lives. Expect to see more brands and selection when it comes to smart prep pads.
This smart tool combines two of the most important BBQ implements: tongs and a temperature fork. Before using, all you have to do is select the meat type and taste option preference; the display will read the appropriate internal temperature of the meat type and will let you know when it’s done. Once the target temperature is reached the tongs will beep, indicating that the meat is done to perfection. (Bonus: they look pretty cool!)
Drinking water is important and, more often than not, the majority of us don’t drink enough. Apple has a high-tech water bottle that helps you reach your “Pryme” – a.k.a. a daily water-intake goal that you set based on your vital stats. The cup uses Bluetooth in conjunction with any iOS device like an Apple Watch. You pair your device with the high-tech cup and the app will let you know when you should be drinking water. It will measure how much you’ve consumed and create a real-time graph so you can track your daily intake and see where you need to improve. With the popularity of self-health monitoring bands, this is another smart device that could take off.
Some people love sipping on fancy drinks but have no idea how to mix those sophisticated cocktails together. It’s okay because there’s an app for that. The Somabar spits out craft cocktails at the push of a button. The device connects to the user’s iOS or Android device over Wi-Fi, with a companion app then serving as the control panel for mixing drinks. It’s a neat machine that beats grabbing the big book of cocktail recipes. Soon people will have one of these right beside their coffee makers. Hopefully they don’t confuse the two at 7:00 AM though.
GoSun Solar Grill: 15/1
Imagine being able to cook up some meat or other items anywhere you want without the use of fuel. The GoSun Solar Grill can bake, boil, or fry a meal for up to eight people by using only the power of the sun. You don’t have to monitor it while it’s cooking as it will let you know when the food is done. It cooks food evenly and retains all the moisture.
The grill appears easy to transport and it’s perfect for the park, boat, beach, or kitchen. The best part is, it doesn’t need to be sunny for it to work. This looks like a very cool gadget that is a nice alternative to propane or gas-fueled grills. The $500 price tag might scare some people off, though.
Foodini 3D Printer: 19/1
You knew it was just a matter of time. For those of you who have trouble with the whole idea of cooking, the Foodini 3D printer will help create personalized cuisine. Although this all seems far too futuristic, it is technology of the present. All you do is add the ingredients and Foodini manages the difficult and time-consuming parts of food prep.
3D printing technology isn’t going away and it will only become far more robust. Eventually it will allow us to alter the tastes of meals and create perfect food that has all the vitamins and minerals you need to treat or prevent certain health conditions. This 3D printer is being fast tracked for space travel and could easily be a part of kitchens as the technology improves. The adoption process might take a while but the tech is here to stay.
The Steakager: 20/1
Dry-aging steak is something most of us associate with large, upscale steakhouses. Now a company is looking to bring the process to your home by offering a dry-aging box for your fridge. The aging box is powered by a tiny 12-volt DC power pack that you can plug into a wall outlet. The box controls the humidity and smell with the use of a humidistat and exhaust fan. It’s one of the most flavorful ways of preparing a steak. With the use of probes, you can connect to your smart phone and monitor the aging process.
Will it take off? Currently the inventors are raising money on Kickstarter but it could be one of those luxury items that becomes an essential element to posh kitchens the world over. (Well, maybe not in India.)
Kitchen Nano Garden: 22/1
It’s tough to grow vegetables all year round. But this new Hyundai invention allows herbivores to grow their own greens 12 months a year right on the kitchen counter. It also acts as a natural air purifier and recycles waste water to grow the veg.
Kitchen Nano Garden is a hydroponic system (no soil) that has a controlling mechanism for providing the essentials for plants, like water, carbon-dioxide, light, and nutrients. It looks like a great idea but is it something people want in their kitchen? People with extra cash to spend will be the early adopters of this in 2016.
Did your mom ever tell you to slow down while eating? Science shows that eating too fast leads to poor digestion and weight management. The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you control your eating habits. A subtle alarm or vibration will go off when you are eating too fast. This magic utensil will also measure how long it takes to eat your meal, the amount of fork-servings per minute, and the intervals between fork servings. All of that information is uploaded to your online dashboard on HAPI.com so you can see your progress. Your fork basically becomes your eating coach. An interesting concept, but will it catch on? Call it a long shot.
(Photo Credit: Jaume Escofet [https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaumescar/14421023480]. Photo has been cropped.)