Tovala is a new smart oven that aims to serve up healthy, tasty, chef-curated meals – in minutes, at home, with no prep, cooking or cleanup. It’s a big statement but it’s recent success on Kickstarter suggests that ordinary people like you and me are excited about this new development.
What is a Smart Oven?
A smart oven is different to your typical cooker.
Instead of manually dialing in your desired cooking temperature and regularly checking your food to see if it’s finished cooking, smart ovens often feature a scanner which reads special barcodes so it can “know” how to cook the food (what temperature, for how long etc.).
Some smart ovens may feature technology that can detect the food that’s placed inside them or learn cooking times and temperatures based on programming the device. Samsung and Breville are two big brands that have entered the smart oven marketplace but startups like June and Tovala are after a slice of the action too.
Restaurant Quality Equipment in Your Home
The Tovala smart oven is not just a standard oven. It combines three different heating techniques including convection (dry heat), grilling and steam (wet heat). These combination ovens are commonplace in professional kitchens. They are big, bulky, cost tens of thousands to buy and often require expensive maintenance.
Tovala aims to bring restaurant quality equipment and restaurant quality food to your own home with its compact, counter-top device. The combination of heating methods means food can be cooked in variety of different ways, making the device very versatile. Many of their pre-prepared meal kits can be cooked within 10 to 20 minutes which is a big tick in the convenience box and will no doubt appeal to busy consumers.
Bringing these sophisticated cooking methods to the home kitchen sounds expensive but the team at Tovala are aiming to make their oven as affordable as possible. The pre-order models sold for $299 with future units having an estimated retail price of $329.
Taking Meal Kit Delivery to Another Level
Tovala aren’t only planning to sell their smart oven but they also have plans for a pre-prepared meal delivery service offering a range of ready to go meals. These are specially prepared meals where all the ingredients cook in the same amount of time.
Meals are curated by master chefs and come in a range of options to suit a number of different dietary requirements. The Tovala website lists delicious offerings such as Black Pepper Crusted Salmon, Honey Roasted Acorn Squash and Miso Glazed Sea Bass. Yum!
Not only will they offer pre-packaged, ready to go meals but users can cook their own recipes and share them with the Tovala community via an online forum and through the Tovala app.
Imagine popping your food in the oven and then relaxing on the sofa, tapping away on your smartphone or tablet to check the progress of your food as it cooks automatically.
With our app, you will have complete control to cook whatever you want, however you want – you’ll be able to program anything from a complex sequence of cooking methods to just baking, broiling, or steaming at a specific temperature for a specific time.
A smart oven and smart tech. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
The Smart Tech Behind this Smart Oven
The Tovala oven uses wireless technology to connect to the Tovala app which allows uses to control the device remotely. The oven itself can also be connected to your wifi to ensure its software is also up to date.
Inside, the cooking elements are connected to a micro controller that regulates temperatures and can rapidly switch between different cooking modes: steaming, baking, grilling and convection heat. This enables your meal to be cooked to perfection every time – even taking into account differing ambient conditions unique to your own home.
Tovala recently had huge success on Kickstarter, raising over $255,000 from over 1000 backers. That campaign is now over and it’s not clear if the company are taking any further pre-orders at this time. You can join their community of foodies and register to become a beta tester for free.
All this smart tech sounds great, but I wonder if passionate cooks will want to give up the control and creativity of home cooking. Will a smart oven like this be something that gets regular use or join the ranks of the centrifugal juicer and bread maker that may be gathering dust in your cupboard?
Relying on delivery of pre-packaged food might feel a bit constrained. But as long as the Tovala is genuinely flexible enough to cook your own creations, it sounds like a brilliant bit of kit!