The future of smart appliance cooking is here – and it’s kind of dumb

The future of smart appliance cooking is here – and it’s kind of dumb

You may have heard, but there was just a little trade show that happened the other week out in Las Vegas called the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In and amongst the things that were announced was the CookingPal Julia, which ostensibly is looking to simplify your cooking routines with some smarts.

Out of the gate, the CookingPal Julia, you’ve got what amounts to a sort of fancy food processor that can connect to (surprise surprise) a proprietary tablet that has been ruggedized for the kitchen environment. I get it, kitchens are messy, things can get splashed, you want your tablet protected. But any number of cases can do that, so why yet another tablet? Reading further shows that they will have Android and iOS apps available, so that gives you some flexibility at least to use the device of your choosing.

Where the CookingPal Julia looks to shine is in two places – in telling you what to cook, and how to cook it. For “what to cook” you can tell it (or show it, it’s got cameras) what ingredients you have, and it’ll find a recipe to work with those. Or if you’ve got something specific in mind, it can order up ingredients you may be missing. These are all clever bits, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking.

So, that leaves the cooking device, the actual Julia part of the CookingPal Julia. While it looks like your basic food processor, it’s got other tricks up it’s sleeve, including modes for chop, mix, blend, knead, weigh, boil, emulsify, steam, grind, grate, whisk and cook. Why do you need all of that? Well, paired with the app (or the tablet) it can tell you what to add, when. So, you know, if you like your phone ordering you around like a mindless drone, I guess this is the device for you?

If you’re guessing I’m not quite a fan of the CookingPal Julia, well, you’re right. While I’m not a pro chef by any means, I do enjoy cooking. It’s something I learned from an early age, and eventually, you learn that cooking is all about experimenting to make things your own, and adjusting to your own tastes. Yes, if you’re just learning, you’ll be following those recipes to the letter. But eventually, you want to experiment. While baking is all about the science, cooking can be an art form. Yes, Alton Brown taught us science is important, but cooking allows you the freedom to play.

And, if you’re just marching to the commands that the CookingPal Julia is throwing down, you’re going to literally be a cog in the cooking machine – and nothing more. At first, something like this seems like it could make sense for someone just starting out cooking for themselves, but with a (somewhere under) $1000 price tag, I think you’d be better off getting a few good pots and pans, trying out a few meal subscription services, and then forging your own path.

One might be tempted to say that I’m against gadgets in the kitchen, but that’s not the case. Touchless IR thermometer? It’s handy! Sous vide sticks? They can do things you can’t do otherwise. This, though, it’s taking what connects you to cooking right out of the process. So, as I say – while the CookingPal Julia is trying to tell us the future of cooking is smart, it feels like it’s gone right past dumbing down the process and made cooking “it’s got electrolytes” dumb. cookingpal.com

Features – Smart Kitchen Appliance

  • Design: Sleek, contemporary compact design (440 x 310 x 370 mm) with a stainless steel 3L bowl. All- in-one base with scale accurate to 5g, powerful motor with 10 speeds up to of 5200 RPM and heating unit that cooks up to 130 degrees Celsius/265 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Modes: Chop, mix, blend, knead, weigh, boil, emulsify, steam, grind, grate, whisk and cook
  • Connectivity: The Smart Kitchen Unit and Smart Kitchen Hub connect via Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi
    a/b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)
    Cleaning and Care: Julia’s bowl is dishwasher safe or can self-clean simply by adding dish soap and
    water to the bowl and setting it to mixing mode

Features – Smart Kitchen Hub

  • Design: 8.9’ touch screen Android tablet with jog dial and portable stand. Durable features to withstand tough kitchen environments
  • Recipes: An always-growing database of hundreds of chef-tested recipes
  • Automation: AI food recognition feature assists throughout the cooking process, but also provides valuable nutritional information for each ingredient, allowing the user to make healthy food choices.
  • Connectivity: Integrated grocery shopping and delivery feature through partnering retailers. Voice
    control functionality using leading voice assistants.
  • App: Accompanying Android or iOS app that will also connect with future CookingPal appliances as well as other smart home devices and apps to create the ultimate connected kitchen.

Availability

Julia will retail for under $1,000 and will be available in Q3 2020. In the coming months, CookingPal will announce additional products in its expanding Smart Kitchen portfolio, including a smart oven and smart pressure cooker. All CookingPal systems will seamlessly connect with its accompanying app.

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