If a bad craftsman blames their tools, then a bad cook blames their kitchen appliances. Whether you think it's your oven rather than your cookery skills that's the issue or not, there's a new raft of futuristic appliances that are promising to take some of the guesswork out of home cooking.
Not only are ovens being stacked with an ever-growing number of smart tech gadgets as part of a modern automated home, from app controls to integrated heat probes, but they’re also becoming more intelligent, too.
Yes, while the way we operate these appliances is shifting, designers and manufacturers are also using their new connected nature to implement machine learning artificial intelligence.
The culmination is inevitable - robotic ovens that do the cooking for you. And while that might still sound like a work of science fiction, it might be closer than you think. Take a look at what AI ovens are bringing to the (dinner) table.
What can AI technology do in an oven?
Manufacturers are beginning to adopt artificial intelligence to learn how to cook better, while predicting the outcome of whatever you're cooking or baking, based on the oven's internal environment.
'There are many sensors in the oven, measuring parameters such as inside temperature, humidity, heat or air circulation,’ says Matteo De Lise, Director of Unox Casa, creator of the SuperOven (opens in new tab) which features AI technology. 'Behind them is a machine-learning system that can recognize certain sequences from this data and make intelligent predictions, including how long the cooking process will take.'
Bosch has also applied AI to its Series 8 ovens, which can connect to the AI Cloud, learning from other users of these ovens, continually increasing its expertise in cooking by crowdsourcing this data.
This tech can be used to more accurately predict how something is going to cook - in this instance, the Bosch Series 8 updates its predicted baking or cooking time every 30 seconds based on what's happening inside the oven.
The future is pre-set
How all this AI-power plays out is in how we cook our food. Instead of Googling how long you should cook something, twiddling the oven knobs and hoping for the best, ovens are already moving towards smart control panels that offer pre-set cooking routines.
Franke's Mythos range, for example, has a CookAssist feature that helps you with more homogenous cooking for certain dishes by using a pre-set settings. Whether you're baking bread or pastry, leavening dough or cooking poultry, meat or a casserole, the oven selects pre-determined ideal settings.
However, with AI technology involved, these settings are much more sophisticated and tailored. 'The SuperOven, for example, will automatically choose the settings, measure the food load,' Matteo tells us. 'It then adjusts the cooking process for them to make it perfect.'
How to tailor your cooking with AI
AI ovens like the SuperOven allow you to specify how you want your food cooked too, by selecting from a breakdown of further pre-set selections. 'All you need to do is select the type of food you want to cook and the desired cooking result,' explains Matteo.
For example, if you’re cooking a chicken, you could select the outside to be ‘crispy’ and the inside to be ‘juicy’, and the oven handles the rest. The SuperOven, in particular, also has pre-sets for using its range of cooking functions, from the classics of roasting, grilling and steaming to pan frying, smoking and cooking sous vide.
Bosch's AI ovens work in a similar way, with its PerfectRoast function allowing you to choose how you want the meat cooked, for example
When will AI ovens take over our kitchens?
While oven pre-set programs are becoming far more common as a way of cooking, the number of AI-enabled appliances is relatively limited. Unox Casa's SuperOven launched just this year, and is by far the most sophisticated AI oven we've come across that's widely available, while Bosch's AI tech isn't available in all territories at present. However, Bosch says that all of its appliances will either be AI-enabled, or have AI involved in their manufacturing process by 2025.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2022.
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