I love to cook, I love technology and when you can combine the two together I get pretty excited. I ran across the Cinder Sensing Cooker and was immediately intrigued. The company is clearly a young start-up trying to get off the ground and the product is not available for purchase yet, but I will be watching this one closely. The company is positioning their new product as amongst other things, a replacement for a sous vide machine but with one big difference, it can SEAR your meat. That's a big claim. As a cook, that description is what got me interested.
For those of you that are not familiar with sous vide, it's a cooking method that literally means "under vacuum". Food is vacuum sealed and cooked in a water bath at an accurately regulated temperature which is usually lower than normal cooking temps. For example meat is usually cooked at about 140 degrees F. The intention is to cook the food evenly while also ensuring that the inside is properly cooked, moist and delicious. The problem is as you can imagine. For meat, it comes out of the process looking grey and pretty limp. It's missing that char or crust that you get when you grill or sear the meat. To achieve that crust without cooking the meat further, I've always used a blow torch to add the color and sear that I love. It works great but it's a pain in the ass.
Traditional cooking methods such as stove-tops, ovens, grills, etc. all have fluctuating temperate issues. In most cases this isn't much of a problem but when you need precise temperature control, you're options are pretty much limited. Also, if you're a steak lover and you enjoy a temperature below well done, then a steak prepared sous vide is heaven.
With a steak cooked in the traditional manner the transition from the center to the crust will vary in temperature (or doneness) significantly. It's unavoidable. As you can see in the mages below, the steak cooked the traditional way goes form rare in the middle, to well done by the edges. The gradient of temperature from the center to the edge is what the sous vide method avoids as you can see in the picture on the right.
The Cooker looks like a prettier version of the George Foreman Grill which is part of the reason why I struggle with believing that it can perform as advertised. Using heated plates to evenly cook and then hold the food at the exact right temperature for up to 2 hours seems impossible to me.
They have also included technology that allows you to control the unit from your mobile device. Take a look at the photos and video below. Its impressive, if it actually works. They wont be available until 2016 so I'm going to have to wait to find out. Stay tuned. You can check out more about Cinder here