CES 2024: The Coolest Smart Kitchen Tech We Saw

CES 2024: The Coolest Smart Kitchen Tech We Saw

I test a lot of smart tech and am an avid home cook, so I know the difference between a legitimately useful innovation and a tacked-on gimmick. I don’t want a remote for my icemaker: I want the ice maker to know when I want the ice, what kind of ice, and how much I need in my glass.

This is the problem with so much kitchen tech on the market—it doesn’t really add much to the experience other than connecting the device to the internet. In fact, I sometimes find that smart kitchen tech can take away some of what I love most about cooking; the process and the human artistry.

Companies lined up far and wide at CES 2024 to try and prove me wrong, and while there are simply too many devices to name them all, here are the ones that stood out. 

Cook the thing and cook it faster

Seer Perfecta

The Seer Perfecta, which aims to drastically reduce cooking times Credit: Seer

For so long, we were all obsessed with the slow food movement, which begged us to spend more time considering food, our relationship to it, the source, the way we cooked and ate, and trying to bring some more thoughtfulness to the process. Apparently, we’re over that, because multiple devices at CES promised to use AI and lasers (!) to cook our food at rates some might find alarming.

Sharp introduced a high-speed oven with a grill, convection, inverter microwave, and “AI cooking” (it apparently analyze what you’re cooking and then apply the appropriate cooking method), all while promising to reduce cooking time by two-thirds. In a similar vein, the Seer Perfecta wants to cook your steak in a minute. A literal minute. Using infrared burners, it’s essentially a two-sided toaster, but for meat, that sears at over 1,600 degrees for the price of US$3,500. 

More than just a device, Sevvy brought a cooking technology to CES it hopes to license. By cooking homogeneously, it claims to cook food not just faster, but better, at lower temperatures, and with less energy consumption. It uses integral heating, which appears to be akin to a sous vide, without the sous vide. Instead of heating and circulating water, it uses electrical currents which pass through the food itself. Since it cooks food in less time than other methods, Sevvy claims food cooked this way needs less fat, salt, and sugar (without really explaining the why/how) which would then translate to “healthier” food.  It’s definitely interesting, and last year Sevvy won top honors for their smart cooker, so they’ve got some teeth.

There are now so many branded smart ovens on the market—the June, the Brava, the Tovala, to name a few—that I’d need to see something truly innovative to muster any enthusiasm. That said, the Revolution Cooking Macrowave piqued my interest: This device promises to eliminate the need for a microwave, air fryer, and toaster oven by providing all of those cooking methods in one tidy little countertop box. Revolution already makes a highly competent suite of toaster ovens, so I’m inclined to believe this is worth looking at, even if it’s priced at US$1,800.

If you remove guesswork from barbequing, is it still a sport?

The GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker

The GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker Credit: YouTube/GE Appliances

Wireless smart thermometers can take a lot of the guesswork out of grilling, but CES 2024 brought a host of entirely smart barbecues to the forefront. The Current Backyard Electric Grill (US$899) is big and sears at 700 degrees—which makes it a lot hotter than most gas grills—while still giving you two heat zones so you don’t set your shrooms on fire. Interestingly, it also auto cleans, and you can monitor everything via a companion app.

Weber is probably the most respected name in barbeques, and for that reason, I want to give the 2024 Weber Summit grill a go when it comes out later this year. At US$3,800, it’ll need to prove itself, but the infrared broiler is a big draw.

The device I’m most excited for is the GE Profile Smart Indoor Smoker. Smoking is an art I’d like to perfect, and traditional methods don’t offer me the control I crave. Moreover, the GE smoker brings the technology inside, so I can monitor it, and smoke in the middle of winter. This is the second time in a month I’ve become enamored with a device out of the incubation lab at GE, called FirstBuild. Clearly, GE has put the right foot forward in creating an incubation space to help it innovate. Yes, the Smart Smoker can handle multiple racks of ribs and a big roast, but I’m just here to cold smoke some lox. 

Your kitchen appliances are getting smarter

Air frying eludes me, mostly because I cannot see what is happening in my air fryer; it is a trust exercise with a countertop device, and I routinely fail at it. Chef AI, for this reason, interests me, as it claims to remove the guesswork by using AI to figure out what you’re trying to make and handling the cooking on its own. It’ll apparently do that for US$250, which at CES seems downright affordable, if you can track them down. I was unable to find even a website for the company—so, jury’s still out.

The Secret Kitchen-Hood, while decidedly not the sexiest tech, is also a landmark device. 80% smaller than most downdraft hoods, it promises to use a cooling system to make it more efficient than its bulky brethren. CES was also impressed and sent it home with an Innovation Award. 

Almost every major appliance brand has connected kitchen devices now, but few have impressed me with a feature set better than Samsung. Their Bespoke line of home appliances offers more than a simple wifi connection. At CES, Samsung showed a feature that allows you to live streaming video from the inside of your oven. (Anyone wanna come over and watch the turkey cook on the big screen?) While I’m skeptical of the new AI feature that notifies you when you’re running low on items in the fridge, I’m still impressed by the idea.

What’s the end goal here?

The stuff I saw at CES 2024 was cool, but it didn’t convince me that I need to drop thousands of dollars to revolutionize my entire kitchen with smart tech. Despite being a smart tech enthusiast, I’ve been historically slow to warm to cooking technology because, ultimately, I still believe that I can make it better on my own.

For me, the process of making food isn’t an impediment—it’s what I enjoy. A sous vide prime rib may be cooked more precisely, but it does not fill the house with warmth and the smell of caramelizing meat. Maybe I don’t actually want my steak to be cooked in 60 seconds. If smart kitchen tech brings more people into the kitchen, great, but I do worry about it taking away a bit of the magic.

Imag Credit: YouTube/Revolution Cooking

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