There’s nothing quite like watching a meal come together. That’s why Tasty and its dozens of imitators have survived the Facebook video apocalypse and why Netflix keeps throwing money at cooking and food shows. People just like watching food come to life.
Now, cooking food at home, that’s a different story. There are no perfectly lit overhead counter shots, no montages of stern chefs parboiling broccolini in ornate kitchens. Cooking in real life is typically a thankless, solitary pursuit full of mistakes, anguish, and disappointment, which eventually leads to getting Postmates.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And VÄRM, a Swedish cooking tech company, is looking to change the way we prep our food.
VÄRM: The Machine for People Who Can’t Cook Well
Anyone who has experienced a pang of anguish at the sight of a colander might appreciate VÄRM. With a hilariously straightforward tagline (“The cooking machine for people who can’t cook”), VÄRM is a sleek appliance that looks similar to a microwave oven.
The window of the oven also functions as a touchscreen. The intuitive interface allows the cooking-impaired among us to scroll and select from over 1,000 dishes.
Based on the promo video on the VÄRM website, the machine can cook everything, or at least a wide variety of food. Examples include anything from fish tacos to osso buco to congee. Culinary selections are broad-ranging and, to be fair, a little random.
Moreover, VÄRM really raises some eyebrows in its tech. The machine bundles nine different cooking functions in one, including boiling, steaming, cooling food, heating, and grilling.
Plus, lazy chefs can even have the automated cooking wizard read packaged food instructions. Hungry owners can simply hold the box in front of VÄRM. It scans the directions and automatically adjusts to cook what it reads. The only thing the user does is tell VÄRM how they want their food prepared.
VÄRM Hits the Grocery Store
In addition to being accessible to anyone with a pulse, VÄRM goes one step further and handles grocery shopping. This function, of course, is nothing new. Samsung and other companies have long incorporated touchscreens into fridges where families can restock groceries in a few taps. VÄRM not only orders food but also learns personal tastes and helps owners make healthier choices based on their taste profile.
Moreover, VÄRM gives a break down of the nutritional facts and ingredients in the food that users are purchasing and consuming. The innovative device also looks out for those with allergies by flagging any food that a family member can’t consume.
The Future of Cooking
The race is on to develop a machine that does what the hydration machine in “Back to the Future II” did, but with a little more sophistication.
For example, for the past five years Moley, the world’s first robotic kitchen, has developed a robot system that prepares and cooks over 100 recipes. Using AI and hand motions of chef Tim Anderson, the robot draws from a database of recipes and preps and cooks the meal at the skill level of a master chef.
More realistic all-in-one machines exist, like the Thermomix, which has only recently made its way stateside. The device will set a buyer back nearly $1,500. But Thermomix features over 12 methods of food preparation and cooking in one neat package.
Overall, machines like VÄRM, Thermomix, and Moley are all aiming to provide easy cooking solutions in the future. It’s exciting to see how tech improves something as fundamental and humane as preparing and eating food. Whether through robot hands or via a machine that makes anything someone could want, technology is revolutionizing cooking.
VÄRM will appear as a featured startup at RISE 2019 in Hong Kong. Check out more information on RISE here.