This little countertop cooker might look like a fancy panini press or dressed-up George Foreman grill, but it manages to pull off a truly impressive culinary feat: replicating sous-vide cooking without the water bath.
It's called the Cinder Sensing Cooker, and it uses precise temperature controls and a companion app to cook just about anything to its ideal temperature. The device is able to heat food evenly through its twin electric heating plates, and can hit temperatures within two degrees of optimum.
Due to its precise temperature control, the cooker is not only able to bring food to the perfect temperature, but hold it there for as long as necessary. That means you don't have to worry about forgetting a steak in the oven and coming back to find a lump of charcoal. (Yes, I'm writing from experience.)
The Cinder Sensing Cooker also has a big advantage over sous-vide. While the sous-vide technique cooks meat and veggies perfectly, you need to finish your food in a hot frying pan to get a nice sear. The Sensing Cooker can amp up the heat to sear when necessary, without you having to transfer your meal to a pan. And if you want to cook frozen meats, the Cinder app has cooking profiles for that, too.
Backed by startup incubator Y Combinator, Cinder is the product of collaboration between veteran developers and engineers from Toyota, Xerox PARC, and Lockheed Martin. According to the company's About Us page, former Toyota product developer Eric Norman started the project with the goal of making "modern techniques" like sous-vide more accessible to the average cook.
Sous-vide cooking can be difficult to pull off at home, so the Cinder Sensing Cooker may be a much more accessible alternative. It won't be available until early 2016, but you can preorder it now for $499.