Brilliant Products

Forget the Microwave... Meet the Tovala Smart Oven

Ever wish you could make a beautiful, healthy, home-cooked meal...just without actually having to make it? Meet the Tovala. It may look like a regular old microwave, but the Tovala is a 32-pound smart oven that has been described as the "Keurig of food." Just push a button and voilà! You've got black pepper and coriander crusted salmon with brussel sprouts, or braised ginger-marinated pork with rice noodles. Talk about hands-off cooking.

Related: Welcome To The Kitchen Of The Future

Home Cooking Just Got Super Easy

According to its website, "The Tovala balances traditional cooking techniques with advanced technologies to give you a unique and modern cooking experience." Unique indeed—this cloud-connected device aims to be your own robotic personal chef. It scans prepackaged meal barcodes, which inform the machine how exactly to prepare that specific meal. Those pre-made meals come in two plans: 3 single-serve meals for $36 and 3 double-serving meals for $72. But you're not limited to Tovala's prepackaged meals—the smart oven can steam, broil, and bake whatever is in your kitchen. Basically, it's all your go-to cooking appliances wrapped into one. Tovala CEO and founder David Rabie claims the machine, which will cost between $379 (but only $289 if you pre-order), is more efficient and healthier than a microwave.

Don't Call It A Microwave

The Tovala doesn't want to be a novelty oven or microwave but instead to pave its own lane as an essential item in the smart kitchen of the future (or, you know, of the now). And so far, it's succeeding. After launching its 2016 Kickstarter campaign, Tovala raised more than $255,000 from more than 1,000 backers. And while that's great, here's what we really want to know: how does the food actually taste? Well, the taste-testers at Wired claimed their two-course preview meal was "restaurant quality good." Think Beef Wellington, carrots, roasted garlic. "[I]t had the balance of juicy meat and crusty goodness down pat. The beef was cooked to medium, warm in the middle, juicy and flavorful and tasty. The pastry was flaky and sog-free, and the carrots were tender without being mushy. Nailed it," they wrote. As for their next dish? "Our second course of herb-stuffed chicken with a side of asparagus was a revelation: Juicy, delicious bird with great seasoning."

But seriously, is it lunchtime yet?

Preorder your Tovala now. They'll be delivered in mid-2017.

Hear From David Rabie, Founder and CEO of Tovala

David Rabie
Tovala CEO & Founder
What motivated you to come up with the Tovala smart oven?

I've always been a super healthy eater that cooked for myself a lot. And when I was in business school in Chicago, I found that I didn't have the time to make my own food. All of the alternatives were awful. I could do frozen food, but I didn't feel like that was for me and it didn't taste very good. I started ordering delivery, but oftentimes that takes up to an hour, it's expensive, and, again, not that great for you. Sometimes I would make a bunch of meals on a Sunday for the whole week, but that gets kind of tired. With all of these alternatives, there were compromises that were required for each one, and I thought there's got to be a way where I can get the quality of meals I was making for myself fresh in my home without really having to do anything except push a button.

What are some of the benefits of having a Tovala smart oven versus having a traditional oven or even a microwave?

What makes the smart oven really novel is the fact that it's been built from the ground up to work with our meal service. We pre-prep and marinate and season these meals and ship them to you once a week. They arrive fresh, and there's a constant variety—every week it changes. All you have to do to enjoy the meal is scan barcode that comes with the food and push "start." When you scan the barcode, the oven communicates with the cloud to pull the recipe down and basically tell the oven exactly what to do. And that comes after dozens of tests that our test kitchen and our team will run on each meal to figure out the perfect way to cook, call it, miso-glazed salmon with brown rice and broccoli. That might be seven steps that are baked into the recipe. So for example, for the dish it would start at 250-degrees with some steam and some dry heat, and it would move to a 400-degree convection bake, and it might move back to a little bit of steam, then finish with a 500-degree high-heat radiant broil in order to char the broccoli and crisp and caramelize the salmon more directly. So that's intense multi-step cooking all baked into the cooking. All you do is sit on your couch, monitor your oven from your phone, and 15 minutes later, your food is ready.

Where do you see this smart appliance leading to in the future?

I think there are cool features that we're thinking about adding in future versions, but the way the machine is built now is to support pretty wide-scale and be able to be deployed in millions of homes, businesses, and hotels. Our vision there is moreso on the meal-side where things are going to evolve. What I mean by that is initially we have our team of chefs and cooks coming up with great recipes and changing them every week. Ultimately, what we would like to do is have different companies making food for our platform. So if someone has a preference for paleo food or gluten-free line of meals, whatever people's dietary preferences are, we'd like to someday support dozens of different meals that change on a weekly basis and support people's changing tastes and interests on food.

Anything else you think people should know about Tovala?

I think the number one thing we want people to know is they can preorder on our site now, and ovens will be shipped to the public probably late Q2.

Tovala: A Smart Oven Fit For the Jetsons

The appliance of the future could be in your home sooner than you'd think.

Tovala Cooks Healthy Meals At Home

See the smart oven in action. Would you use one of these in your home?

The Smart Oven That Makes Home Cooking Easy

Sure, this video is a little corny, but it provides a super simple explanation of what Tovala does.

Written by Curiosity Staff March 18, 2016

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.