A Chicago-based start-up has secured funding for its “multi-function countertop oven”, which can bake, broil, convection heat or steam ready-prepared meals in minutes, after launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Tovala was originally seeking $100,000 in financing but, with more than three weeks remaining, has secured more than twice that amount.
The handy gadget, which looks and functions in a similar way to microwave ovens, will be accompanied by a chef-curated meal plan to offer consumers an array of convenient dishes that perform well on taste and nutrition.
Users can go to the Tovala app to choose their meals for their week, with options including black pepper and coriander-crusted salmon plus ginger-marinated pork or miso-glazed sea bass. “We plan on pricing our meals from $10 to $15 depending on ingredients,” Tovala said, with shipping available across the continental US.
All they have to do is scan the barcode on the meal’s packaging and press start, with the machine’s WiFi-enabled automation taking care of the rest. The Tovala uses a bespoke combination of cooking methods, timing and temperatures for each dish, meaning each meal comes out the way it was intended with no preparation or cleanup required.
But the “smart oven” can also be used to cook consumers’ own food in a number of different ways, providing the ultimate convenience in cooking and even making food preparation easier in small spaces. What’s more, it can be used to reheat leftover food, typically taking a longer time than microwave ovens but producing better results.
The Tovala’s combination of wet and dry heat allows users to cook food in a way that had only previously been available in commercial kitchens, it said.
The innovators behind the technology are currently building a Tovala-specific recipe-sharing platform that will allow consumers and professional chefs to create and share recipes and cooking combinations using the Tovala smart oven. Where recipes show sustained popularity, the company will offer the meal as part of its weekly meal plans and pay royalties to the user who submitted the recipe in the first instance.
The estimated retail price will be $329, but Tovala is currently offering a limited-number of ovens at $199 as part of its Kickstarter campaign.
“We at Tovala are passionate and excited about the idea of empowering home chefs and artisan food makers across the country,” Tovala said as part of its original crowdfunding pitch.
“Tovala lets you do your own experimenting – go beyond traditional cooking methods by employing both wet and dry heat for maximum effectiveness. That means chicken that’s juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside; vegetables that are firm yet fully cooked (and even lightly charred); and preparation times that are incredibly short.”
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