Here is how it works: The 26-pound smart, counter-top conventional oven can thoroughly cook balanced meals in under 30 minutes by broiling, steaming, baking, and heating Tovala brand meals, which are cooked by five-star chefs and delivered to your door. This futuristic appliance claims to be a broiler, steamer, microwave, toaster, and oven in one device. The pre-made meals come in a tray that has a scannable barcode. The oven will scan the code and know how to cook the meal to perfection.
“It communicates to the cloud, authenticates the recipe, and it tells the appliance how to cook the meal,” David Rabie, co-founder of Tovala, told Digital Trends. “Every meal has s own unique recipe profile, with temperatures, timings, and different cooking techniques. As the user, scan the barcode, put the food in, hit the button and you’re done.”
Rabie founded the company along with Bryan Wilcox after having to constantly resort to fast food as a dinner option while he was a student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Before earning his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Wilcox worked on appliances at GE and Whirlpool.
You can control the Tovala’s temperature within a single degree through the smartphone app, and it uses a combination of wet and dry heat to improve food quality. “It’s very difficult to make chicken that is both juicy and crispy,” Rabie told us, as an example. “This enables that because you can cook with less heat, you can steam the chicken for a short amount of time and cook it through and keep it juicy. Then you can broil it in a really high heat in order to crisp the outside really nicely, making some of the most delicious roasted chicken you’ve ever had.”
The all-in-one smart oven is built with high-end technology found in commercial kitchens, where appliances range from $10,000 to $50,000 each — making this device available for users at the hundredth of the cost and at a size that fits any kitchen countertop. With Tovala, you will also be able to share personalized recipes through the app, and if it gains popularity, the recipe can be produced and distributed throughout the community, allowing you to earn a percentage of the revenue generated.
The company completed a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, raising more than $250,000 from more than 1,000 backers. Tovala also recently gained a new investor, Tyson Ventures, the corporate venture subsidiary of Tyson Foods, which commands a significant chunk of the world’s meat distribution. According to Tyson Foods chief sustainability officer Justin Whitmore, the investment allows Tyson to meet consumer demand for new ways to plan and consume meals.
Now, the Tovala is finally available for order. For $399, you can have a Tovala of your own. As for the subscription meal plans, you can order three single-serving meals for $36, or three double-serving meals for $72. Alternatively, you can create your own meals with Tovala’s recipe library, or just let your imagination run free and try your hand at designing your own recipes for this futuristic machine.
Updated on February 9: The Tovala smart oven is now available for $399. Tovala also gained a new investor in Tyson Ventures.