One trend we’ve seen at CES 2017 is smart-home appliances coming into their own. You may not want to preheat your GE oven from the couch via an app, but it is handy that the company’s connected ovens can now integrate with Nest Protect, so the smoke detector can turn your appliance off if it senses smoke. But if an appliance wasn’t originally intended to be smart, some manufacturers have found ways to add Wi-Fi connectivity to formerly unconnected devices. Thermomix, for example, will release its Cook-Key, a small accessory that attaches to existing TM5 models, this year.
Many U.S. residents may not be familiar with the $1,300 Thermomix. The countertop appliance has been around for four decades in Europe, but it was only recently introduced here. It offers 12 functions in one bulky blender-type package, so it weighs, chops, mixes, steams, and cooks food. The TM5 has a chip with more than 180 recipes on it, and the screen takes you through recipes step by step. If you’re making ratatouille, it will tell you exactly when to add the vegetables, show you how much zucchini you’ve added in ounces, and then set itself to the proper time and temperature for cooking.
It’s a very unique device in the U.S., and requires a different mindset in terms of how you cook. In that respect, 180 or so recipes may not seem like a ton. That’s where the Cook-Key comes in. It can download any one of the 25,000 recipes Thermomix and its users have created. That giant database gives you access to dishes from the dozens of countries where the machine is regularly used.
At the moment, users can easily go online and find these recipes and follow along on a phone or tablet, but having the instructions in the Thermomix itself does make it a bit more convenient. Plus, using food-coated fingers on the appliance’s touchscreen is probably preferable to cross-contaminating with your phone.
Pricing and availability for the Cook-Key haven’t yet been released.