Few things are more dreadful than the thought of cooking dinner after a long day. It’s easier to grab a slice of deli meat from the fridge or justify spending an unforgiveable amount of money on delivery. If only someone had invented a machine to make family-sized full-course meals in the time it takes to decide on what you would even order.
Introducing Brava, the smart oven that cooks twice as fast as a convection oven without compromising the taste you know and love. There’s no preheating required, and multiple different foods can cook at different temperatures on the same tray at the same time using little energy. What is this sorcery?
“There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the kitchen since the microwave,” CEO and co-founder John Pleasants told The Daily Meal. “Sous vide is having its day right now, but it’s still kind of a niche thing. Induction stovetops came around, but it doesn’t change the way the food is cooking.”
How Brava is different
A convection oven uses lots of power to heat the air inside its chamber — and consequentially your kitchen. Brava can use convection and conduction (such as when you heat cold food on a hot skillet), but it primarily focuses on direct energy transfer, using six infrared lamps to heat your food instead of the tray or air around it.
Pleasants claims this method cooks meals faster than any other device in the world without obstructing taste — and he’s right. Brava takes just seconds to raise its interior temperature from zero to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and uses less energy than a convection oven uses just to preheat. Plus, the food tastes damn good.
How to use it
Three different zones on a glass baking sheet divide ingredients so each customizable light can cook them accordingly. After choosing from a list of basic ingredients or 38 preset recipes programmed into Brava, it will tell you exactly where to place each food item.
When The Daily Meal demoed Brava, cherry tomatoes were placed in section one, a 4-ounce cut of salmon was placed in section two, and asparagus was placed in section three. The only other added elements were a touch of grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. A smart meat thermometer is placed inside the salmon’s center, the desired doneness is chosen, and the oven door is closed.
At the press of a button, each ingredient starts to cook at different temperatures on the same tray simultaneously. For this particular recipe, it took only about 10 minutes to finish and everything tasted amazing. The asparagus was crunchy, the tomatoes were juicy, and none of that gunky white stuff pushed out of the salmon. Albumin is just coagulated protein, but its appearance can be unflattering.
It almost seems like magic to get restaurant-quality results from what is essentially an effortless process. The whole operation has a “bowl of cereal level of complexity,” as Pleasants likes to say.
Perhaps most importantly, Brava creators claim it’s the only oven in the world that can sear meat perfectly. Say goodbye to slimy skin, because this technology cooks it crispy every time. Co-founder Thomas Cheng told us that if you put a piece of meat in a cold chamber, it can sear the surface in 90 seconds. Once the oven gets warm, it can sear the other side in 60 seconds. You can even caramelize a creme brulee.
Brava offers a meal kit service that doesn’t require a binding subscription, ever. Consumers can just order what they want, when they want, if they want. Otherwise, you can shop for your own ingredients at the grocery store and search for them in the system when it’s time to cook.
A smartphone app allows you to cast recipes to your smart oven from afar. So if you’re at work and you select a meal, it will be waiting for you on your appliance when you get home. You can even prioritize certain selections so you don’t have to look through pages of bookmarked recipes.
Once you actually start cooking, you can see the inside of the oven from a screen located on top of the oven. There is no glass door. You can even leave the room to relax, mingle with family and friends, or finish another task, because you can also see your food cooking in real-time on the app. Your phone will ping you when it’s almost done and you need to return to the kitchen.
There is also a “Chef Mode,” which allows consumers to control the power of each lamp at their own discretion. Each setting can be saved and shared with other users wishing to recreate the same recipe.
Who should buy this
Brava is perfect for busy parents who need to change the laundry or leave the room to change a diaper. It’s for lazy millennials who would rather watch another episode than check the oven every few minutes (or forget it’s on completely). It’s for people young and old who want food fast, but can’t suffer another cheese sandwich or afford the steep price of a takeout meal.
You can preorder Brava on its official website. The starter set is available for $995 and includes core accessories (glass tray, metal tray, TempSensor) and dinner for two up to a $50 value. The “Chef’s Choice” package is $1,295 and includes core accessories, dinner for two up to a $50 value, a $150 credit in the Brava marketplace, a special cookware set (egg tray, cast-iron dish, and cast-iron grill), and three months of the plus membership, which gives customers free shipping on all marketplace orders over $70 and up to 30 percent off non-member prices for food, meals, cookware, and accessories. Exact meal kit prices are still to be determined.
Both packages ship for free and are expected to mail out between October and December 2018. If you can’t afford the full price up front, Brava offers a 24-month payment plan, which comes out to about $41 to $53 per month pre-tax. Eating out one night a week can cost just as much, if not more. Many will argue that it’s hard to have a wholesome diet without breaking the bank, but there are plenty ways to eat healthy on the cheap.
Taylor Rock is the news editor at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @taylorlrock.