You’re coming home from work late. You haven’t been to the super market in ages. There’s a few microwave meals in your freezer that are just not going to satisfy you. You’re looking through the recycle bin for pizza delivery coupons you swore you’d never turn to again. What’s a busy person who wants to eat real healthy food to do?
Luckily for you, there’s a new affordable smart oven that fixes really good meals automatically in less time than it takes for you to slip into something more comfortable. You chef tonight is Tovala.
Disclosure: Tovala invited me to try a meal made from their new smart oven at their LaunchParty at the swanky WeWork office space in SF.
The Tovala oven is funky new cooking device that is really hard to define – so I’m going to call it a ‘smart oven’. The oven has been a rising star on Kickstarter. It’s about the size of a microwave, but has four cooking functions: bake, broil, convection, and steam.
Pre-prepped meals are loaded into the oven and cooking procedures are automatically followed by swiping the barcodes on the top of each package. Meals can be pre-loaded and set to cook via timer, or started manually with their app. Homemade recipes can be made by dialing in settings on their app as well.
At the party, Tovala provided a three course meal consisting of stuffed chicken breast, macaroni and cheese, and asparagus.
The chicken breast was amazing – the chicken itself was juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the stuffing inside added a really rich flavor. I couldn’t believe how well they got the macaroni texture with the noodles being perfectly soft with a crispy top layer.
The asparagus had a good flavor, but the cooking time makes them a bit soft for my liking. One of the Tovala people I spoke to said that she’ll sometimes prepare the asparagus with an item that has a shorter cook time to keep them a bit more al dente.
Overall I think that the meal itself was excellent and definitely a lot better than I expected. Tovala is putting a lot of work into creating premade meals for users to purchase. I can imagine that stocking up on a week’s worth of these meals is something that busy people like me could learn to rely on for regular healthy and flavorful dinners.
What made me really excited though is how Tovala is looking to curate a community for DIY recipes. Users can make their own meals and upload recipes for others to try. Given that their oven has four cooking methods for home chefs to experiment with, I think it would be a lot of fun to see what I could come up with.
The best part is that if the community really likes a DIY recipe, then Tovala will make it an official meal for sale and give the original creator a cut of the revenue. There’s some motivation for you to be creative!
Toval’s oven is $349 on their Kickstarter page.