Tag Archives: Sous Vide

FirstBuild’s sous-vide device will help you become a master chef

Sous smart!

Who remembers the Disney Channel hit Smart House? For those who may not recall, the 1999 flick centered around a family who won a computerized house that ends up taking on a life of its own. While some of the features may have been a bit far-fetched, Disney certainly helped paint a clear picture of the kitchen of tomorrow — one in which can learn its owners’ eating habits through atmospheric sensors, as well as whip up instantaneous meals and beverages.


Now 15 years later, a Smart House-like future is finally coming to fruition. And as we’ve previously noted on Bits & Piecesthe Internet of Things is ready to cook up a storm. Helping us inch one step closer to the connected culinary experience is the Paragon Induction Cooktop, which was developed by GE’s FirstBuild subsidiary and is now officially live on Indiegogo. While smart sous-vide cooking accessories, such as the ATtiny88 powered Nomiku aren’t entirely new, the Paragon is hoping to up the game with its set of innovative devices.

For those unfamiliar with the technique, sous-vide refers to a cooking method used by a number of today’s top chefs at countless restaurants throughout the country, particularly steakhouses. Sous-vide requires those preparing a meal to seal the ingredients in plastic, then submerge them in a temperature-controlled environment, such as a heated water bath.


As its name implies, this smart cooker uses a 1,440-watt induction burner to heat water, while a Bluetooth-enabled attachment monitors the temperature. The clings are also magnetized so that they can easily affix to any piece of induction-ready cookware. What’s more, FirstBulid’s Induction Cooktop is a single burner that measures 12” in diameter and accommodates a wide-range of pots, up to 30 quarts.

Maintaining an even temperature in a pot of water isn’t always an easy task, however. That’s why the rechargeable wireless band syncs with the hotplate and transmits the temperature back to the burner via Bluetooth, adjusting the heat accordingly to ensure that the food is cooked accurately. At the moment, the probe works with just a few GE induction cooktops, though we can expect more are planned for the future.


Although it may not be equipped with built-in Wi-Fi like the latest iteration of the Nomiku, the platform does have a companion mobile app that enables users to browse a library of handy recipes. Good news home chefs, you can now easily upload and share your tasty instructions to a growing foodie community. Additionally, the apps lets its users surveil their meal remotely whether that’s walking about the house or on-the-go. Keep in mind, Paragon does have controls on the cooktop as well, meaning that the app will always be an enhancement, not a requirement to operate.

“However, sous-vide is just one of the many applications of Paragon. The precision that Paragon offers allows you to perfectly cook, simmer, poach, and fry your favorite foods in a way you probably haven’t been able to before,” the company writes. “For example, when you deep fry, you want to be able to keep the oil at the perfect temperature to avoid burning or undercooking your food. When you make candy, you have to be able to control temperature precisely to avoid burning the sugar. When you make steak, you want to be able to control the temperature to within a couple degrees to cook it to your exact specifications. Paragon allows you to do all of those things nearly effortlessly.”


This is certainly an exciting (and mouth-watering) territory at the moment, evident by a growing number of smart innovations seen at CES 2015. Currently, GE offers a line of connected ovens that enables users to start pre-heating from their mobile device, with a few others expected in the coming months. Among the connected appliances include a french door-style bottom-freezer refrigerator, a smart dishwasher, a washer and dryer, to name a few. Meanwhile, FirstBuild recently-revealed its ChillHub refrigerator that boasts two integrated USB hubs, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and an open-source app that provides seamless integration, in addition to its Micro-kitchen and connected thermometer — the same thermometer that will be paired with the Paragon Cooktop.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain. Your kitchen is about to get a whole heck of a lot smarter. Hungry for a Paragon Induction Cooktop of your own? Head over to its official Indiegogo page, where the project has already doubled its initial goal of $50,000 in less than 48 hours. The device that will let you sear, deep fry, poach, simmer, warm and braise with precision is priced at $149, and is expected to begin shipping in December 2015. Learn more on its official page here.

Sous Vide cooking with an Arduino Uno

Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for an extended period of time (up to 72 hours). The intention? To cook food evenly, leaving the dish juicier and more flavorful. 

The theory – first described by Sir Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) in 1799 – was re-discovered by American and French engineers in the mid-1960s.

According to Wikipedia, the method was subsequently adopted by Georges Pralus in 1974 for the Restaurant Troisgros (of Pierre and Michel Troisgros) in Roanne, France. The sous-vide method has since been used in numerous high-end gourmet restaurants by chefs, while gradually moving into the realm of home cooking.

Recently, an inexpensive, yet effective Arduino-powered Sous Vide cooker surfaced on Instructables.

 Designed by Etienne Giust, the Sous Vide cooker is built around a standard rice cooker, an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a sketch (software) that adapts itself to the particular characteristics of a specific cooker.

Additional key components include:

  • Integrated 8 digits led display with MAX7219 control module (3 wire interface) – 5$
  • Pushbutton x 2
  • Piezo buzzer – 3$ (optional)
  • Waterproof DS18B20 Digital temperature sensor – 10$
  • 4.7K ohm resistor
  • 5V Relay module for Arduino, capable of driving AC125/250V at 10A – 4$
  • A wood board, plastic box and silicone sealant

Total cost? $40, not including the rice cooker.

“Use the two pushbuttons to set the target temperature (acceptable temperatures are within the 50°C to 90°C range). The actual temperature can be monitored on the LED display,” Giust explained in his Instructables post.

“It is advisable not to open the lid during the initial heating phase, where the characteristics of the rice cooker are monitored. When the buzzer sounds, you can open the lid and put your bagged food in the water. If you connect the Arduino to your PC, data is sent to the serial port. Once stripped, this data can be used to plot the temperature over time.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.