When the folks from FirstBuild went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they didn’t have much time to walk the floor and check out advancements in consumer technology, said Taylor Dawson said, product evangelist and a leader at the microfactory in Louisville.
His team was too busy showing off the Paragon Cooking System, the Opal Nugget Ice machine and the brand-new, prototype-only (and nameless) wine chilling and inventory system.
When IL swung by FirstBuild this week to see the Paragon in action, the wine chiller was MIA. Actually, it was being shipped home from the Orlando Kitchen & Bath Industry Show that immediately followed CES.
Dawson said the app-connected wine fridge allows aficionados to take photos of labels before adding bottles to the racks in the fridge. The racks have sensors noting that the bottle has been added. Wine inventory can be browsed in the app. And wine is selected by pushing a button in the app, which causes an indicator to light up in the fridge noting the exact location of that bottle.
Nifty. But still very much in the development stage. The Paragon Cooking System, however, is pre-selling like hotcakes — perfectly cooked hotcakes— over on Indiegogo, with sales topping 300 percent of the original goal.
Dawson has one at home and uses it nearly daily, he says. Even his 9-year-old daughter can cook a pretty perfect grilled cheese sandwich with it. Dawson said the Paragon is ideal for foods that are delicate to cook — like a browned butter sauce or a roux.
The system consists of the existing induction cooktop originally created for sous vide cooking, plus a silicon mat that has a temperature sensor embedded in it, and a probe.
Induction cooktops heat the pans (which must have steel in them) with magnetic induction, not with a flame or electric heating element. It does so quickly and efficiently. Embedded in the mat and in the probe is a sensor that communicates the temperature to the cooktop. You use the probe in liquids and the mat for everything else.
With the Paragon, the desired temperature of the cooktop is set and met precisely. None of the turning the cooktop knobs a little higher, then a little lower, and keeping that going until hitting the right temperature. “Overcorrection is one of the problems that people have when they cook,” Dawson said.
That’s why Venture Beat called the system “‘cruise’ control for cooking.”
Dawson said he’s made a lot of crepes and those perfect pancakes (cooked at 350 degrees). He said that it’s impossible to burn pancakes in the Paragon — they’d just dry out. Steaks sear best at 375 degrees when cooked with a little butter. Fish like salmon or tilapia are delicious at 325 degrees.
He really wants to try making candy.
The Paragon System is $249 to pre-order on Indiegogo until Feb. 3. It will retail for $349 (likely). There are also packages that include induction-friendly pots and pans. The system will ship starting in July. Eventually the system will have app compatibility.