Sous vide cooking, where food is cooked in airtight bags immersed in a water or steam bath at a precise temperature, has long been one of the trade secrets of high-end restaurants. But now that the technology is democratizing, they’re becoming a favorite tool of home kitchen-hackers, too.
Lisa Fetterman, the CEO and cofounder of Nomiku, says she and her husband Abe enjoyed cooking for each other, and envied TV chefs with sophisticated immersion circulators that let them raise sous vide pots to precise temperatures throughout. Abe, a plasma physicist by training, suggested they create their own, and the homemade sous vide machine evolved into Nomiku’s flagship product: a clip-on immersion circulator that attaches to a pot you already own.
“All our friends were like, ‘can you make me one?’” Fetterman says.
The couple started working with food-savvy hackers at makerspaces, first developing a kit to let DIY chefs assemble the machines. Then, in 2012, raised almost $600,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to create a mass-produced version.
“To date, we’ve shipped over 5,000 of that model,” Fetterman says.
Their company has just launched a second Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $500,000 to date for a second-generation Nomiku, which comes equipped with a Wi-Fi connection. A smartphone app will let users configure and monitor the cooker remotely as well as share and download recipes which can be automatically used to configure the cooker.
“What’s great about Wi-Fi connectivity is we literally connect to people,” says Fetterman. “Your sous vide machine is not talking to your refrigerator. With our app, we can actually be inside your kitchen by proxy to help you sous vide.”
Users can input their own recipes into the app, which will offer cook time and temperature recommendations, she says.
“You can create your own recipes and it’s heavily templated, and then we give you the time and temperatures for everything,” she says. “Any recipe that you want to translate into sous vide we can help you do that.”
And they’ll be able to upload their successful recipes for others to try and download recipes from friends and celebrity chefs. Fetterman says she hopes the device’s simplicity will inspire users to experiment with more complicated, and more delicious, recipes.
“I want them to try out really ambitious things, like short ribs,” she says. “Short ribs are usually like a two- to three-day cook, and I want them to have the confidence to try that.”