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Another player enters the sous vide field: Paragon Induction Cooktop

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GE is entering the SV field in an innovative way. They are doing a crowdfunding approach through one of their Innovation technology centers. The device itself is also innovative in that it uses a Inductive cooktop for the heating element with a wireless temperature sensor. It's also unique in that it does not include any type of water circulation.

 

Here's a link to the crowdfunding site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/paragon-induction-cooktop/

 

What does everybody think about this entry into the field? If nothing else it certainly shows that SV has gotten the attention of major appliance makers. A few weeks ago GE also announced that one of their new lines of stoves will have the same type of temperature control as this device uses so you can do SV on your stovetop.

 


Edited by Smithy Adjusted title for clarity (log)

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Looks spiffy.  Actually is more versatile than just a SV device.  Questions do come to mind about how well the temp probe works under all of the different conditions listed.  Seems like a great method to control an induction hob, provided the probe is accurate enough and reports back often enough (and is not adversely affected by all the EM fields the induction hob is throwing in the general direction of the probe...).  


Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

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If it lives up to claims I can see it being hugely popular. Looks much more like a kitchen appliance than a gizmo from the mad scientist's lab. I believe induction is the wave of the future. But dammit I can't justify yet another sous vide set up and I'm very happy with the ones I have.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Looks like a jack of all trades/master of none. The street price seems high for a SV device that doesn't circulate. It also doesn't have the precision of most circulators since you can only set the temperature in whole degrees. That's not an issue for most things, but for eggs it can make all the difference. So can circulation. The water at the bottom of the pan is invariably going to be hotter than the water at the top where the probe hangs out. The circulator I use is stable to roughly a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, so there aren't any hot spots.

 

Bluetooth connectivity and phone apps strike me as gimmicky and practically worthless if you already know the basic time/temp suggestions for SV. But leaving the app aside, Bluetooth's range is only like 50 feet or so... why not just walk to the kitchen? Wifi would be better since you could leave your house, but even that would have limited applications. What do you really need to check on anyway? If the water is up to temp, it's up to temp; and it's not like you ever really need to change the cooking temperature during the cook cycle. If it had a separate thermocouple that could tell you the core temp of your product along with the bath temperature (and these were integrated into something like the Polyscience SV app) then I could imagine some use for a remote monitoring/controlling app. But mostly not. I also worry about the battery life on the wireless thermometer; is it up for 72 hour short ribs or 100 hour oxtail? EDIT: They say it's good for up to 3 months under "heavy use" of 2 hours a day. So it'll probably be fine for extended cooking. I do wish the probe could withstand temperatures up to 450F or so, as this would be ideal for deep frying. It tops out at 375F.

 

It seems like this product would have been a great idea two years ago before the current crop of circulators made it to market. But I don't really see the appeal... at least as a sous vide rig. Using two or three of these to hold and serve soup, stews, sauces and whatnot would be pretty nice. You could also use it as a suped up crock pot, or to make stock while leaving it mostly unattended, or to do low temperature steaming. The ChefSteps crew came up with some interesting applications for the Sous Vide Supreme that would probably translate to this device pretty well.


Edited by btbyrd (log)
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I agree with btbyrd

I've said before that since I got the Anova I haven't used my sous vide supreme even once.

And this strikes me as a modernized SVS concept, while sous vide remains best done with an immersion circulator and precise control.

I suspect that they are somewhat betting that more people want a simplified slow cooker and not to really learn about sous vide cooking.

That MAY be right. But it also may be selling the potential market short.

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It will be interesting to watch how the various products fare in the market.   SVS is virtually obsolete because in large part the counter space it requires.  The GE specialized induction hob will face the same obstacle.  I like the stand alone sticks and expect them to prevail - but then I had a Betamax back in the day.

 

The bluetooth may be an uneccesary gimmick to most.  I like it as I set up my Cambro's on the porch and can monitor that everything is working ok from the kitchen.  I do the same thing with the smoker, grill and outdoor fryer..  Right now I do this with remote thermometers (bluetooth), waiting for the Android app for my Annova 2. 

 

On the GE "system"  I would be most concerned with the reliability of the thermo probe assembly.  It appears to be an integrated thermo probe and communication device between the thermo and the base.   If the probe fails, the whole assembly will require replacement.   And probes fail.  Would rather see a removable probe with a standarized "K type?" connector between the probe and the base instead of a proprietary assembly.  But that would reduce the cool factor.

 

Interesting.  Thanks for posting.


Edited by daveb (log)
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My 2 cents, the lack of circulation is going to give you gradients in temperature in the pot. Eggs for example, that sink to the bottom won't reflect the correct temp as the probe which is set in the middle. Large cuts that will fill the pot, will cook at higher temps at the bottom, and less at the top. Which can be exaggerated I would assume on long cooks when air starts filling up the bag at the top and reducing further the heat transfer.

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I realize SV is in the title and my question is not about SV but rather, the appliance in general so I hope it is okay to ask this question. (If not, mods please remove.). Given the temperature range, I wonder if one could successfully temper chocolate with it? I can also see it being useful for deep frying.

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Agree with much of above. Esp the observation that the SVS is a big box of water that hogs countertop. Which is why I keep it set up in the basement. Stick units are much more adaptable

 

Don't understand why GE needs crowd sourcing to fund a dinky project like this unless corporate gave it no love and said to go this route if the developers want to go forward.

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For those who wonder about the lack of circulation, I thought SVS had proved that non-circulating baths are about enough for almost any sous-vide home cooking. I do in fact teach sous-vide classes for home cooking, I own a SVS Demi as well as a couple of circulators ("old school" SWID and "new school" Anova PC) and an external control unit (SV Magic - eiPot) and still think SVS is the most useful unit for most home cooks.

 

Whereas the GE unit may have the issues that some of you are mentioning, I see it as a big step forward. When something like this is integrated into your home main induction stovetop (and here in Europe most houses have induction hobs) you will be able to control temperature of many cooking processes -not only for cooking sous-vide in pouches- without occupying any extra counter space. Yes, the technology has to improve and the prices must go down, but this is an excellent idea that shows potential ways or incorporating sous-vide into the kitchen for the masses. Really like it.

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"""  I suspect that they are somewhat betting that more people want a simplified slow cooker and not to really learn about sous vide cooking. ""

 

 

i agree with this.

 

interesting indeed to follow

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Interesting.

 

Took me a while to wade through the marketing bumpf on that site to get to what I wanted to know: And some answers are still missing.

 

Does it work without a smartphone? Apparently the answer is yes. I am an early adopter for many things but phones are not one of those (I deliberately have a flip-phone with text/data turned off - because I cross the border often). I view the interaction with a smartphone as being not very important (I guess unless one is addicted to one's phone) and, as btbyrd pointed out, its range is likely to be very limited anyway.

 

I am still not quite sure whether one can 'program' how/when you want to have temps adjust, etc. You can apparently adjust time and temp either on the induction unit or via smartphone but can you program stages (when to adjust a temperature, etc. later in the cooking) without having to just re-set the temp yourself in the moment?

 

Does this 'system' hold a temperature better than a normal induction unit might do? I find my induction units are much better at that already than my regular electric stove.

 

What is the bottom/lowest temperature it can hold consistently? This goes to Elsie's question about tempering. They talk about the highest temperature using the induction unit is 500 degrees F but the sensor really only works to 375 degrees. I can put a different thermometer in a pot and get a useful measurement higher than 375 I think.

 

Seems useful maybe for deep-frying (in that supposedly it auto-adjusts when cool foods are added) but if you are adding foods to a deep-fryer, aren't you right there anyway to adjust your own rate of adding them? And could the 'system' adjust the temperature faster than you could manually (if you wanted to go that direction instead of just adding a bit more slowly)?

 

I don't really see this as being a critical item for SV if one already has induction burners (I have 2 and use them quite frequently) and a circulator.

 

In short, I guess I must be an old fogey and do not quite 'get' this device - especially at the prices they are talking about. My last induction unit cost $59 and I know they can be bought even cheaper than that. I don't see that one can really do much 'remotely' with this system - even if one loves their smartphones and is adept at using them. I would love to be enthralled but right now ... too many questions ... too much marketing and not enough useful information for me to catch fire on this one.

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For those who wonder about the lack of circulation, I thought SVS had proved that non-circulating baths are about enough for almost any sous-vide home cooking. I do in fact teach sous-vide classes for home cooking, I own a SVS Demi as well as a couple of circulators ("old school" SWID and "new school" Anova PC) and an external control unit (SV Magic - eiPot) and still think SVS is the most useful unit for most home cooks.

 

 

well, I'm not sure saying it in their marketing materials "proves" it <g>

 

but I fail to see how, in any way,the SVS is "more useful" for anyone, given the choice... and now at the prices available we ARE all given the choice.

 

what, for example, is something the SVS does 'better' than an immersion circulator?

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what, for example, is something the SVS does 'better' than an immersion circulator?

 

I'm mostly with you, but here are some applications for which the SVS seems better suited than a circulator. You could still pull off most of them with a circulator and a bain marie, but the SVS would be easier/cleaner.

 

Low temperature steaming:

 

Cheese making:

 

Meat stock:

 

It's also better for any traditional crock pot style application.

 

I'd still prefer a circulator most of the time. And the Anova is $150 cheaper than the SVS; you can almost get 2 for the same price.

 

 

(Edit: not sure why that last link isn't embedding properly, but it links to the correct video).


Edited by btbyrd (log)

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It's a short list.  The SVS is quiet. 

 

Of course that's because it relies on imaginary circulation.  But you asked. :cool:

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They whiffed big time on the temp sensor.  First, as others have mentioned, 375º is much too low.  Should be at least 450º.  Second, AFAICT, the sensor can't be used with a lid.  This makes the cooker nearly useless for long cooks, whether sous vide or standard braises.  Third, not all induction-capable pots have magnetic sides.  In fact, I'd say most don't.  Have at least half a dozen in my kitchen, including my deep fryer and my large sous vide pot.

 

Not a product I'll be recommending to friends.  And I think circulation is way overrated.

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well, I'm not sure saying it in their marketing materials "proves" it <g>

 

but I fail to see how, in any way,the SVS is "more useful" for anyone, given the choice... and now at the prices available we ARE all given the choice.

 

what, for example, is something the SVS does 'better' than an immersion circulator?

 

I don't know what they say in their marketing material. The fact that it is enough for almost all home cooking I have verified myself during the last 4 years, and, as said, I have compared with several brands of inmersion circulators and controllers. Of course, any other brand of water bath would have the same benefits.

 

First, SVS is more useful for many people because it is a self-contained unit with everything included. Whereas you can use the new inmersion circulators in any pot, at some point, especially for long cooking times, you will need a recipient that is properly insulated and with a perforated cover. Getting this is something that people in this forum may be very willing to do, but not every average user. Having a double-wall covered recipient from scratch included in the set is valuable (and its extra price should be factored into the circulator price).

 

Second, SVS is totally silent. Even low-noise circulators are annoying when they are working 72 hours in your kitchen, and you suddenly feel the relief when they are switched off.

 

Third, it is totally maintenance-free. Heater, thermometers and circulation bomb are not exposed in the water, so no cleaning required. No hasssle if an egg breaks or similar.

 

Fourth, it can be used to cook liquids like stocks directly in the recipient, without bags and in big quantities.

 

Fifth, it is the only machine I have that will not stop if electricity goes off for a few seconds, a big plus when cooking hard meat cuts for long times. All my inmersion circulators will stop "for safety reasons", whereas SVS remembers its time & temperature settings and continue cooking. In my area rarely we will have a prolonged shutdown, but we may have short electricity interruptions and I may be sleeping or out of home. With the other equipments I am forced to throw the food away, not with the SVS. With SVS I decide if the interruption was long enough so I should throw it or not. This feature, as opposed to the other benefits, is specific to SVS (whereas the other advantages are general of water baths).

 

Of course, SVS is more expensive and has other drawbacks with respect to circulators, but when it comes to long cooking processes (my favorite use of sous-vide) I always resort to my SVS, because it excels there and circulation is pretty much irrelevant in this case, whereas for short cooking times I normally use my circulators.

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I don't know what they say in their marketing material. The fact that it is enough for almost all home cooking I have verified myself during the last 4 years, and, as said, I have compared with several brands of inmersion circulators and controllers.

 

 

"good enough", perhaps.

but not AS good, and almost twice the price.

 

I just cant imagine telling a friend to spend twice as much for something that's almost as good, but "good enough" for you.

 

yes, it's silent, but the Anova is hardly "noisy'.

I don't see why anyone needs a kitchen to be silent.

 

as far as reliability, mine (SVS) came out of the box reading its temp inaccurately. can it be trimmed and calibrated by the user? 

No.

not even by them (they say). it has to be REPLACED... and it's still not accurate. It remains about a degree to 2 off throughout it's middle (likely to be used) range.

 

it's also bigger and heavier and harder to clean than an empty Cambro and separate circulator.

 

it comes with a lid. whoopee.

 

 

SVS was a great product when the least expensive circulator option was over $1000.

now?

it just isn't.

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I just signed up for one of these. I'll let you know in a year's time what I think of it.

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In for one.  I doubt It'll replace my circulators for sous vide but this looks like it will be perfect for maintaining correct mash temperature when homebrewing.

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There are some good things about this, but really, it's just a smart feature integrated into an induction hob. To quote Steve Jobs, "it's a feature, not a product." 

 

With this in mind, I'm inclined to first comapare it to the existing products, which are induction hobbs:

The GE thing is 1) bigger, uglier, clumsier, and  2) underpowered.

 

I'd love an induction hob with the same power and sleek form factor as other 1800W versions, but with a built-in and well-deisgned PID controller. It wouldn't substitute for a circulator most of the time, but would be great for many things. 

 

It could be a spare cooktop. It could reheat and hold anything, including cook/chill S.V. meals. It would be a champion chocolate melter. And it could be a second S.V. water bath for when the circulator is busy doing something that needs more precision. 

 

The GE thing would handle this stuff reasonably well, but the industrial design is too hideous, and 1400 watts is a bit on the anemic side for searing things or heating big stock pots.

 

I suspect Anova could develop a better version on a Sunday afternoon.


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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Given that these were to be shipped in December,  I wrote to ask them where it was.  That, by the way, was the fourth time I wrote.  They did not bother to respond the first three times.  They wrote that "due to regulatory restrictions recently put into place" they cannot ship to Canada.  I have no idea what these rstrictions are. In any event, I have the option of either a refund, or having it shipped to an American address.  I am not impressed with how they handled the "notification" of this (am  I the only Canadian who ordered one of these?) and am seriously thinking of asking for a refund. 

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go for the refund and hope you get it.

 

there are no "recent" regulatory changes.  in the US, few retailers will touch anything that has not been approved / has the UL seal (Underwriters Lab) - Canada may have it's own "UL" kind of safety requirements, but they are not new.

 

nor is the Canadian theory of "North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)" - what that means to Canadian authorities is: Canadians can ship anything to the USA duty free, but anything shipped into Canada from the US gets hit with huge import tariffs.  it is not a two way street.  we stopped shipping to Canada because Fedex didn't collect the duties, and when the shipee didn't pay up, Fedex eventually billed us for duties, broker fees, fees fees, more fees fees, other fees fees, fees for charging a fee.... and there isd _NO_ Canadian manufacture/supplier of our type products - there is _NO_ domestic _ANYTHING_ to "protect." 

 

perhaps if you wrote your representative and asked what's up with NAFTA things would improve.


Edited by AlaMoi (log)

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Leaving aside if the thing is any good ... is it really ok for a $300 billion company to launch a product with crowd funding??

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Notes from the underbelly

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On 1/4/2016 at 2:27 PM, AlaMoi said:

go for the refund and hope you get it.

 

there are no "recent" regulatory changes.  in the US, few retailers will touch anything that has not been approved / has the UL seal (Underwriters Lab) - Canada may have it's own "UL" kind of safety requirements, but they are not new.

 

nor is the Canadian theory of "North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)" - what that means to Canadian authorities is: Canadians can ship anything to the USA duty free, but anything shipped into Canada from the US gets hit with huge import tariffs.  it is not a two way street.  we stopped shipping to Canada because Fedex didn't collect the duties, and when the shipee didn't pay up, Fedex eventually billed us for duties, broker fees, fees fees, more fees fees, other fees fees, fees for charging a fee.... and there isd _NO_ Canadian manufacture/supplier of our type products - there is _NO_ domestic _ANYTHING_ to "protect." 

 

perhaps if you wrote your representative and asked what's up with NAFTA things would improve.

There were changes made to Canada's Safety Code 6 in June 2015 titled " Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 KHZ to 300 GHZ", I'm pretty sure those are the regulatory changes they're talking about in regards to being unable to ship to Canada.

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      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
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