> Anyone can cook

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It seems that everywhere you look everything is about cooking. Television, book-shops, buy-rent-a-dvd-cooking lessons. And people do get influenced by it suddenly everybody’s ‘cuisson’ is in question. Now everyone needs to cook like a chef. But nobody can. Or do they? Wasn’t it the famous chef Auguste Gusteau who said: “Everyone can cook”.  Or could we at-least make it a little easier? This design thinking led to 2 product-ideas. One was developed into a full working prototype the other one remains in designer heaven until a more promising future (which shouldn’t be to far ahead). The first impossible demand we had to meet was to cut like a chef. Ever seen a chef cut up some herbs??? You’d lose your fingers if you do that. So we aimed to making cutting up herbs, vegetables etc more “user-friendly” on top of that we only wanted to incorporate this solution in the cutting board only. It should have to work with any kind of knives. The best way to start is to start somewhere so we headed to the workshop and made a first-mockup. This wooden-thing had a hinge in the right-hand corner that would fit the tip of a regular knife. It allowed to shop vegetables and such but they fell down on the table and (not on the board) and the spacing between the cutting board and the knife was to wide to cut little parts.

So back to the workshop. Not only was the previous test not that of a success the inclusion of the hinge and ‘knife lock’ felt awkward and not necessary. There had to be a simpler way. We started experimenting with cutting grooves in the board. Some straight. Others circular. Triangular. And obtained the same effect as the previous prototype while cutting in the middle by doing nothing more than drill some grooves in the cutting board (and cut it in two ;) Still this prototype did not ‘feel’ well. And we might also get some issues with cleaning and such. So back again in the workshop. Since the wood didn’t feel so well we opted to use that other cutting-board material: Nylon. Yet we still wanted the warm feeling of wood. A new mock-up was made in which the Nylon piece could be slotted within a wooden cutting-board. The set-up wasn’t very different than the previous version. But since the Nylon part could be removed for washing there was an opportunity to add more functionality into this piece via different variations off this part (extra modules) or add more functionality in the same piece. With little changes in the geometry of the ‘knife slot’. It’s possible to: chop, slice or even peel.

With the spices, vegetables and the rest you might want to cook, all cut up in pieces of all sizes. It’s time to cook them like a chef. On time, al dente and delicious. So you might need some help. Hence the intelligent cooking plate. It can weigh your cooking pot and it’s content off course. Set the timer like you might set a clock. Half an hour is half a circle. With touch sensors integrated in the unit it’s possible to read these intuitive gestures and even alter the intensity in the cooking cycle. You could even feed it a recipe and it’ll tells you when to put on the pot so everything cooks in harmony.

Unfortunately touch-technology and such are a little fragile when it comes to heat. So until someone invents a heat-resistent-touch interface and OLED’s this little piggy isn’t going nowhere. Or wasn’t it the famous chef Auguste Gusteau who said: “I’m just a figment of your imagination”.

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