Photo by Rebecca Firkser

Brava is the smart oven for those with no time to wait

Rebecca Firkser
July 30, 2018

I recently ate a meal of salmon with perfectly crispy skin, juicy roasted cherry tomatoes, and tender asparagus that took less than 15 minutes to cook. Also, it was cooked using lights in an oven that reached 500 degrees Farenheit instantly. It sounds like I’m going batty, but this is what the founders of the recently launched Brava, a self-described “technology company changing the way people cook at home,” imagine a meal to be in the future. The Brava Oven, a cooking vessel about the size of a early 2000s printer, is an energy efficient smart oven that has the power to cook several elements of a meal at different temperatures for various times, all at once, for less time than traditional ovens take to preheat.

Brava is currently focused on their inaugural product, the Brava Oven. As opposed to conventional ovens, which heat the air of a contained space, the Brava Oven runs on infrared technology (visible and non-visible light) that transfers energy directly to food. The result is an almost unbelievably quick turnaround time from raw to plate.

The founders of Brava—who like the Willy Wonkas, and Steve Jobses before them, speak about their seemingly unimaginable products as though they will someday be the norm—have high hopes for the company. Not only do they want to change the way we cook in terms of machinery, they want to completely reimagine the public’s general attitude towards food with a more holistic approach to shopping, cooking, and eating.

“From the early days of Brava, we knew that there was power in creating an ecosystem where people could really become part of a Brava community,” Brava CEO John Pleasants told me excitedly in person and reiterated in an email.

The oven is connected to an app, which the founders hope will help their users in every aspect of the cooking process. Users can shop the Brava Marketplace for individual groceries, or order full deliveries of food for the intended preparation of specific recipes. And speaking of recipes, those come preloaded on the app—for multi-component dishes (like spatchcocked chicken with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, roasted vegetables and couscous with paprika and salsa verde, or my salmon with tomatoes and asparagus) of course. The oven reads the app’s recipe code (as well as basic ingredient cooking code, and user-controlled codes for searing, reheating, toasting and baking) to program cooking functions, and it learns with each dish it cooks. Finally, the app will allow users the opportunity to record their own recipes developed by playing with the oven’s manual function, and share them with other Brava users.

As someone who genuinely enjoys cooking, I at first saw no need to spend money on a tool that handles the unpredictability of the culinary process. Yet as I thought about how many pieces of protein I’ve overcooked, how annoyed I have been at the thought of roasting a tray of vegetables at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday just to start dinner, I began to see the (infrared) light. Brava can be given full control over the cooking process, which might be right for busy folks who don’t like cooking. It can also be used as a supplementary kitchen gadget, like a grill or a sous-vide machine, for food fans to explore a completely new style of cooking, the possibilities of which are seemingly unlimited.

Brava is currently accepting preorders for the Brava Oven, which comes with credit to the Brava Marketplace as well as cooking accessories, for $1,295, with shipping dates currently expected in November 2018.

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