Sous vide gadget-maker Nomiku launched a Kickstarter campaign today to fund an app-controlled version of its popular external sous vide cooker. For years, Nomiku and Anova have been helping avid consumers catch up to the pros with easy-to-use immersion circulators -- devices that you can attach to an ordinary pot, turning it into a precisely-heated water bath for cooking in the sous vide style. Earlier this year, Anova kickstarted a Bluetooth-enabled circulator. Now Nomiku is following suit.
In fact, Nomiku is going ever further with the connected aspect. Anova's Bluetooth signal means you'll have to stay in an adjacent room to be able to monitor your food. The new Nomiku will use your Wi-Fi router to reach the cloud, so you can use the compatible Tender app on your iOS or Android device to control this Nomiku from anywhere. The new Nomiku is also extremely compact. It clips to the front of your existing pot, and it can work with as little as 1.5 inches of water depth, while heating with an impressive 1200W of power.
Currently, you can no longer purchase the Nomiku at the early bird Kickstarter price of $129, as only 500 were offered at that price. Now that they're gone, 1,000 units can be had at a second early-bird tier of $139. A contribution of $149 will get you a Nomiku unit at any point during the next month of their fundraising campaign, and the final product will retail for $249 when it goes on sale in 2015. If you get one from Kickstarter, the expected ship date is March 2015, and it can be sent anywhere in the US or Canada. The new Nomiku with Wi-Fi capability isn't offered overseas for the time being, although the original can be shipped internationally.
Though still a niche market for avid home cooks, simple devices like the first-generation Nomiku Sous Vide Immersion Circulator and the Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator have helped make the formerly complex sous vide process much simpler and more accessible to enthusiastic consumers. Both are long, powered cylinders that clip to pots you already have. Fill the pot with water and toss in your sealed bag of food, and they'll heat the water, control the temperature with a thermometer, and use a propeller to keep the bath circulating. When done correctly, the flavor results can surpass what you would get from more traditional cooking methods.
The new sous vide cooker from Nomiku will be more compact, more powerful, and easier to use than its predecessor. It'll also cost less (the Nomiku Sous Vide Immersion Circulator retailed for $300), and from Nomiku's Tender app you'll be able to browse recipes and add your own. You can use one of these recipes to automatically set the appropriate temp or manually set it yourself, while a physical dial on the face of the device will also offer direct temperature control.
Sous vide cooking provides consistent results, but the nature of the process means it takes a while to get the job done. With a Wi-Fi device, you can wander off while your food cooks, knowing that you can check-in at any time with your phone. It's a great boon to the technique for those who would like to try it for the taste but lead busy lives.
Risk vs. reward
The Kickstarter campaign raised more than $30,000 in its first couple of hours, aided by the fact that those who contribute can get the device with better specs for even less than the Anova. Those early birds are taking a risk certainly, as not all Wi-Fi devices are created equal. If this new Nomiku can't maintain a signal properly or heat as efficiently as it promises, the convenience it offers will quickly deflate.
Even if it can effectively translate the extra power into more heat faster, the new Nomiku may not necessarily make better food, but may allow for more diverse recipes and a wider temperature range. If it can add these conveniences, an extra $70 seems well worth it; if not, it'll come down to how much you're willing to pay for the ease offered by Wi-Fi. Either way, if this new Nomiku can match its substantial promise, it'll create an interesting prizefight indeed.