Will a three-year wait harsh the Mellow sous vide cooker?

Folks who preordered this water-bath countertop appliance should receive it by the second week of June, according to an email from the company.

Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ashlee Clark Thompson
3 min read

You have to be patient if you preorder a new product from a startup. It's common for there to be a gap between when you first threw some money at a company and when you receive their new, innovative-sounding device. But would you wait for nearly three years? And will it still be ahead of its time after that long?

Early backers of the $600 Mellow sous vide machine have waited that long to receive their product. But the manufacturer will have preorders completed by the second week of June, according to an email Mellow sent to customers.

"Over the last three months, we have perfected a product that we are sure you are going to love and finalized the production of Mellows in China," Mellow CEO Gary Itenson wrote in the email customers received Monday. Itenson replaced co-founder Zé Pinto Ferreira as CEO late last year.

The Mellow offered a new take on sous vide when we first heard about in 2014. To sous vide (which is French for "under vacuum"), you put a cut of meat or another piece of food into a plastic bag. You put the bag into a container of water. A sous vide machine will heat that water to the temperature you need and maintain that temperature while your food cooks inside the plastic bag.

The Mellow was supposed to not only heat a container of water to a controlled temperature, but also keep foods cold by chilling the water bath before you want to cook your meal. This was a big deal because you could keep your food safe for a longer period of time until you're ready to start cooking, which you can enable from your device thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity in the Mellow.

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Since then, other sous vide devices have gotten less expensive and added features that rival the Mellow's. For example, Anova plans to release a $99 Bluetooth version of its immersion circulator this year. The company has also reintroduced its ice water bath feature in which you use ice water to keep your food cold and the Anova will send you an alert when the water is too warm and it's time to cook.

But Itenson said the delay in Mellow's release won't put it at a disadvantage against other competitors.

"Although we are shipping later than we wished, we are the only all-in-one appliance that can refrigerate and cook sous vide," he said. "... Mellow is shipping at a time when sous vide is projected to be one of the hottest food trends for 2017. I think our timing is perfect."

And Mellow has a big name in the smart-home industry on its side. In December, the company announced that it would work with Flextronics International, or Flex, to make the Mellow and develop more products. Flex owns the Wink smart-home platform and products like the Wink Relay touchscreen and the Wink Hub. It's not clear how or if the Mellow will work with Flex's other products, but the partnership puts the company in a good position to work with other smart-home gadgets -- if they can just get the Mellow to your door.