A new product from FirstBuild, GE Appliances' microfactory, wants to give you more power over the food in your pan. The Paragon Mat will let you decide exactly how hot you want your pot or pan and automatically adjust the burner to keep a consistent temperature, FirstBuild announced at CES this week.
Unfortunately, you can't just put the circular, red cooktop cover on just any induction burner. You can only use the mat with the Paragon Induction Cooking System, a series of products that currently includes a countertop induction burner, a Bluetooth-enabled temperature probe and the FirstBuild app. The system and the mat are available for preorder today as part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for $199. The retail price will increase to $349. You can order the Paragon Mat separately for $99 if you already have the Paragon system.
Here's how you'll use the Paragon Mat:
- Place the mat on top of the Paragon induction cooktop ($199 at FirstBuild).
- Put your induction-friendly pan on top of the mat.
- Use the FirstBuild app to set the temperature you want your pan to reach.
- The mat monitors the temperature of your pan and will tell the cooktop to heat up or cool down to the pan's temperature steady.
- The induction cooktop will automatically adjust its own temperature.
When the Paragon system launched in 2015, its main purpose was to help you sous vide. (Sous vide, French for "under vacuum," is a method that involves putting food in a vacuum-sealed bag and letting it cook in a temperature-controlled water bath.) The Paragon Mat expands the system's precise cooking beyond sous vide, a move that could make Paragon products more appealing to those unfamiliar with sous vide.
There's a lot of guesswork when you adjust the temperature on a traditional cooktop with knobs, said Taylor Dawson of FirstBuild.
"In many ways, it's a primitive way of cooking," he said at a CES preview event Wednesday.
With the Paragon Mat, you set an exact temperature for your burner. Since a lot of folks don't know the right temperature for cooking in a pan, FirstBuild will expand their app to include temperature guides for common foods, Dawson said.