If you hate cooking, but also don’t want to keep throwing money at your local eateries, this robotic chef might be the answer to your problem. Launched to help a friend who had found himself wheelchair-bound and struggling to keep up with daily living tasks, a startup is trying to make cooking healthy, delicious meals as easy as popping in a tray of ingredients and your favorite cookware.

From Tragedy to Inspiration

Michael Lemberg, a graduate of NYU’s business school, jumped to his friend’s aid when the young man suffered an accident that left him confined to a wheelchair. So did several others, and they managed for several years to keep the gent living well. Soon, though, they recognized they needed to help him maintain a sense of independence, especially when it came to meals.

While they could have completely remodeled his kitchen to make it more accessible to him from the wheelchair, the band of brothers and sisters also saw a missed opportunity for others. Realizing that not everyone enjoys the time-consuming process of preparing and cooking a good meal, they asked how the task could be done using a robotic chef.

From those thoughts, they dreamt up iWondercook, a robotic chef in a box that appeared at CES 2021.

The Robotic Chef: A Better Way to Cook

The way iWondercook works is simple. You purchase the meal kit, which the company packages so that it’s able to stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to ten days. The meal kits are made using only the freshest ingredients, never precooked, frozen, or loaded with artifical preservatives.

The iWondercook preparing Irish stew

With iWondercook, you just pop in a meal cartridge along with the required spices, water, and cooking oil, and let your robotic chef do the rest

When you place the meal kit into iWondercook, the device scans it and makes sure it hasn’t expired. All you have to do is add water, cooking oil, and spices as directed. Your robotic chef does the rest, using steaming, induction, and convection heating. No microwave meals here, folks.

In no longer than 15 minutes, your meal is ready to eat.The iWondercook also includes a timer function, so you can load it and it will automatically start cooking just in time for dinner to be ready when you get home.

When it comes time to clean up, just place the cooking pot and your dishes into the dishwasher.

Smart Cooking Even Without a Kitchen

No kitchen? No problem. The iWondercook robotic chef only needs a power outlet and Wi-Fi, and it measures just 14 inches wide by 15 inches deep. The gadget is only 17 inches high, so it should easily fit on a break-room countertop under cabinets.

From your iPhone, you can order your meal kits for up to six pounds of food, enough to feed as many as seven people. A professional model is also on the way, and can cook up to 10 pounds of food at once.

The finished meals, according to Lemberg, don’t taste any different from home-cooked meals or dishes served in premium restaurants.

A True Vision of the Future of Cooking

The bad news is that iWondercook isn’t in production just yet. However, Lemberg was busy during the all-digital CES 2021 showing off the latest prototype and trying to interest investors in helping get things moving.

The team needs to raise as little as $1.5 million to make iWondercook a reality for consumers. The team projects for pricing to be comparable with most major kitchen appliances, and may even have an option for people to get their robotic chef free if they agree to purchase a certain number of meal kits each month.

Lemberg likens the iWondercook to the reality of most printer manufacturers. When HP or Epson sells you a printer, they aren’t really making much money from that purchase. The real profit comes from the ink or toner cartridges. With iWondercook, the profit will be from the meal kits, which are still projected to cost less than a similar meal will cost in a restaurant, and about what you’d pay for the groceries.

Not only that, you don’t have to actually go to the grocery store. Everything gets delivered straight to your door. The iWondercook may well be the coolest thing that showed up at CES this year, and I can’t wait to see one sitting on my counter.

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