Sous Vide at Home, Minus Intimidation

Rachel Tepper Paley
April 29, 2014

Sous vide (pronounced SOO-VEEDmachines—those fancy high-tech water baths that transform ingredients like fish, chicken, and steak into more tender, more delicious versions of themselves—are as ubiquitousin today’s cutting-edge restaurants as blenders and blowtorches. It was only a matter of time until they crossed over into home cook territory. And as of next year, a new product will be gunning for a spot on the kitchen counter.

Mellow, a sous vide machine designed with home cooks in mind, has a few things going for it: First, it may be the first such gadget controlled by a smartphone. Second, it relies upon both hot and cold water, which can either refrigerate or cook an ingredient. Third, there’s no need to vacuum-seal ingredients as one does with other sous vide machines. Lastly, it’s roughly the size of a small Keurig.

Here’s how it works: In the morning, a person can set Mellow to a refrigerator-like 41 degrees and plunk in a plastic bag containing, say, a filet of raw salmon. On the way home, he can press a button on his smartphone and get the cooking process rolling. By the time he arrives, his salmon is finished cooking and ready to eat.

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"This is a 21st century version of a Crock-Pot,” explained José Pinto Ferreira, the founder of FNV Labs, which produces Mellow. “It’s a robotic sous chef for someone who loves food but is too busy to make a complete meal from scratch on a day-to-day basis.”

Mellow makes things easier on home cooks than conventional sous vide machines, Ferreira stressed, which are meant to be used in restaurant settings and don’t have a refrigeration or smartphone component.

But this certainly isn’t the sort of gadget one buys on a whim. It comes with a hefty $400 price tag, which might scare away less moneyed cooks. (FNV is currently taking pre-orders, and Ferreira said the first machines will likely ship in early 2015.)

"I’m a cheap individual myself—I don’t buy much expensive gear," Ferreira allowed, "but for gear like this you have to go the extra mile."

We’re curious to read the first product reviews for Mellow. If it’s all that and a bag of sous vide filet mignon, we might fork over the cash for it.