This one is a bit off my beaten path of audio, video, digital photography, computers and related topics, but it is electronic, useful and pretty darn neat. When I saw it I knew I had to write about it, and I hope to do a full review for the newspapers soon.
The Panasonic NU-HX100S Countertop Induction Oven uses induction and infrared heat to cook gourmet-quality meals quickly (within 30 minutes) and easily in a single grill pan. The grill pan is dishwasher-safe and large enough to prepare a complete meal for one or two people. A cookbook is provided with directions on how to prepare the ingredients and where to place them in the pan so they cook evenly. Usually this means meat in the middle, with vegetables and potatoes around the outside. It can also be used to prepare side dishes or entrées on their own.
Insert the pan, program the oven and about 30 minutes later you have a perfectly cooked meal worthy of a chef. The single pan then goes in the dishwasher, making clean-up quick and easy.
Panasonic had a chef preparing meals on the show floor to demonstrate the oven. I was able to interview him briefly and he explained that the small size of the oven and the fast cooking keeps the food from drying out. The small interior also helps moisture circulate around the food as it cooks, for richer and more complex flavor.
Sean Robinson, a member of the Panasonic LUMIX camera public relations team, walked over as I looked at the oven. He has demonstrated Panasonic LUMIX cameras for me in the past and I have known him for almost a year. “I have one of those, Don, and it’s great,” he said. “I use it all the time and it is one of the best things I have ever gotten.” He was grinning ear to ear as he said this. He’s a young, busy guy, which is probably a great demographic for this product. A lot of electronics fans fit that description, and a mom who gets their son or daughter one of these can feel good about them eating well and eating healthy. It would be useful for families as well, given its ability to cook entire meals for a few people, or entrées or side dishes for a larger group. At $599 it costs more than a microwave or toaster oven, but it is a much more advanced product with its precise operation and computer control, two types of heat, and superior cooking ability. If I ever get my hands on one I will definitely tell you more about it.