The smartest thing you have in your kitchen right now might be your kiddo’s A+ paper on the fridge, the genius chore chart that actually inspired your roommate to buy toilet paper on time, maaaaybe a battery-operated pepper grinder from last year’s White Elephant win. Today, there’s a new IoT innovation that’s going to inspire you to take your kitchen gadget game from George Foreman to George Jetson status. Smart home shoppers, meet June, a computer-based, app-connected countertop oven that wants to brown your bagels in the morning, cook steak the way you love it every time and text you when your perfectly-baked batch of cookies is ready.
The people behind June Intelligent Oven are a pretty impressive bunch with resumes that read like the home screen on your smartphone. But that’s the kind of brainpower you need when crafting an Internet-connected, pro-grade piece of kitchen equipment that boasts a quad-core processor, a built-in camera (that, you know, won’t melt) and sensors that can detect what kind of food you place into it.
Tucked away in a pretty Victorian home in San Francisco — not exactly the Silicon Valley frat house you’ve seen while using your parent’s HBOGo password — are the unsuspecting June offices. The small startup wanted a real kitchen (like the one co-founders Matt Van Horn and Nikhil Bhogal came up with the idea for June in) to perform their tasty beta testing and prototyping. As you pass engineers, designers and a fellow journalist or two in the homey hallways of their space, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baked to perfection by June makes it clear that these guys knew what they were up to.
A mutual love of cooking and food is part of what brought Van Horn and Bhogal together to create June, but it was also the lack of innovation they saw when they looked around the kitchen. Especially compared to Betty Draper’s setup. “Watching Mad Men and the kitchens on there, they’re almost identical to our kitchens today,” Van Horn points out. “But everything’s been changing — technology has been changing, Nest has happened, Apple’s HomeKit has happened. So we set on this journey to make the best home oven the world has ever seen.”
Design-wise, the sleek cube will remind anyone on the tech beat of a good-looking crowdfunded 3D countertop printer, which is to say June is crafted to look at home sidled up to your Sodastream or in place of your microwave. Although it’s a compact appliance (see: countertop), you could fit a 12-pound bird or a 12” pizza into its 1.0 cubic foot. And when you do, expect each slice to have a crispy crust and melted cheese and be better than Digiorno because the co can name Michelin star chef Michael Minna as one of their advisors who gave them the analog advice their digital product needed.
“When we first met with him, he said there are two things that really matter,” Van Horn recounts of their initial meeting with Chef Minna. “You guys understand technology and mobile and you’ll do a lot of incredible things there, but in reality two things really matter: is the food great? And, is it easy to clean?”
Using tech know-all and sage advice from a top chef, the company crafted an oven engineered for precision heating that boasts “serious thermodynamics” that are “like cruise control on your car.” June knows what you’re cooking and uses sensors and a core temperature probe to know exactly how to cook it faster, more efficiently and (thanks, Michael) to its most delicious degree. The oven understands that you just put a steak in, the touchscreen panel on the front asks you how you like your steak, the connected app will let you watch it from the embedded cameras and your smartphone will buzz you when dinner is ready. Smart indeed.
As someone who lives in your average big city small studio with college dorm-size appliances, June is a dream sub for the microwave I rely on and the oven I neglect. I could also see how my mother, the OG homemaker in Upstate NY would welcome June with open, oven mitt-ed arms. Especially if the next iteration comes in a color that would complement her KitchenAid mixer.
With just-announced funding on their side, there won’t be a crowdfunding campaign to wait for, but you can put money down to reserve one of the first Junes scheduled to ship spring 2016. A $95 deposit will dib your smart oven, which will go for $1495 if you reserve in the next 30 days. After that, the MSRP is $2,995 so we’re talking about a bit more of an investment than the George Foreman we name dropped above, but a worthy gamechanger for your future kitchen.
What’s the smartest thing in your kitchen right now? Would you make room for June? Share below!