High-speed oven cuts cooking time ten-fold

Fast food just got faster with the arrival of the TurboChef rapid-cook microwave and internet-ready oven By John Dunn

Run, chickens! You’ll need more than Rocky to help you escape from the TurboChef rapid-cook oven. By combining a computer-controlled 100kph blast of hot air with a microwave generator, the TurboChef will roast a 3lb bird to perfection in just under 11 minutes.

US-based TurboChef Technologies is supplying its patented rapid-cook technology to catering establishments around the world. All the Little Chefs in Britain are installing TurboChefs. And the Park Lane Hilton in London uses a TurboChef to cook breakfasts for room service: sausage, bacon, tomatoes, hash browns and egg – actually a frozen omelette – all ready in under 2 minutes.

Now TurboChef technology is coming to the domestic cooker. London industrial design house Factory Design has designed a mass market domestic version of its rapid cook oven for release in Europe in the next 12-18 months.

According to Paul Clark, managing director of TurboChef Europe, the rapid cook oven is a completely new way of cooking. A shroud of high speed hot air is directed down over the food and out through the base of the cooker. A computer controls the speed of the air to create cooking conditions from roasting and grilling to baking and poaching.

The secret is that this curtain of air actually seals in moisture. A microwave generator then aids the cooking process by directing microwave energy directly into the centre of the food, rather than into the cooker cavity as in conventional microwave ovens. The microwaves agitate water molecules in the food to increase the efficiency of heat transfer into the food from the air curtain.

As a result, says Clark, TurboChef ovens cook up to 10 times faster than conventional ovens. The new domestic oven won’t be quite so fast, says Clark. It will cook at around 5 times faster.

The cooker is aimed at replacing the conventional oven, says Clark. `All you have to do is take your traditional recipe and divide the cooking time by five.’

The oven’s computer also stores cooking profiles for popular recipes so that you can grill a lamb chop or bake a cake at the touch of a button. But the technology doesn’t stop there. The new oven will be internet-enabled so that in future recipes can be downloaded from the web complete with cooking profiles that will automatically program the oven to cook the recipe. Run chickens, run!

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