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Since 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has steadily built a reputation as one of the most hotly-anticipated affairs in the world of technology. Commonly referred to as CES, the multi-day gathering is the world's largest consumer tech trade show, attended by over 100,000 visitors — from casual enthusiasts to field experts — from around the globe each year. Still, while an event like CES may conjure images of brand new drones, robots, and phones, there's more to this sweeping convention than just electronics. Spanning several massive venues across Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2024 event, CES is also home to the latest inventions and developments across the food realm. And yes, AI has even come for your refrigerator.
Whether you've always dreamed of a kitchen to rival the Jetsons' or you're simply looking for the smartest toaster oven on the block, we found it all on the event's show floor. Tasting Table visited CES 2024 to uncover the biggest and brightest stars of the growing food tech sector. While we fell head over heels for products like GE's Smart Indoor Smoker and Instaglo's Macrowave within moments of arriving, there were several other exciting devices on our radar at this year's event. Ahead, we'll fill you in on some of our favorite booths and brands spotted at CES, from the Willcook, a shoulder-slung microwave bag made for cooking on the move, to TissenBioFarm, a blossoming startup perfecting the art of lab-cultivated steak, and so much more.
Read more: 15 Best Knife Brands, Ranked
Willtex - Willcook
If you've been late to one too many potlucks in the past, we've found just the product to improve your punctuality. The Willcook, an 'oven bag' by Japanese textile brand Willtex, earned our CES 2024 Innovation Award for its clever design, which allows users to heat foods up to 266 degrees Fahrenheit beyond the confines of their kitchen, and in just 20 minutes or less. Using a combination of specially woven fibers and a rechargeable battery pack, this remarkable (and rather fashionable) accessory can heat up leftovers, keep beverages piping hot, and, yes, even cook foods on the go. Additionally, the Willcook's unique textile design can even keep cold foods and beverages chilled — making this versatile bag ideal for perishable work lunches or picnic party foods.
We witnessed the Willcook bag firsthand at CES, where it warmed up canned tomato soup within minutes. The lightweight, stain-resistant pouch weighs just over half a pound, and it generates heat from the small battery that neatly tucks into its front pocket. Using the Willcook app, users can adjust the internal temperature of the bag directly from their smartphones. It takes about 10 minutes for the bag to reach 195 Fahrenheit, though its stylish exterior remains cool to the touch. There's even an added bonus for those who are always cold: After carefully unfolding it, the still-warm 'oven' can double as a cozy lap blanket. The Willcook isn't available for purchase stateside just yet, but we're told the portable cooking device should hit the American retail market by fall 2024.
Bosch - 800 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machines
Love coffee shop favorites like lattes or macchiatos, but don't have the time to prepare specialty sips at home each morning? Thanks to Bosch, it's easy to whip up delectable drinks like these with just the click of a button. The company's 800 Series fully automatic espresso machines, like the Built-In Coffee Machine, can handle everything from grinding espresso beans to frothing milk, and can brew an extensive array of classic cafe-style beverages. What's more, they're capable of brewing two custom drinks at once, making them perfect for personal use or entertaining a crowd. At CES, Bosch created a pop-up coffee 'shop' with the help of these sleek machines, where baristas served event goers everything from espresso shots to oat milk cappuccinos. We tried the latter — served in a Bosch cup, of course — and the results were virtually indistinguishable from what you'd find at Starbucks.
Everyone's idea of the perfect drink is different, and Bosch has addressed this by including features to fine-tune each beverage. For example, trying to fix both a wet and dry cappuccino simultaneously would prove difficult for most humans, but the 800 Series does so with ease. When you find the menu items or settings that make your heart (and taste buds) sing, you can revisit them again and again using the unique Coffee Playlist function. The full 800 Series coffee machine lineup is set to roll out in mid-2024, though some models may be available from select retailers and appliance dealers.
Seergrills - Perfecta
Whether you're more into seared ribeye or charred zucchini, there's nothing quite like the savory taste of food that's fresh off the grill. But for many of us, grilling can be a challenge — that is, until now. Founded by Suraj Sudera, Seergrills is changing the way we think about grilling. Unlike compact grills of the past, with their barely-there grill marks and smoky haze, Seergrills' Perfecta can achieve backyard barbecue-level results without all the fuss. The electric and propane-powered grill works quickly and neatly, cooking steaks in mere minutes while catching runaway grease in a handy, machine-washable drip tray. And while you might think this type of powerful tech would require more energy than the average appliance, it's significantly more efficient than your air fryer or standard grill.
Using AI-enhanced NeuralFire Technology and infrared burners, the Perfecta possesses a unique advantage over other indoor grills, ensuring perfect doneness while keeping everything tender, juicy, and flavorful, no matter how novice you are at grilling. The attractive Seergrills app also gives users the option to rate their meal after cooking, which helps the device learn to prepare exactly what they like. Interested in giving it a shot yourself? Right now, you can preorder the Perfecta for $3,500 from Seergrills, with units expected to ship later this year.
TissenBioFarm - Lab-Cultivated Meat
Chances are you've heard of Impossible Foods' plant-based meat, or Quorn's "chicken" derived from mycoprotein (mushrooms) — but what about meat made from, well, meat itself? Incorporated in 2021, TissenBioFarm is a Korean startup company that creates realistic cuts of cultivated meat grown from beef cells. The starter cells are carefully chosen from healthy livestock samples in a process that TissenBioFarm likens to "picking the best beans for the perfect coffee." According to the company, the lab-grown meat is even customizable in its thickness, marbling, and texture.
At the moment, TissenBioFarm is a relative newcomer in the meat industry, so it may be some time before we see its products on supermarket shelves. Those hoping to take a bite sooner rather than later may need to travel: The company aims to introduce its meat to the Korean market by 2025. We weren't given a chance to try it at CES, though we can attest that it looked — and felt — just like the real thing as we held a plastic-packaged TissenBioFarm steak. And if you're wondering about matters of taste, we have good and bad news: Based on accounts from those who've tried it, the texture of the meat is said to be spot-on, though its flavor may need some tweaking.
Barsys - Barsys 360
When it comes to celebratory cocktails, you can never have too many options on tap for thirsty guests. And while there's certainly something special about serving your grandmother's punch recipe in her passed-down crystal bowl, it's nice to bring a modern twist to the party every now and then. You may have heard of Barsys, the company known for creating high-tech barware such as the smart coaster. At CES 2024, the Barsys booth was among the most popular with trade show attendees in the food tech department, partially due to its newest launch, the Barsys 360.
A passionate company representative, Chef Gary Marandola, walked us through the Barsys 360 experience in its entirety. Its ambient lighting is eye-catching enough on its own, but this conversation piece is more than just a pretty face — it's also a serious home bartender. Instead of painstakingly mixing drink after drink while your guests have all the fun, simply fill the machine up with the liquid ingredients of your choice. After entering your recipe into its accompanying app, the Barsys 360 is ready to mix and dispense cocktails on demand, illuminating each glass at the center of the ring. Available in timeless black or white, the Barsys 360 is currently available for preorder at $475 through Barsys, with devices set to ship in late January.
Samsung - Bespoke 4-Door Flex Refrigerator With AI Family Hub+
Just about everyone can relate to the plight of buying fresh produce only to have it wither away in the fridge faster than you can say "little gem lettuce. With the Samsung Bespoke 4-Door Flex Refrigerator, this type of aggravation becomes a thing of the past. The latest series of appliances from Samsung is equipped with AI vision, offering home chefs a glimpse inside their refrigerator without ever opening its doors. Not only can you keep a closer watch on those pesky fruits and vegetables, but you'll also receive recipe suggestions of what to make with them.
There are some limitations to what this fridge can do, but this is just the beginning for Samsung's Bespoke appliance line, which features similarly-enhanced smart vacuums, ovens, and more. Furthermore, AI Vision is just one of the Bespoke Refrigerator's charms — there's plenty more to like about the Family Hub+ screen built into its door. As we observed at CES 2024, users can also keep track of family calendars, listen to music, and catch live feeds of visitors at their front door. The Samsung Bespoke 4-Door Flex Refrigerator starts at $4,999, though prospective buyers can save $1,500 off of its retail price from Samsung at the time of writing.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.