Steve Johnson is not a great cook, which is why his favorite new kitchen gadget is the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System.
Johnson uses the system — which comes with a smart frying pan, induction burner and recipe app — to whip up killer chicken cacciatore, perfect asparagus and juicy steaks better than anything he could produce on a grill.
“I have to emphasize, I am not a good cook,” he says.
Johnson, who works at Factory Direct Appliance, had to try the system after watching a cooking demonstration.
“In the demo, (the Hestan representative) was making crepes and they were coming out perfect,” Johnson says.
The system starts at $299. It looks basic — but there’s really nothing basic about it. The induction burner can communicate with the included pots and pans and connects to an iOS or Android app on a smartphone or other device. The burner keeps the Bluetooth-connected cookware at an exact temperature and raises or lowers the heat as needed for a recipe.
The app prompts users when they need to add ingredients and includes videos to help teach cooking techniques. It can also turn itself off if you accidentally leave it on.
“It takes an average cook to 5-star quality,” Johnson says. “It is so accurate, you can’t mess anything up. It absolutely works perfect.”
The Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System can only be used with special heat-sensing stainless steel pans.
According to a review on digitaltrends.com, the system does have its drawbacks. It can be a bit loud when it first starts, is probably too big for most kitchen cupboards and cannot go in the dishwasher, oven or on a traditional stovetop. Some users have also complained that the app can be clunky, forcing you to swipe through too many steps during the cooking process.
The biggest drawback for Johnson is that his Hestan Cue is a one-burner system. However, GE is partnering with Hestan to put the smart burners in their Café Series cooktops — and Johnson likes the technology so much that he’d consider buying one.
“When you buy something like this, you always think it might be just a gadget,” he says. “I thought I might use it for a couple of weeks and be done with it, but I bet I cook with it at least once a week.”