This week, Anova launched a new sous vide cooker targeted towards professionals, the Anova Precision Cooker Pro.
The new $399 circulator, available at Anova’s website or on Amazon, which was designed to withstand the higher demands of professional kitchens, is actually Anova’s second stab at the pro market. In a post on the Anova blog, company CEO Steve Svajian describes the backstory of bringing a pro circulator to market for the second time:
In 2014, we also launched our first device for professionals—The Anova Precision® Cooker Pro. Most pro devices were not built to run nonstop, broke easily, and were big and bulky. We wanted to fix that.
We launched the first Pro early in the company’s history when we had less than ten employees. It was very difficult to support both consumers AND professionals. So, in 2015, we stopped selling the first Pro and began dreaming of a new device from the ground-up.
As can be seen, the 2019 Pro edition looks a lot more like a signature Anova circulator, only built for high-volume demands of a restaurant kitchen. The new model is designed to run non-stop (Svajian’s post says it could theoretically run for 10,000 hours straight) and can heat a much larger water bath (100 liters) than the home version.
Interestingly, the company decided to deliver the Pro without the ability to connect to the mobile app.The company is working on a complete rebuild of the app and, because it wouldn’t be ready at the time of the launch of the Pro, it apparently didn’t make sense to engineer the new circulator to work with an older gen app that is effectively being phased out. The new app will be out this summer and Pro users will be able to connect after a firmware upgrade.
Svajian describes the decision to push the Pro without app connectivity in the post:
“It was a tough decision to ship Pro before the app was ready, but we didn’t want to deny professionals the chance to start cooking with it immediately.
Our mission is to inspire people to create great food. As part of that, we want our products, both hardware and software, to deliver the best experiences in the world. We’re quite cognizant of the fact that our app has been a source of frustration and we’re committed to making it better. We’ve built a great team that’s working extremely hard on a new app and new infrastructure that will enable us to deliver an unparalleled experience.”
Like many Anova users, I tend to agree that their current app leaves much to be desired and have chosen to simply use the circulator without it. In some ways being to run my Nano without an app is both just easier and also makes sense – complete reliance on an app is one of the major concerns of ChefSteps’ Joule users as that company has had struggles – and I imagine this would be the case for a busy chef cooking steak after steak.
However, there are scenarios where a better app would drastically improve user experience, such as alarms for when the food is done cooking, having the ability to schedule a cook and remotely turn the circulator on or off. For the pro kitchen, it would also make sense for an app that runs multiple Pros at the same time.
Svajian hints at some features in another post announcing the new app in from April, and also drops a tantalizing tidbit about the app being able connect to more than just Anova circulators:
Software must enable #anovafoodnerds to connect in a meaningful way – We believe that both device connectivity and communication between different devices are increasingly important features of the Anova Kitchen.
Does that mean the Anova app will become more of an uber-smart kitchen app? Will it connect to Electrolux appliances? We’ll have to wait and see.
Svajian also discusses how the new app will enable more personalized content management (recipe collections, personalized recommendations) and also facilitate interactivity between Anova users.
Overall, it’s good to see this burst of activity from Anova, which outside of delivering the Nano last year has been fairly quiet since their acquisition by Electrolux. Now, with the Pro shipping out to customers, hopefully the company can now turn their attention to the long overdue Anova Precision oven. The company first announced their smart combi oven in 2016 (at SKS in Seattle) and originally intended to ship in the summer of 2017. As of now, the oven is still nowhere to be seen. Given the product is now a couple years overdue, some probably think the company has all but given up on it, but when I ask they’ve reassured me that their still working on it. They won’t, however, commit to a ship date.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how the Pro performs in, well, the pro market. Anova has become the biggest name in consumer sous vide, but some chefs have been cooking sous vide for a decade at this point using equipment from the likes of Polyscience and others. This is where a strong app and upgradable firmware could really differentiate Anova, but for now we’ll just have to wait and see how cooking professionals embrace the company’s push into the pro market sans app (at least until summer).