Yes, you’ll still have a kitchen in 10 years, but it won’t look the same. At the Smart Kitchen Summit, Jon Jenkins, Director of Engineering at Hestan Smart Cooking, and author Dana Cowin chatted with The Spoon’s Mike Wolf about ways in which our relationship to cooking and the kitchen is changing and what the heart of the home will look like in the future.
1. Our relationship to kitchen tech will be emotional.
“If you have a kitchen, you’re using technology,” Jenkins explained onstage, adding that the difference between now and the near future is your relationship to that technology. He noted that making food surfaces an emotional response for the cook, one that technology needs to be able to replicate. “If I hit a button, am I getting any joy from that at all?” Jenkins asked. “We need to be creating something better than just hitting a button.”
2. The screen is key to future kitchens.
Jenkins also noted the importance of screens in the kitchen, particularly for younger generations, who’ve grown up with iPads and video-enabled learning. “I think this notion of showing people how to do something is really important,” he said. Underscore that word “show” — although voice-enabled cooking tools do exist, the panelists generally agreed that visual help is more effective for, say, learning how to peel an apple.
3. Cooking will be a lifestyle, not an action.
Meanwhile, Cowin, who’s the former editor of Food & Wine, noted that despite the thousands of recipes the magazine has published over the years, many of its readers have never actually used them to cook. Rather, they just enjoyed the lifestyle around being a food enthusiast. “People compose rather than cook,” she said onstage.
4. Technology needs to address the entire food ecosystem.
Cowin also noted that foodtech should cater to more than just the food enthusiasts and people with substantial disposable income. How, for example, will the kitchen serve people of lesser means in the future? How will it help make the food system more sustainable? How will it affect workers? These and other “moral” questions will be ones appliance makers and other foodtech companies will need to address in future.