A new miniature cooker from Israel called the Genie is set to spark a revolution in meal preparation – it's able to turn pods of freeze-dried ingredients into full meals in as little as half a minute. Everything from chicken and rice to a chocolate soufflé can be whipped up, and the chefs working with the Genie inventors say that they're just getting started.
It's been compared to a Star Trek replicator – the futuristic machine that can synthesize meals on demand – and while it might not quite be as capable it certainly has plenty of potential. Each pod contains natural ingredients, free from preservatives, and dry ingredients such as flour and sugar can be added to the mix, too.
Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco are the Israeli entrepreneurs behind the device, and they're keeping their cards close to their chest about the (patented) inner workings of the Genie. They describe it as being like a Keurig-type coffee machine, where you pop in a pod of food and get your cooked or baked snack back a minute later. There's also an accompanying mobile app to give the Genie instructions and recipes.
Food on demand
"You choose the capsule and put it inside Genie," Carasso explains to us. "Genie then adds liquids, mixes and bakes it in the exact time and way needed, even to your personal tastes. In less than a minute, you have a hot, fresh, tasty meal. On demand." What makes the unit so impressive is the range of foods it can produce, from muffins to vegetable dishes.
For Carasso and Marco, the plan is to get the Genie into homes, coffee shops, gyms, universities, offices and everywhere else – the dehydrated ingredients have a shelf life of 1-2 years, and can be tweaked for those with special dietary requirements. "We will eat personalized food, we will eat the right-sized portion, we will reduce waste, and we will eat better," says Carasso.
The inventors don't expect us all to be dining out on Genie pods in the near future, but they say that they can offer a healthy and nutritious snack any time, any place. For those working in remote areas or those living in parts of the world where food is scarce, the Genie could make a significant difference. The team is already in discussions with the Israeli military, for example.
The product is set to launch in Israel within the next two months, though the team behind it is planning a small roll-out initially. It's expected to cost several hundred US dollars, with pricing of individual pods comparable to the snacks they contain.