Paragon is a low-cost induction cooktop from GE-subsidiary FirstBuild, designed to provide precision cooking to the masses. The product, which is currently the subject of a crowdfunding effort, pairs with a temperature sensor and links up with an iOS app, all with the goal of providing a less stressful kitchen experience.
Paragon consists of an induction cooktop with a 12-inch (30.5-cm) diameter, a wireless sensor for keeping track of temperatures and an optional iOS app. The cooktop itself plugs into a standard 120V socket and can reach temperatures of up to 500 °F (260 °C). It uses induction heating, which is superior to more traditional electric cooktops as it provides a constant heat level at the desired temperature rather than cycling the burner on and off to adjust heat levels.
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The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within a single degree Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius). It continuously monitors temperature, wirelessly sending information to the cooktop via Bluetooth, and automatically adjusting heat output to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained throughout cooking. The company estimates that the sensor will last around three months before it needs recharging, which is handled via microUSB.
The iOS companion app adds a layer of convenience to the product, offering step-by-step guides and recipes, the ability to adjust burner heat and displaying notifications when the desired cooking time or temperature is reached. There are also capacitive touch controls on the cooktop itself, so you’re not completely out of luck if you’re not an iOS user.
One of the key uses of the Paragon is sous-vide cooking – a method that involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and placing it in hot water for an extended period of time, then briefly searing it. The ability to precisely set and monitor cooking times and temperatures makes the product well suited to the in-fashion cooking style.
Luckily, the Paragon isn’t just a one-trick pony, but can also be used for searing, poaching, simmering, deep frying and braising. It can even keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it. FirstBuild is encouraging community members to think up additional applications for the cooktop, such as brewing beer or cooking rice.
The Paragon has already surpassed its US$50,000 target with 32 days left on the clock. The company has several hundred spots left for early bird backers at the pledge price of $149. Assuming everything goes to plan, the cooktop is expected to start shipping in December, with the final retail cost rising to $249.
You can check out the company’s Indiegogo pitch in the video below.