Induction cooktops can rapidly, powerfully heat a skillet. If you don't stare at your stove, you can easily burn food to a crisp. A new induction cooktop adds greater control to the operation with preset cooking modes and a wireless sensor that monitors the cookware's temperature.
Introduced by European appliance designer Gorenje, iQcook contains a magnetic temperature sensor that attaches to the lids of pots and pans. The sensor wirelessly talks to the stove, which adjusts the heat so that the cook can focus on other tasks in the kitchen. The system keeps you from burning your food, and the designers claim it can reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent (compared to conventional induction). Preset cooking modes, a feature that routinely appears on new cooktops, make prep times and temperatures even more accurate. It could be, as the promo film puts it, "genious."
The product is set for release later this year, but its premise raises some questions. Because it's an induction cooktop, all the pots and pans must be magnetic to work, period. Yet the press materials show the sensor being attached to a glass lid. It seems the sensor could just stick on the side of the ferromagnetic pot, but that approach is not mentioned. The second major question is whether the sensor can only be applied when food is prepared under a lidded skillet.
Induction has had a hard time taking off in the US. Gas ranges are the norm in high-end kitchens nationwide, and even homeowners willing to shell out money for a kitchen renovation rarely choose to add the electrical work required to convert to induction. Then there's the cookware upgrade—a serious home cook with $1,000 invested in pots and pans (which don't happen to be ferromagnetic) is unlikely to start all over with gear for a new stove. Right?
Even with innovations like the Gorenje, devices like this induction hot plate may be the technology's best chance of adoption in the US. Plug it in, try it out, and don't toss out your whole gas range in the process.