Miele is calling the Dialog oven "revolutionary", claiming that there hasn't been a huge change in the way we cook food since we learnt how to make fire.
Each evolution of the cooking wheel has brought a new method of applying heat, but Miele says that with the Dialog they've looked at the essence of cooking from a new perspective. The aim is to deliver excellence without complication and to give budding chefs the tools they need in a conventional oven form.
Say hello to the Dialog oven.
The name comes from the idea that the oven is in communication with the food, suggesting that other cooking technologies are rather monologue. And yes, there is technology at play here, which makes it interesting.
Miele chose to reveal the Dialog on the eve of IFA 2017 in Berlin, serving up a range of dishes in real time, while explaining some of what the new appliance will do.
The Dialog uses a combination of cooking techniques, functioning as a conventional oven like the one you already have, but also offering cooking by electromagnetic waves. Some might say that microwave combination ovens already exist, but the Dialog is unique, using different wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum to cook your food.
That might sound weird, but it's all about energy and this is where the "dialogue" really comes in. Not only does the Dialog oven apply that energy, but it also detects how much energy there is in the food, knowing how much is necessary to perfectly cook it. This creates a feedback loop and one that's probably more accurate than you anxiously checking your food every 5 minutes to see if it's done.
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This differs to microwave cooking or oven cooking in a number of ways. Both those methods heat the outside of the food and rely on the conduction of that heat through the food to cook it. That results in an outside that's crisp or dry while the centre remains softer and often cooked how you like it.
For a roast potato or French fries that might be perfect, but for a piece of meat or fish, it's not always what you want - why have a fillet of beef that's only pink in the centre when you can have it pink almost all the way through? Using electromagnetic waves that better penetrate the food, the Dialog can cook more precisely and more delicately.
Think of it like cooking with a meat thermometer: you want the centre to hit that perfect temperature for a medium-rare, but what if you could just cook the whole thing medium rare evenly through-out?
It sounds complicated, but the complexity is handled by the Dialog, with the promise that you'll have better food on the table in shorter times, without having to use a range of different appliances. Combining electromagnetic waves with conventional cooking, you can quite literally have your cake and eat it.
Miele didn't give is too much technical detail about how all this works, instead demonstrating the Dialog's skills with real cooking:
First up was a cod fillet cooked in a box of ice. It sounds fancy, but remarkably, after about 8 minutes in the Dialog, the ice remained frozen, yet the fish inside was perfectly cooked. This happens, Miele said, because the waves pass through the ice so it doesn't get hot and then cooks the meat. It works and it's a little like witchcraft, very much a wow cooking moment.
The second course was salmon cooked two ways. That might sound like a disastrous MasterChef dish, but this is where the Dialog really shows its potential. With the salmon half wrapped in foil, only the exposed side was cooked. Fifteen minutes later, the salmon fillet is cooked on one side and raw on the other, presenting two different dishes, cooked at the same time, but in very different ways. Technical challenge mastered!
For the main course, we return to the idea of cooking through the outer packaging, this time with veal fillet coated in beeswax. You can probably now guess that the meat inside cooks perfectly, while the wax doesn't melt. But adding that outer layer of wax means all the juices are contained, so it's wonderfully juicy and bursting with flavour.
There are plenty of other examples of how the Dialog can cook your food. Have you ever fancied baking bread with no crust? Usually you'd have to steam buns to create that soft doughy result, but the Dialog can cook the bread without crusting the outside.
All this sounds great, but what about conventional cooking? Because you can combine different cooking techniques you can choose how you want that crust to be, you can cook your beef Wellington perfectly with a lot less fuss than it normally entails, or you can combine cooking techniques to produce the result you actually want. Miele claim you can put different foods in the Dialog at the same time and have each appear perfectly cooked.
Miele are on hand to provide recipes and ideas to make use of your Dialog and an accompanying smartphone app can be used to send detailed instructions to the oven. Otherwise, control is via the top touch panel, where you'll be able to access cooking modes, automatic programmes or just plain old oven features.
The Dialog isn't designed to replace all ovens for all people, it's designed to give cooking enthusiasts with all the tools they need. As Miele said to us at the launch event: conventional cooking is like using a hammer, but the Dialog gives you the whole toolbox.
We're sure this isn't going to come cheap and Miele hasn't yet put a price how much the integrated appliance will cost, nor have they revealed exactly when and where you're going to be able to buy it.
But they have started something here. You might not swallow the message of "revolutionary excellence" that Miele attaches to the Dialog, but as we've enjoyed the results, it's certainly given us an appetite for more of this technological revolution in cooking.