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Miele's new Dialog oven cooks without heat.
When you hear the phrase “revolutionary excellence,” it’s easy to brush it aside as marketing-speak. But, at a launch by German appliance manufacturer Miele, the phrase actually applies to one of their new products.The product itself is the Dialog oven—a new oven that uses electromagnetic waves, rather than heat waves—to cook your food. The oven has a “dialogue” with your food by constantly monitoring its progress, ensuring that it’s cooked perfectly and evenly, every time.This obsession with perfection seems to be one of Miele’s core values, as exhibited for me on a factory tour in the German town of Gütersloh. After touring through a massive and spotless space that includes assembly lines, robots, conveyor belts and a little train that moves materials around, I was led to a team of quality control experts. On this particular team, five individuals inspect every just-made side panel for one of their washing machine models, trashing the occasional product due to defects. To my untrained, non-Miele-buying eye? No defects. Even when the pinpoint-sized spec of discolouration is pointed out to me, I can barely keep it in focus. “The Miele customer would spot that in a heartbeat,” Miele Canada VP of Marketing Kelly Lam tells me confidently.Miele’s mantra, “Immer Besser” (always better, in German), was definitely represented at the official product launch of the Dialog oven. Starting in a small and fairly inconsequential room, I wondered if we were going to be standing for the entire presentation. I comforted myself with a mimosa and waited for the show to begin. After a brief introduction, we were led into a small hallway and told to squish together to fit everyone in. Lights flashed, a techno beat played, and suddenly the walls retracted into the former room, revealing a massive space with eight dining tables and eight kitchen stations.The experience was kind of like an Apple launch crossed with an interpretive theatre performance combined with Masterchef. We’re talking mic’d hosts, celebrity chefs, projected name cards at each seat, and even a choreographed musical number. Oh, and did I mention the three-course meal with accompanying beverages for every course? Our first course was fish, which was cooked while encased in a block of ice inside the Dialog oven, demonstrating how heat is not used. Next up was a salmon duo—half raw, half cooked, with the raw portion being protected from the electromagnetic waves by a layer of tin foil. Despite it being 11 a.m., my tablemates and I exchanged disappointed glances when our barely-sipped martinis were whisked away as soon as we finished our fish. Luckily, they were replaced quickly with red wine, which paired nicely with the third course: truffles and squash puree over veal tenderloin, which was wrapped in beeswax through its time in the oven to ensure the retention of moisture. Of course, like the ice, the beeswax didn’t melt. The meal and demonstration concluded with coffee, tea and flawless raspberry soufflés in another room that was set up as a coffee bar—complete with Miele espresso machines and an ice sculpture.Through the glitz and glamour of the launch and the meal, I was informed of how the Dialog oven differs from the ovens we’re all used to using. When cooking, we are accustomed to heat slowly cooking a dish from the outside in, inevitably leading to variation in colour and doneness. With the Dialog oven, the electromagnetic waves cook a dish through at the same pace, meaning a dish that we’re accustomed to seeing in a gradient of brown to pink, such as veal tenderloin, cooks evenly throughout. Similarly, bread or buns that typically feature a browner top and lighter interior will appear monochrome. The visual difference is almost jarring, as if the food is so perfect it doesn’t seem real.Not only does the Dialog oven cook your dishes evenly (and that’s with multiple dishes in the oven at the same time,too!), it does it fast, with time savings as high as 70 percent—kind of like a microwave-oven hybrid. For the multitasker, the Miele app allows you to check in on your oven and monitor your dishes’ progress from afar, meaning you can catch up on Netflix or laundry while your dinner cooks. Plus, as if the Miele product development team foresaw just how jarring a monochrome loaf of bread can be, the oven can switch to convection mode at any time.Unfortunately, Miele’s Dialog oven isn’t available in Canada yet, but will likely be ready for purchase in 2018. Until then, you’ll have to enjoy your veal tenderloin the old-fashioned way.
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