Khalid Aboujasoum was a first-year engineering student at University of Ottawa, away from his mother’s home cooking, when he first thought of inventing a cooking robot.
“I struggled, being away from home. I never liked frozen food,” he says, over three years later as he anticipates the release date of his device. Put simply, it’s a ‘smart’ slow cooker operates according to pre-programmed recipes. It comes with a library of recipes for such dishes as coconut vegetable curry and beet risotto. Now accepting pre-orders, Oliver is scheduled to ship to buyers in June 2021.
Operated through an app, Oliver promises to guide the human through prepwork and instruct on ingredient placement via jars that click in place on the top. Apparently, it’s smart enough to know when to add the elements, adjust heat, and stir. “Then you can walk away, do something else, and you always get the same results,” says Khalid.
What’s more, Khalid has developed the app so that anyone with Oliver can program their own recipes into the system. The first time, in ‘recipe creation mode’, it takes a while, as you insert each step as a ‘job’ into the app. Once those jobs are perfected, he says, the workload is drastically reduced. The way he sees it there are two markets: those who consume (and will be happy to use supplied recipes as long as it tastes good), as well as professional cooks looking to create new recipes.
If it all works out as Khalid envisions, Oliver could also make for a fun way to share recipes. He’s both excited and reserved about this part. “Sharing has to be based around quality assurance. The smart phone empowers the user, but we still need to monitor, getting help from the community, to keep the quality up.”