Broccoli, that brilliant source of vitamins K and C, has long been my culinary Achille’s heel. I can bake it, roast it, steam it, sautee it, or fry it, and the poor green stems would emerge either too soggy or too burned to eat. And then last night, I chopped up a stalk of broccoli, dribbled some olive oil in it, and stuck it into the new June. Using the touch-screen, I chose the specific food I was cooking (the aforementioned broccoli), and hit start. Fifteen minutes later, I had a crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside vegetable worthy of a restaurant side dish.
So now, let’s talk about the countertop June Intelligent Oven, which was created by a former Apple engineer (you might have heard of one of his former projects—the iPhone?) that can do everything but wash the dishes for you. This good-looking gadget works as a convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster and warming drawer. It’s got a small footprint—less than two feet wide and two feet deep—but can still handle a 10-pound turkey, a 12-inch pizza and pans as large as 12 to 16 inches.
In fact, the other night I roasted a duck. An entire, sizable, fresh duck. The oven did all the roasting for me, actually, so I can take none of the credit for the succulent bird that emerged. My kid, the pickiest of picky eaters, devoured it. June, I thank you.
What really sets the June apart is its ability to completely take the guesswork out of cooking. Thanks to its heat-resistant camera, the oven can automatically detect more than 60 types of foods. Simply place something inside, close the door and choose your cooking option using the sleek touchscreen. You can either set your own plan or use the preset programs: There are more than 200 of them, which the company developed with input from professional chefs. There’s no need to fumble with recipes, although June does offer plenty of their own online—some free, some require a paid subscription—if you’re into that kind of thing.
Although it might seem like the thing is controlled by magic, there’s a good bit of science behind it. Once a minute, the oven processes data from its heating elements, fans, air temperature sensor and optional food thermometer probe (no more overcooked salmon!).
It has a built-in probe thermometer that estimates when your food will be cooked through, so there’s no need to slice through pink, bleeding chicken to determine its done-ness.
It works with an app on your phone, which you can use to control the oven, check cook times, and, for the truly obsessed, watch a live feed of your food doing its thing. Helping your kid with homework in the living room? You’ll get a notification on your phone when dinner’s finished (and if he’s still puzzling over fractions, you can simply switch the oven to “keep warm” from the app).
The June isn’t perfect. It’s WiFi connectivity leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s not remotely a dealbreaker because it works just fine without it. You just don’t get the benefit of the app or being able to remotely control it, which can be a major issue or a minor one, depending on your needs. And it’s sometimes too smart for its own good, letting you only increase the cook time in increments of minutes. Plus, the camera, while a very cool feature, IDs specific, preprogrammed foods, so don’t rely on it to do all the thinking for you, especially if you’re cooking something like Welsh rarebit.
With a $699 price tag, it’s not cheap—but it’s a decent value when you realize how many appliances it can replace. And besides, can you ever really put a price on sanity?
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