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Set kitchen to automatic
Back in early 2021 we heralded the development of Moley, a robotic chef with two smoothly gliding arms and a stack of pre-programmed recipes. Nearly three years later, Moley’s junior namesake has arrived; only the one arm this time, but just as graceful and elegant, a fifth of the price and, crucially, installable in a domestic kitchen.
Three talents became clear: its consistency, timing and patience
I should manage your expectations: Moley won’t improvise a menu, do the shopping or prepare the ingredients. There are some understandable health and safety regulations that prevent it from, for example, wielding a knife – and that’s a shame, as it would dice an onion more precisely and safely than I ever could. But still. Our role is that of sous chef, chopping the veg, preparing the stock and placing the ingredients and utensils in the places Moley would expect to find them. We fire up an app on the accompanying tablet, choose the dish, press “go” and let Moley do its thing.
I chose the risotto from its repertoire, mainly for the pleasure of watching a robot endure the kind of stir-heavy drudgery that I slightly resent. Three talents in particular soon became clear: its consistency, timing and patience. Its movements are closely modelled on that of a real chef, including a wonderful moment when, having heated the oil to the optimum temperature, it tipped the onion from a plastic container into the pan and gave it a little tap to make sure it was all transferred. Readers may doubt Moley’s Milanese credentials, but from the splash of wine to the gradual addition of stock to the mantecatura with parmesan and butter, you couldn’t really fault it, and the results were chef’s-kiss perfect.
It can be installed in a Corian worktop colour of your choosing, integrated into your kitchen or on its own island, and it’s primed to learn on the job, with its firmware and repertoire upgradable over WiFi. Yes, it’s incapable of culinary inspiration, but it spares us any diva-like tantrums over the freshness of duck eggs. Swings and roundabouts. Moley Robotics Moley Chef’s Kitchen. From £50,000, moley.com
Water, water everywhere
Concerns over the quality of our water supply are uniquely addressed by this water cooler-sized device. No pipes or weighty bottles; instead, it quietly pulls up to 10 litres of water per day from the air around you, purifies it, fortifies it with minerals, brings it up to a pH level of 9.2 and serves it either cool, room temperature or hot, as you wish. Evidently it’s doubling as a dehumidifier, but the effect on the humidity of your home seems to be minimal (around one or two per cent from what I saw) and the company assures us it even performs well in arid regions such as the south-western US. An improbable and fascinating unit that helps reduce our dependence on ageing, fallible infrastructure. Kara Pure, $3,799
I’d never tried making vegan milk until this machine arrived for testing. A lactose-intolerant pal had detailed her gruelling routine for generating a cup of almond milk, which involved overnight soaking and subsequent straining through cheesecloth. Milky Plant does it all in three minutes, transforming a scoop of nuts or grains into a convincingly milky liquid with a pleasant texture. (Nota bene: some nuts and grains do have more of an environmental impact than others.) It’s effectively a blender optimised for this task, with a separate water tank, blending compartment and filtering sieve. Those who have endured arduous cheesecloth mornings will appreciate its quick-rinse sieve and self-clean button. Milky Plant, £290
I’ve never believed the maxim that the most dangerous thing in the kitchen is a blunt knife, but I do appreciate using a freshly sharpened one. This German tool (which, unusually for Technopolis, doesn’t involve electricity) is probably the ultimate domestic sharpener, and comes in two parts: a magnetic block that holds your knife at a perfect angle to the vertical (20º, or 15º for high-quality steels) and the sharpener itself, a geared roller with two discs that you move up and down the blade, diamond grinder first, ceramic honer second. The results are beyond razor sharp. Those with a sharpening addiction could splash another £119 on a premium Horl set, including two additional whetstones and a leather strap. Horl 2 Pro Knife Sharpener, £349
Stand and deliver
For some, the making of coffee is all about theatre, with the clatter of portafilters and frothing of milk almost as important as the drink itself. Others require no such spectacle, just the coffee. The Giga 10 is a pro-grade bean-to-cup machine with 35 programmable drinks, from straight black Americano to cold-brew latte macchiato, with all settings (including size, intensity and blend of beans) finely adjustable. The upshot: speciality coffee to your precise requirements, chosen with the tap of a touchscreen. The pain point with any such machine is keeping it clean when milk is involved; Jura circumvents much of this by using a flexible external pipe that you just drop into any milk container. Jura Giga 10, £3,450