Sous-vide, or "under vacuum," is a cooking method whereby food is sealed in an airtight bag. The bag is then submersed in water and slow-cooked, and this vacuum system ensures the food is cooked evenly, both inside and out. As you can imagine, it requires a fair degree of precision to get it right, which in turn requires buying a pricey appliance with the requisite built-in precision.
Design to the rescue. London-based Grace Lee, who ditched a career in finance to become a chef, and Xi-Yen Tan, a manufacturing engineer by training, wondered if they could achieve sous-vide cooking with cheap, commonplace appliances. So they built a device that could precisely sense and control the temperature of a common rice cooker or slow cooker. "We hacked a prototype together and tried our first sous-vide chicken breast," writes Lee, "and [were] mindblown at how juicy and moist it could be!"
Knowing they had a hit on their hands, Lee and Tan put together a team of industrial designers and electronic engineers, and lined up manufacturing partners, to refine the design and go into production via Kickstarter. Their resultant device, the Codlo, is something like a Nest thermostat for cooking:
With only twelve days left to pledge, the Codlo was 86% funded at press time. Buy-in starts at £99, and for those that don't already have a rice cooker or slow cooker, for £129 you can get both the Codlo and a rice cooker sent to you. And yes, the Codlo is available in UK, Euro and Japan/North America plug styles.