If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love food and love to cook. Fresh ingredients from our farmer’s market are my jam and my family prefers home cooked meals over going out. Discovering new cookbooks, strolling through Williams Sonoma, trying different recipes, and kitchen gadgets that will make me a more efficient home chef make me happy so I was thrilled when Hestan Cue reached out to me about trying their smart cooking system.
A smart fry pan that communicates with an induction burner and the recipe app on my phone via Bluetooth sounds like a tech savvy food lover’s dream come true but it’s also marketed as a product that could help novice chefs build confidence in their cooking. At $500+ for the system (it it currently available from Amazon for $400), it’s definitely an investment that you expect to make to make cooking dreams come true with a phenomenal out of the box experience that’s free of glitches.
I was hopeful that Hestan Cue would fill my kitchen with sparkles and rainbows as good smells emanated from the pan but as my excitement turned into confusion, then frustration, and finally the positive experience I hoped for, I had to wonder if I expected too much from something whose one job was to help me cook good food.
Here’s what you need to know about how the smart pan and induction burner work with the embedded Bluetooth sensors to communicate with the app on your iOS or Android device to help you cook like a pro and what my out of the box experience was like.
About the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
Hestan Cue is a three part smart cooking system that requires the portable induction burner, smart pan, and app to work together. The three connect via embedded sensors and Bluetooth in order to control the cook time and temperature for each step of the recipe that appears through the app.
The 100+ recipes were developed by a culinary team that includes Michelin-star chefs like Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. They range from family friendly (grilled cheese, chicken tenders, fajita quesadillas, etc.) to recipes like zaatar roasted carrots and kale salad with cumin spiced yogurt and chorizo stuffed calamari that will have you dreaming of your next global adventure. The app makes it easy to find recipes by ingredient via the search function or through the beautiful interface that allows you to locate recipes by cuisine, meal/course, main ingredients, dietary restrictions, season, and even mood.
Since so many of us cook with our digital devices by our side to look up recipes, Hestan Cue takes it one step farther thanks to professional chefs who guide home cooks through every step of the recipe in the video. They provide helpful tips about technique, explanations of vocabulary, etc. to empower you in the kitchen.
Setting up the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
Unboxing a new product is always fun and I’m always excited about using products right out of the box. Having watched some videos about Hestan Cue before our smart cooking system arrived, I expected easy setup and for my Hestan Cue smart pan to be ready to use quickly out of the box and an experience like this.
Swoonworthy, right? After getting the smart pan and induction burner out of the box, my actual experience was a bit different. Watch my out-of-the-box experience!
I struggled with the Smart Module that fits into the handle of the pan. I still don’t know why it doesn’t fit correctly and why the top of the module isn’t flush with the handle. I had difficulty with the app playing the videos. The app played audio for two videos simultaneously but instead of playing a video, it was stuck on an image.
Then the app wouldn’t connect to the pan to control the cook time and temperature for my recipe which was the whole point of this review— to try cooking something using the smart pan on the induction burner as guided by the app.
What I didn’t know I needed to do when I unboxed the Hestan Cue smart cooking system was to check to make sure the firmware on both the pan and burner were up to date. For an app that guides you through set up, including how to use the little ruler as a screwdriver, this should be included in the instructions that walks you through getting started to avoid frustration that I experienced.
How to Update Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System’s Firmware
If you have trouble with your Hestan Cue smart cooking system out of the box, chances are you need to update the firmware. To update your Hestan Cue’s firmware, look for the settings widget in the upper left corner of the app.
Tap on it and you’ll see the burner and pan listed in the menu. If the firmware for your cookware needs to be updated, the app will let you know on this screen.
Once my Hestan Cue’s firmware was up to date, using the app was a completely different experience! Thank goodness!
Cooking with the Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
Once I figured out that the issue was with the smart pan and induction burner’s firmware and updated both, Hestan Cue worked just as I had hoped it would.
I was able to search the app for recipes for scallops and made deliciously browned, but not overcooked, scallops thanks to the guidance of Hestan Cue. Those who feel a bit intimidating by cooking will appreciate having step by step instructions, automatic temperature adjustment for perfectly cooked food, and a built-in timer. Individuals who want to up their cooking game will find the video tutorials useful to build their vocabulary and kitchen skills. Experienced chefs who know their way around the kitchen might also find these features useful but could find themselves tapping through the steps at a more rapid pace.
Hestan Cue Summary
While the Hestan Cue smart fry pan is a high quality pan in which you can cook delicious meals with guidance from the app, it is a pricey item that I probably couldn’t rely on it as my sole piece of cookware for family meals. The app’s helpful features like step-by-step recipes and video tutorials can help build confidence in the kitchen but it could also make someone over-reliant on Hestan Cue’s recipes rather than branching out and trying to new recipes without it.
Then there’s always the question about the technology and the Internet of Things. These days we love all things “smart” but what would happen if one day, the company disappeared and the app was no longer supported. I guess you’d still have an induction burner with a frying pan but your smart cooking system would no longer be smart without the companion app.
Hestan Cue is available through the company website where the set sells for $499.95 but right now it’s a better deal through Amazon where the price for both the smart induction burner and smart fry pan is $399.95.
For more information about Hestan Cue, visit their website.
Hestan Cue sent me their smart cooking system for review purposes. No compensation was received for this post or the accompanying videos. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience.