BERLIN Germans go mad for kitchen gear. So it's little surprise that Philips chose to debut here its robotic chef, the Jamie Oliver HomeCooker. (It will come later to its namesake's native England and to the US.)
The HomeCooker isn't quite Rosie the Robot, but it does handle a fair amount of kitchen work nearly automatically. The heart of it is a pot situated over a heating element that can keep the temperature anywhere between about 100 and 480 degrees Fahrenheit — enough to do anything from cooking vegetables to frying meat. Inside the pot is an arm that slowly rotates at what Philips says is the perfect speed for stirring any type of food to keep it from burning. Yes, the pot sirs itself.
And that's the heart of it: The automatic heat control and stirring lets you set a timer and step away from things like stews, fried potatoes, sauces — anything that spends a long time in a pot or pan. You're still the cook, but you spend less time cooking.
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An included food processor snuggles up against the bowl and dumps chopped vegies right into it. Baskets for steaming fish and vegetables and cooking pasta are also included. Oliver provides a recipe book with a few dishes ranging from a breakfast fry-up to soups, paella and even cake.
Basically, you dump the food into the pot, set the program for what you want to cook, and come back when the alarm rings. Like a microwave, but for (essentially) homemade food.