Multo Intelligent Cooking System by CookingPal Review: Poor Recipes, Bad Design

Measure for Measure

The Multo comes with its own custom tablet, which you use to select recipes and control the machine. The Multo base has an on/off switch on the back and a glorified start/stop button on the front, and that’s it. I like the way using the tablet keeps you from using an app on your phone, where you might get distracted by messages and notifications, but it drives me crazy when you can’t control a kitchen appliance by pressing buttons on the appliance itself. It also felt unsafe to be able to control a machine with whirling blades by using use a tablet from across the room while my back was turned.

Testing started by opening the salmon burger recipe on the tablet. I immediately appreciated how scalable the recipes are and the spaciousness of the roomy blender jar.

I assembled the ingredients and touched the Start Cooking button on the tablet, trying not to notice that the peeling and cutting of the mango and pineapple and fine dicing of that habanero took more than the seven minutes it optimistically predicts. But right there in step three is that barehanded habanero photo, and that’s where things started unraveling. If the CookingPal staff is worldly enough to come up with a recipe for a fruit-and-habanero salsa for a fish burger, how did no one flag the necessity of wearing gloves when handling a screaming-hot pepper?

I put the ingredients in the blender jar, then went to the tablet and hit Start. Behind me, and across the kitchen, the Multo sprang to life, reducing big chunks of fruit and pepper into salsa in five seconds. I put the sauce in a bowl and put jalapeño and green onion in the blender jar. I noted the “10 sprigs of coriander” in the ingredient list were called “10 pieces of cilantro” here in the step-by-step recipe. While it’s all the same plant, in the United States, coriander usually refers to the dried seeds while the fresh leaves and stems are more commonly known as cilantro. However, calling one thing by two different names in the same recipe is confusing and bad form.

I might have gotten a bit more up in arms about that if this wasn’t the point where I also discovered that you can start the machine without locking the lid fully into place. In short, there’s a kill switch that the back of the lid locks into, but there isn’t one on the front. This means you can more or less close the lid without securely latching it, then start the blades a-spinning. Curious, I unplugged the machine and was easily able to reach my man-hand in there and grab the blade. I realize that kitchens are full of knives and blenders with lids you can open and close willy nilly, but those aren’t remote controlled. This felt a little dangerous.

Step six instructs the home cook to “cut about 1/3 of the salmon into chunks,” making no mention what to do with the skin and bones that often come attached to a filet or how big a chunk might be. It was the style of recipe-writing half-assery that reminded me a bit of the SideChef app. It felt almost as if one of the conditions for funding the Multo was that one of the VC dudes who was also a Bobby Flay fanboy got to write the recipes himself.

Anyway, the salmon chunks get whirled into a paste along with breadcrumbs, cumin that the graphic shows as seeds but appears ground in the photo, and oregano that may be fresh or dried, who can say? There’s a photo of what looks like ground black pepper going in there, but it’s not in the ingredient list.

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