SmartSlab Table Can Heat, Chill And Even Cook Food

This smart table brings cooking right to the table. Literally.

Every so often a new kitchen appliance comes along that really catches our eye and feels like it portends the way we all might be cooking in the future. We're thinking of gadgets like the Cinder grill, the sous-vide version of a George Foreman, or the coffeemaker that lets you brew a fresh cup on the go. This most recent find isn't so much of an appliance as a piece of culinary furniture.

We're talking about a super-sleek, temperature-controlled kitchen table called the SmartSlab, which can heat up, cool down and even cook food all on its own.

Swedish German design firm Kram/Weisshaar created the table for the Iris Ceramica Group. Each place setting comes with an individual heating element that can keep your plate warm and a separate one that can keep the bubbly cold.

The temperature parameters—about 23 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit—were designated by none other than Massimo Bottura, chef of this year's best restaurant in the world. And they're locked in place, so people don't accidentally raise the temperatures.

The table also contains two separate areas reserved specifically for cooking. (And just like that, "farm-to-table" becomes even more literal.)

On the cooking spots, "there is no risk of burning," designer Clemens Weisshaar says, because "the cooking fields heat the bottom of the cooking pot or pan rather than the ceramic SapienStone SmartSlab tabletop itself."

For now, the limited-edition tables have all sold out: "Mostly snapped up by museums and some collectors," Weisshaar says.

But Weisshaar intends to bring the technology to consumer kitchens, and the firm is working on creating a product that allows customers to create their own kitchen countertops. As for the SmartSlab, just picture your favorite chef literally sitting down and cooking right in front of you. Now that's what we call a chef's table.