When you’re short on time, it can be tempting to toss leftover takeout in the microwave or pop a frozen pizza in the toaster oven. But what if there was a way to create a gourmet meal in mere minutes? That’s the concept behind Brava.
Say hello to Brava.
Part oven and part personal chef, the Brava is a smart kitchen appliance that helps you cook quality meals without a lot of time or effort. You can sear a steak in under 10 minutes and roast a whole chicken in just over half an hour.
For the tech-savvy, the gadget connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and a smartphone app, allowing you to browse recipes, order ingredients and watch your meal as it cooks.
What can I cook in a Brava?
The oven comes pre-loaded with cook settings for a bunch of ingredients—like chicken breasts or raw green beans. To cook, you simply select the ingredient (or a combination of ingredients) on the Brava’s built-in touchscreen, then push the start button.
For an easier (and more gourmet!) experience, you can also order meal kits. All of the ingredients for a restaurant-quality dish ship straight to your door. Then, you simply select the designated meal and let the oven take care of the rest.
In addition to these pre-programmed settings, you can also use your Brava to bake, sear, reheat and toast. The gadget claims that it’s able to replace your toaster/conventional oven, countertop pizza oven, microwave, air fryer and dehydrator. Hello, more counter space!
How does it work?
Brava relies on Pure Light Cooking™ Technology to perfectly prepare your food. According to the brand’s website, this method relies “on a mix of visible and non-visible light, or infrared energy, to cook food quickly.” In other words, the gadget heats your food directly—instead of just the air or tray inside the oven. It functions like a sophisticated version of an Easy Bake Oven—AKA one of the toys that sparked our love for cooking!
Plus, thermometer detection points help the Brava know exactly when your meal is done cooking—eliminating any guesswork or the need for a meat thermometer. (But don’t toss yours just yet. You’ll still need it for grilling, pan-frying and more. Here’s why.)
And—if you’re still not convinced—the Brava promises to “cook a complete meal with even less energy than it takes your oven to just preheat.” The appliance’s infrared technology is much more efficient than the heating systems found in traditional ovens.
We got to try the Brava. Here’s what we thought.
Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, James Schend, had a chance to try the Brava in his home. Here’s what he thought:
“It was fun to play with, and it’s pretty foolproof,” James said. “You do have to follow the instructions pretty closely—it’s very specific on where you have to place the food on the tray.”
James made one of the meal kit recipes: Prosciutto-wrapped chicken. The process produced a really juicy chicken breast, and it almost tasted gourmet—without a lot of work.
However, the Brava requires some serious power. “The only legitimate downside is that it blew my circuit breaker,” James said, “and I’ve never had that circuit blown before.” The Brava’s website explains that the appliance requires a dedicated electrical circuit, wiring consistent with National Electrical Code and a 15-20 AMP circuit breaker—so make sure your kitchen can meet those requirements before bringing a Brava home.
James also noted that the Brava may not be suitable for large families or—in his case—a home with a hungry teenage boy. The Brava isn’t that much bigger than a large toaster oven, so keep that in mind if you have many mouths to feed or love having leftovers. “It would be great in a cooking-for-two situation,” James said.
If you’re cooking for a crowd, try these quick-prep meals for big families.
So, what’s the catch?
Brava isn’t too good to be true—but it is going to cost you. A starter set—which includes the Brava oven, accessories and a meal kit for two—costs $995. Ouch. Upgrade to the Chef’s Choice—which includes the oven, bonus accessories, a meal kit, $100 Brava Marketplace credit and a 3-month membership to Brava Plus—and you’ll be out $1,295.
Brava is available at brava.com and at a flagship showroom in the San Francisco Bay Area.