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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mellow exactly?

Mellow is a sous vide machine designed to be as user-friendly as your average slow cooker.

Sous vide? What’s that ?

Sous vide is a cooking method that is big in high-end kitchens. You place your ingredients in food-safe bags, vacuum seal them, then immerse them in a water bath heated to an exact temperature, usually below 195ºF. This gentle cooking results in amazing tastes and textures. After your food is cooked, fish it out and sear it to your liking.

Is sous vide safe?

Reducing the risk of foodborne illness by cooking food depends not just on temperature, but also on time. The lower the temperature, the longer the time. For instance, Salmonella, a common type of food-borne bacteria, will be killed in 30 seconds at 150F/65.5C but it will take 15 minutes to do so at 130F/54.5C.

Almost all potentially harmful organisms will be killed at 130F/54.5C given sufficient time to heat the food completely to that temperature. Since most sous vide cooking is done between 130F/54.5C and 195F/95C, the food will be safe. The most common exception is fish, which some people prefer to eat rare or medium rare (116F/46.5C to 126F/52C). In this case, it is important to only buy fish you would be willing to eat raw—in other words, sushi grade ocean fish.

What kind of bags?

We manufacture our bags from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a food-safe plastic that is both BPA and phthalate free. Not only does it have the perfect qualities for sous vide, it’s always in high demand in the recycling industry, being one of the main components in 3D printer filament.

Is it safe to cook in plastic bags?

Cooking in purpose made sous vide bags is perfectly safe if you do it correctly. Although some lower quality plastics (for ex: polyvinyl chloride) do raise legitimate safety concerns, according to the latest research, plastics like high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, and polypropylene are considered completely safe, hence our choice.

Are these bags reusable?

No. Don’t get us wrong, you can wash them and use them a few times, but the time, energy and water that will be used in the process is less efficient than using a fresh one.

Do I need to use Mellow-brand cooking bags?

Nope. If you want to use any other bags, you’re free to do so. Just make sure that they’re made specifically for sous vide. Not all bags are made of the same materials, and if you use bags made of Polyvinyl chloride, your body won’t thank you.

Well, are the bags expensive?

Your Mellow comes with 50 bags to get you started. When you run out, you can purchase packs of 25 bags straight from our app. They’ll cost about $12.

Do I need a vacuum sealer?

No. Our self-sealing bags are custom made for our tank’s shape, so they’re a perfect fit. The water pressure on the side of the bag makes for a great seal. You can even order them straight from our app.

Wait, what app?

Mellow is controlled with an app on your smartphone. You can use it to tell what you’re cooking, when you want it ready and to check on the progress of your cooking during the day, if you like.

The app connects to the internet, which in turn is connected to your Mellow, via the on-board Wi-Fi. This means that your Mellow needs to be in a spot in your home with a Wi-Fi signal. It doesn’t have to have the best reception, and you won’t have to configure anything in your router/modem. As long as it has a bit of signal, Mellow will make it work.

What smartphones can I use with Mellow?

If you have a modern Android phone (4.4 or later) or iPhone (iOS8 or later), you’re good to go.

OK, so what can I cook with Mellow?

Pretty much everything!

-Meats of all kinds - pork, beef, poultry, game, lamb or whatever else you like - are excellent when cooked sous vide, bringing a depth of flavor that is pretty much unmatched and giving you full control over doneness.

The delicate textures of fish and seafood benefit immensely from the gentler temperatures that sous vide uses and have all their taste preserved. It also tackles vegetables like a champ, being capable of either cooking them al dente or as tender as you like. You can even use it to make sauces, soups, custards and ice cream base. And eggs, of course! Delicious, poached-in-their-shell eggs, with a yolk of a gel like consistency and whites slightly runny.

We’ve used our prototypes to speed up dough leavening by setting it super low for about an hour. Basically, if you need perfect temperature control, Mellow is the best way to do it!

Does the app include recipes for all those things?

Mellow’s app includes presets for the most common foods (steak, pork shoulder, salmon, tofu, carrots, etc, etc). Most of these will include different doneness settings, like rare, medium, well done and so on for your meat. As you use your Mellow more and more, it will start to learn how you like your food.

As for actual recipes, that is something that won’t be on the app on shipping date, but will arrive as a free app update soon after.

So, I can only cook the presets?

No, not at all! Mellow also has a manual mode, where you can define your own cooking and cooling profiles. This means that those of you that are more proficient with sous vide and know the exact temperatures and cooking times of their favorite food can make it straight away with no hand holding.

I’m sorry, did you say “Cooling”?

Absolutely! Mellow is the first sous vide machine to incorporate cooling technology. This lets you drop your food inside, have Mellow keep it cool throughout the day, and have it ready just as you walk through the door. It’s all done automatically too!

Just tell Mellow what you’re cooking and when you want your food ready and it’ll work out the details. And if you’re going to be late, just use our app to tell Mellow of your change of plans and it will settle into a holding pattern once it’s done cooking.

It’s important to note that Mellow only does cooling before cooking, not the other way around.

Sounds power intensive. How much power draw?

We built Mellow to be power efficient, so we made it compact and double walled.

It has an 800 watt heating element, so it heats up fast. This uses a bit of energy getting to the target temperature, but once it gets there, it uses about 30 watts to keep the water hot. For comparison’s sake, that’s about the same as a couple of LED light bulbs.

The cooling system has about 200 watt of power, so it can keep your food at refrigerator temperatures.

So how big is this wonder machine of yours?

Mellow is H16” x W6” x D12”. That’s about the same footprint of a 4 slot toaster, but about twice as tall. We designed it to be large enough to fit meals for 6, but compact enough that it can be on top of your counter at all times.

Where can I get one?

We’re currently taking pre-orders for Mellow, to be delivered in early 2017. We intended to deliver in 2016, but manufacturing issues pushed back our date longer than expected.

Can it be used anywhere?

Anywhere in the United States where you have a Wi-Fi Network and a power socket.

US only? Why?

It’s mostly to do with certifications. We’ve built Mellow from the ground up to conform to US standards of manufacture. Since standards aren’t the same everywhere, we would have to re-engineer many of Mellow’s components to suit other countries’ specific standards.

We can’t do that right now, but we plan on doing an international version of Mellow in the future.

What is your policy on refunds?

You can cancel your preorder at any time before we ship, and we’ll issue a full refund. After we ship, if you find that Mellow’s not right for you within the first 30 days, e-mail us, send it back and we’ll issue a full refund.