The Brava Oven Levels the Playing Field

Time-saving and sensible, this countertop oven eliminates the possibility of error

Cooking can be time consuming and exhausting—especially if whatever it is you’re preparing demands complete sensory attention. Some of the best chefs jokingly say you cook with your ears and nose, but there’s truth to the statement. As meats or vegetables sear, their tone changes. Sometimes recipes accommodate error; oftentimes they do not and every second counts. The Brava oven—which uses infrared and non-visible light to cook ingredients—employs formulaic processes to eliminate the possibility of error, and, as such, it finds a happy, well-cooked middle ground for all meals with impressive consistency.

Using six high-powered lamps (which can reach 500 degrees in under a second and concentrate their power on specific zones), the oven can sear, air fry, toast, bake and reheat—with customizable results, too. If you prefer your steak medium on the inside with a crisp, heavy sear on the outside, simply toggle through the options, answer the prompted questions (which require you to measure the meat with the included thermometer) and press the glowing button on the machine’s topside. You can then watch (and control) the Brava from its WiFi connected app—there, you can pause the cooking, order meal kits and even watch a live feed of inside the oven. The oven also auto-updates; on the latest, specific items from Trader Joe’s appeared on the recipe list.

Aside from its size—the machine is about 11 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 17 inches long, and it weighs just around 30 lbs—what’s most impressive is how much time it can save you. Though it’ll occupy a sizable portion on any counter, the Brava is capable of cooking up to three ingredients simultaneously and almost always in under 20 minutes total. Whether it be chicken breasts, asparagus and cherry tomatoes or steak, potatoes and broccoli, all will be done at the same time and done perfectly, respectively.

For families or the busy, barely-has-enough-time-to-eat person, the Brava is a no brainer—and its suite of accessories (two trays, an egg cooker and a thermometer) help, too—but for those who welcome cooking as a therapeutic escape or a creative outlet, they may feel stripped of something. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Brava takes almost all of the guesswork out of cooking. Sure, you’re left to toy with flavors and seasonings, but you’re basically watching as a machine prepares your meal—akin to how kids plopped blobs of gooey brownie batter into an Easy-Bake Oven and a perfectly shaped brownie would appear. That said, although you’re leaving the intricacies of the meal up to the Brava, you may find—as we did—that the time usually spent over a hot stove can be spent elsewhere, and the tedious work can be handed over to the oven for a change.

The Brava is available now, in two different packages (Starter Set and Chef’s Choice), for $995 and $1,295 respectively.

Images by Evan Malachosky