Even if you don’t know Tasty, BuzzFeed’s food vertical, you’ve seen its work. Specifically those overhead-shot, quick-cutting videos showing you how to make tropical shrimp and pineapple grilled skewers, or churro ice cream bowls, or slow cooker honey garlic chicken. Tasty became a dynasty by mixing recipes, food porn, and the kind of no-sound-required videos that work so well on social media. It makes cooking look so easy, and makes the end result look so delicious. Now everyone on the internet copies Tasty’s style, but nobody does it as well.
Many of Tasty’s videos share one thing in common: Food is boiled, seared, and sous vided atop an induction cooktop, a simple mini-stove that’s good for everything from keeping food warm to augmenting the teensy burners in your teensy apartment kitchen. Now, BuzzFeed’s making its own: the Tasty One Top, a $149 “precision smart cooktop” that connects to a new Tasty app, helps you prepare Tasty recipes, and ensures maximum Tasty tastiness for all your cooking needs.
BuzzFeed’s made merch for a while now, but its offerings skew more poop-emoji pool floats than high-end appliances. But for Ben Kaufman, the head of BuzzFeed’s Product Lab, the One Top fits Tasty’s vibe perfectly. Millions of people are already used to seeing it on-screen in Tasty videos, and the gadget is useful for all sorts of cooking. Want to try 16 One-Pot Dinners That Are Actually Healthy? How about 17 Egg-Cooking Hacks That Are Borderline Genius, or 28 Mediterranean Recipes You Should Make ASAP? The One Top can handle them all.
It also makes Tasty’s recipes even easier to replicate. Even with easy-to-follow instructions, cooking along with the videos can be a challenge, since everything from your elevation to your particular stove can change the results. “What we were really struggling with or thinking about is, how can we make cooking more reliable, take the guesswork out?” Kaufman says. “How can we make it more comfortable…for people to express themselves and be them?” Now that the Tasty app can control both timing and temperature, it can ensure the right result even if your setup differs from the one in the BuzzFeed studio. Which, inevitably, it does.
Over the last year, as it developed the One Top, a team within BuzzFeed filed 1,700 Tasty recipes into a sortable database, so when you open the app you can sort by “BBQ” or “Under 30 Minutes” and quickly find a bunch of suitable ideas. Pick one and the One Top helps you cook it. The gadget syncs with the app’s step-by-step instructions, using its built-in sensors to let you know when the time is right to flip your steak or drop in the veggies. “You basically set medium rare, or medium, and then it’ll tell you exactly when to flip it over and when to take it off,” Kaufman says. You can also cook in manual mode, but, you know, boring.
In its actual functionality, the One Top doesn’t sound much different than your average induction cooktop. Thanks to the cool blue color and pentagonal shape, it’s certainly better-looking than most, which Kaufman loves—leave it to BuzzFeed to make the most Instagrammable thing on your counter. Mercifully there’s no Tasty logo on the One Top, but Kaufman says the shape alone makes it iconic. “We make top-down videos,” he says. “It was all about that silhouette.” He’s excited to make One Top-specific videos going forward, offering people more complicated recipes that the app can help manage. And pretty soon, you’ll start to see the One Top in plenty of Tasty videos, a cook’s-eye-view of that blue pentagon preparing Easy Three-Ingredient Vegetable Side Dishes or Healthy Chicken Parmesan Dinner for Two, or whatever else comes through your Facebook feed that you can’t help but salivate over. Thanks to that bit of extra help, it might even taste as good as it looks.