This week, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Williams-Sonoma Smart Thermometer, a tool that takes all the guesswork out of perfectly cooked meals. Our product development team worked for more than two years to create the first Wi-Fi-enabled kitchen thermometer in the world — just in time for Thanksgiving!
The Smart Thermometer connects to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using our app and tracks the temperature of your food as it cooks for the best results time after time. Just place the probe in your meat (the app will show you where) and the Smart Thermometer will anticipate the cooking time that remains, sending updates to your phone so you’re not tied to the kitchen. You can even schedule start times for side dishes using custom alerts so your whole meal is done at the same time, and use timers to track tasks like basting the turkey and chilling the wine. Finally, you can post pictures on Facebook and Twitter to share your successes and save your notes to recreate great meals.
“We wanted to create the world’s first Wi-Fi leave-in kitchen thermometer,” said Project Manager Christina Teng. “The current options for thermometers require opening and closing the oven, losing residual heat and tying you to the kitchen. This project aimed to provide customers with a way to leverage their existing devices and track cooking temperatures — after all, we carry our iPhones and iPads around all the time.”
“The initial thought was simple – what if we could not only ensure a perfectly cooked meal, but also allow you to step away from the kitchen?” added Ian Allan, Director of Global Products. “You could mingle with your guests, enjoy an aperitif, and not miss a minute of the big game. Then we started to build on this vision… What if you could also time all the other components of the meal so that everything was ready at the right moment? What if you could add notes to exactly remember what you did last time? What if you could share this with your guests who ask for the recipe at the end of the successful meal? What if we could show you exactly where to place the probe, or that your meal should rest? We’re so proud to say that we managed to incorporate all of these ‘what if’s’ and deliver a truly amazing product.”
This launch is the culmination of almost three years of work by our product development team, who’ve seen 15 different evolutions of it. They worked with technology engineers for the Wi-Fi piece, thermometer manufacturers to build a durable casing, and a design firm to create a user-friendly app that goes beyond tracking oven temperatures and really revolutionizes meal planning.
“We wanted to help customers coordinate their meals a little better,” Christina said. “When I cook, I use the oven timer, microwave timer, and peripheral timers, but now they’re all in one place. Also, the alerts help customers predict when their food will be finished. If the turkey is an hour and a half out, you can set an alert to start sauteing your green beans at 30 minutes. We’re trying not to tether customers to their kitchens and giving them confidence that they’re doing things in a timely manner.”
During development, the team realized that many people don’t understand where to place a thermometer’s probe in different cuts of meat, so they added an education feature to show exactly where it belongs.
“When I used that feature, I realized I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time!” said Amanda Haas, our Test Kitchen Manager. “Ever since I’ve used the Smart Thermometer method, I’ve had perfectly cooked meat every time. I love that I can also add notes as I cook, so I can remember when I basted meat, if I brined it, and so on.”
In the testing phase, our product development team cooked 50 chickens, 20 turkeys and countless other proteins, like meatloaf, rib roasts and lamb.
“I will not be making a turkey this Thanksgiving — I’ve had enough!” Christina told us, laughing. “But whatever I do cook, I’ll definitely use the timers and alerts on the Smart Thermometer. I know I can go and do other things and not be restricted to the kitchen.”
Watch Amanda demonstrate how to use our Smart Thermometer in the video below: