Meet your new kitchen nutritionist: the Orange Chef Co. Prep Pad! This revolutionary new kitchen scale connects wirelessly with your iPad to weigh and analyze your food, then displays the nutrition information so you can easily see and adjust what you’re eating — no measuring or counting required. The tool works with the Countertop iPad app (available through iTunes), which helps you set and reach your health goals.
Here’s how it works:
- Add ingredients to the scale. The Prep Pad can weigh and add multiple items together, pulling from a database of over 300,000 foods.
- Find your balance. Each meal has a balance “score,” based on the amount of carbs, protein and fat you’d like in your diet. Aim for 100 to enjoy an ideal meal.
- Make smart changes. See how your meal measures up to your health goals, then add or take away ingredients to adjust in real time.
To find out more about the story behind the Prep Pad and how we can use it at home, we talked to Santiago Merea, Head Chef at The Orange Chef Co., the company behind the product. Then, we asked our own Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen to come up with a few recipes that strike the perfect nutritional balance — Prep Pad-approved! Read on, and start cooking.
What’s the story behind the Orange Chef Co.? How did the company start?
It all started when my wife was baking some brownies and making notes on her iPad. She kept washing her hands and I asked her why.
She told me that she didn’t want to ruin the iPad, so I invented Chef Sleeve, a disposable “baggie” to protect the iPad in messy situations. Very soon after, Chef Sleeve was featured in the New York Times and Oprah Magazine. That’s when we realized that there is a need for a 21st century cooking brand and The Orange Chef Co. was born.
Tell us about your various products — what do they all have in common?
Chef Sleeve, our first product, is a disposable protective — and recyclable — sleeve for iPad and iPad mini. Chef Sleeve allows you to bring your iPad into the kitchen with no worries. After that, we thought that the iPad needed a place to be in the kitchen, so we came up with a dishwasher-safe stand for the iPad and a cutting board with an iPad stand.
Finally, after a lot of customer research, we are bringing the Prep Pad to market in exclusivity at Williams Sonoma. The Prep Pad is a smart food scale that connects with the iPad via bluetooth and shows a visual representation of your meal’s nutrition. Like all of our products, it is made in the USA with an emphasis on beautiful design and practicality.
How did you come up with the idea for the Prep Pad?
Our goal as a company is to make the kitchen a place of confidence and discovery, so when we started ideating a connected device to connect people with their food, we had an idea for a smart scale. That eventually became Prep Pad. We launched a project in Kickstarter and surpassed our goal in the second day of the campaign. After tons of customer research sessions, we are ready to bring the Prep Pad to the market.
Are there any notes or stories you can share from the making-of process?
Being a startup, we need to be scrappy. We want all of our resources to go to product. So when it came to shoot the video, we did it at our temporary office space and used our own employees as actors. However, we won our medal for ultimate scrappiness when we returned all of the props we bought from a popular mega store just one day before. We told them we were staging a house and things didn’t work out.
How has it evolved since you first started developing it?
The great thing about Prep Pad is that the software is constantly evolving and getting better. So when you buy Prep Pad you are also buying all of the updates and future features that we will continue developing over time.
How can technology change the way we cook and eat? What is its role, in your opinion?
Technology can empower people by using sensor technology, hardware and software to provide people with great data so they can make better decisions in life.
What is your goal with the Prep Pad, or how do you hope people use it at home?
I hope that people start connecting with their food more. I want you to start playing with your ingredients and understanding how they relate to each other. Eating smarter starts there.
How have you found it useful in your own life?
I use Prep Pad to prepare my smoothies in the morning. I place the Vitamix blender pitcher on the Prep Pad, select container, and then start putting fruits and veggies in until I hit the perfect balance. Then I remove it, blend it, and that’s it! Done and tracked. My day starts on a very positive (and balanced) note.
Any other tips for people using it?
Have fun with it. Explore. Click everywhere.
How do you see the future of technology in the home kitchen?
You’ll have to wait for our next product to get the full answer. I can tell you, though, that we want to introduce technology ONLY if it is useful and respects the craft of cooking.
2 cups drained canned chickpeas
3 Tbs. tahini
3 Tbs. lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Water as needed
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Process until smooth, adding water as needed to loosen the texture. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, cayenne and lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface and refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Apple, Peanut Butter & Raisin Sandwiches
1 Granny smith apple, cored and cut crosswise into 3/8-inch slices (6 wheels)
3 Tbs. peanut butter
1 ½ Tbs. raisins
Place 3 apple slices on a work surface. Spread 1 Tbs. peanut butter on top of each slice and divide and sprinkle raisins evenly atop each. Top with remaining slices of apple to create sandwiches. Serve immediately.
1 cup whole-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbs. whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup quartered strawberries
2 tsp. agave syrup
Place ½ cup yogurt in a bowl. Top with half the almonds and strawberries. Repeat process with remaining yogurt, almonds and strawberries. Drizzle with agave syrup.